A reader flagged a bulleted item in the Morrison County Record's coverage of the local city council, Little Falls starts 2015 with new Council members, police and firemen, included in the article under other business:
•Approved the payment of regular hourly wages for Detective Chuck Strack during his attendance at an upcoming Colorado conference on for opponents of marijuana legalization.
Our email correspondent added:
It surprised me that the City was paying for this, and kind of taking a position on the issue, based on the seminar description: "for opponents of marijuana legalization". Things that make you go "hmmm".
It certainly hearkens back to concerns raised during last year's legislative session that law enforcement personnel and their spokespeople were dictating policy and law about medical cannabis to the legislature, rather than enforcing the law.
A quick google of "Chuck Strack" revealed that he is on the board of the Minnesota State Association of Narcotics Investigators, an organization that opposed the initial, less restrictive medical cannabis bills in the Minnesota House and Senate. Moreover, in a March 2014 article, Strack announces run for Morrison County Sheriff, the detective spoke of his opposition to legalizing cannabis for any purpose.
Given this background, our reader's question was good one. However, a brief investigation uncovered that the reporting in the Record was a bit misleading. The only conference that we could find happening in the Rocky Mountain High State in the near future is the Marijuana Impact on Public Health and Safety in Colorado Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police event that's taking place in Denver on January 14-15.
It's not gathering of and for "opponents" of legal marijuana.
While the sold-out conference is sponsored by a law enforcement association, the agenda reveals a broad spectrum of speakers and concerns, mostly related to how the state rolled out new laws and regulation, such a dealing with "Driving Stoned," "Data Collection and Economic Impact" and the "Industry Perspective."
Not exactly a coven of prohibitionists.
A call to Little Falls Chief of Police Greg Schirmers confirmed our hunch that this conference was the event that the city detective was heading toward.
It may well be that Strack continues to hold his opinions about cannabis, but the conference isn't one for "opponents" of legalizing marijuana. Indeed, the Denver Post reports in Colorado pot symposium draws Alaska officials:
A Colorado symposium on how the state has dealt with legalized marijuana will draw Alaska law enforcement officers and public officials preparing for pot sales.
At least a dozen Alaska officials will attend the three-day conference, "Marijuana Impact on Public Health and Safety in Colorado," that starts Jan. 14 in Lone Tree, a suburb of Denver, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1EVKADZ ) reported.
"We are just trying to learn as much as we can from what Colorado has already experienced," said Brad Johnson, Fairbanks Police Department deputy chief.
Alaska voters in November approved a ballot measure that will make it legal to grow, possess and sell marijuana in Alaska.
There's much to be learned in Colorado, and Bluestem hopes that state and local officials from Minnesota who work in areas in addition to law enforcement will attend the gathering.
Photo: Little Falls detective Chuck Strack, via the Morrison County Record.
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