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Top law enforcement officers oppose marijuana initiatives during Billings rally

Posted at 11:12 AM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 13:12:39-04

Two of the top law enforcement officers in Billings say drugs are the main driver of property and violent crime and they're against the ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana.

Billings Police Chief Rich St. John and Sheriff Mike Linder, a Republican, talked about their concerns at Pioneer Park on Thursday.

Representatives from the Montana Contractors Association, the Montana Chamber of Commerce and Billings Clinic also spoke near the playground.

The group "Wrong For Montana" is against I-190 that would make marijuana legal and against CI -118 that could set the legal age to consume marijuana at 21.

The chief and the sheriff mentioned more than a dozen concerns with legalizing marijuana.

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Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder

"Marijuana can in fact be and probably is a gateway drug to bigger and worse things," Linder said. "That's my concern. I realize there's the opportunity to get some revenue and some tax revenue and stuff like that. But to me, it's all about the quality of life and lives in general."

Chief Rich St John.jpg
Billings Police Chief Rich St. John

"Recreational marijuana is certainly counter-intuitive to helping us deal with our addiction problem, with our homelessness issue, with some of the societal things, not to mention some of the very, very catastrophic things that we see on the criminal side," St. John said.

In the Secretary of State's voter pamphlet, supporters of I-190 state it creates a safe, legal and comprehensive system for adult use of marijuana in Montana.