Hanceville mayor speaks out about marijuana arrests

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HANCEVILLE – At the Hanceville City Council meeting Thursday evening, after Police Chief Bob Long reported on recent drug arrests in the area, Mayor Kenneth Nail took a moment to respond to several people who had used social media comment threads attached to local news outlets’ stories of the recent marijuana-related arrest of Hanceville resident Gerald Lott (see www.cullmantribune.com/articles/2018/09/21/hanceville-police-seize-cash-weapons-27-pounds-marijuana) to argue for the legalization of the drug and to berate the City and its police department for pursuing marijuana dealers in the face of so many other dangerous drugs.

Comments on The Tribune story included:

  • “They don't have anything better to spend tax dollars on?  Go get some real criminals.”
  • “Weed? This is a joke. How about get the meth off the streets!!!”
  • “Gerald lott is an outstanding person this is absolutely ridiculous!!! Hanceville police department is a joke and is only trying to look big and bad bunch of Barney fiffes!”
  • “I have lost even more respect for law enforcement. They need to go after people that rob places, murder people, molest kids, etc.”
  • “Down with the Hanceville Police Department.”

Nail’s response was blunt and to the point: As long as marijuana is illegal, the police department will arrest people caught with it and will pursue dealers.

Chief Long reported to the council about the three-month investigation that led to the recent arrest, then stated, “I’m not sure if you guys are really aware of it or if you remember, but over the last two years, HPD’s been responsible for seizing approximately 200 pounds of marijuana, three pounds of meth, a couple of pounds of cocaine, and nearly $175,000 in U.S. currency, four or five vehicles, and possibly maybe we can file on one particular house.

“So you’ve got a small department, but you’ve got a good department.  And it started with patrol making routine traffic stops. It worked its way up through the drug chain, and we’ve hit some pretty good drug dealers over the last couple years.”

Responding to the comments on the arrest story, Nail added, “Look, I’ll be the first to say I’d a lot rather get meth or heroin, or whatever.  But (in) Alabama, it’s illegal to have marijuana, and I do believe it’s a gateway drug. And this police department is going to continue to seize marijuana, heroin, whatever is an illegal substance.  Now, if the voters in this state vote to legalize marijuana, then it’ll be a whole different issue.”

After commenting further on the effects of drug houses on residential neighborhoods, Nail concluded, “I just want to say, as long as we’re here and this police department’s here, we’re going to continue to do the best job we can.  And yes, I’d rather get heroin. Yes, I’d rather get the meth. But if the marijuana comes, we’re not going to look the other way. If you don’t like that, I’d just suggest that you move to Denver, Colorado maybe.”

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