Montel STAND UP!

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Montel Williams’ ticket wasn’t warranted

Prime example of wanna-be-vigilante-cops with nothing better to do…… -UA

Drug paraphernalia citation dropped, and rightfully so

jsonline.com  JIM STINGL

Even in the fog of the drug war, we sometimes eventually get it right.

A citation slapped on former talk show host Montel Williams for possessing drug paraphernalia was dismissed Tuesday.

The main reason: The pipe taken from him at Mitchell International Airport in January tested negative for marijuana.

Yes, sometimes a pipe is just a pipe.

Williams admits he smokes marijuana every day, but not for laughs. He has multiple sclerosis, and he legally obtains pot for medicinal use. The drug eases his chronic pain.

None of that dissuaded Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputies from ticketing Williams after a pipe was discovered in his bag at a security checkpoint. Williams, who was carrying no illegal drugs, was detained for an hour and forced to post bond in the amount of $484.

It says right on the ticket that the field test of residue in the bowl was negative, but the citation was issued anyway. Doesn’t make sense, I know.

Williams hired Brookfield lawyer Julius Kim and said he wanted to fight the charge all the way. A jury trial was scheduled for May.

Williams, who lives in New York, was not present in court Tuesday when Circuit Judge Jeffrey Wagner dismissed the case at the request of the district attorney’s office. The hearing took less than a minute.

In a phone conversation later Tuesday, Williams said he was thankful to have the ticket behind him, and he hopes this is a teachable moment. He’ll get his bond money returned, though not the confiscated pipe.

“This isn’t about somebody trying to do something illicit. I’m really just trying to take my medication,” he said. “Hopefully this issue and this incident will spark some conversations that will help more rational minds find a way to solve the problem and take the patients off the battlefield.”

He said he had forgotten that the pipe had been in his bag for a few weeks. Now when he travels he double-checks to make sure he doesn’t get busted again this way. He apologized for inconveniencing the airport security agents, deputies and court system here, but he has to do what’s best for his health.

“I’m just looking to see if I can have a quality of life that other people have,” he said.

Williams visits Wisconsin regularly to participate in experimental treatment being developed at the University of Wisconsin medical school in Madison. That’s where he was coming from when he was ticketed at Milwaukee’s airport as he headed home.

The prosecutor would have to prove that the primary purpose of this particular pipe was for smoking marijuana. Pipes like this are sold – with a wink – for tobacco consumption. The negative result for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, was not going to make this easy. Kim made this point to Kent Lovern, chief deputy district attorney, when they met recently to discuss the case.

“We concluded that this case was not provable,” Lovern said.

Williams’ MS did not figure in the decision, Lovern said. Wisconsin has not joined other states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use.

Maybe we’ll get that right someday, too.

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