I don't understand the law that penalizes suspected drug dealers for selling narcotics within a 1,000 feet of a school? What if, say, a charter or private school moved into an area after the suspect had already moved there? Is the law still valid in this case?
— Ken H., Medford
According to Medford police Chief Tim George, when you sign your lease or begin paying a mortgage does not matter if you are using your residence as an illegal drug warehouse.
"It doesn't matter if you've lived in a place for 30 years before a school moves within a 1,000 feet of you," George said. "If you are selling drugs near a school, it carries an enhanced penalty."
The 1,000 feet from a school enhancement varies, but usually carries extra jail or prison time and a steeper fine.
This issue came to light recently when local law enforcement staged a series of raids on four medical marijuana dispensaries. Some people associated with the dispensaries noted that these medical marijuana centers were in place before the schools in question were established.
As George said, however, this matters not in the eyes of the law.
In fact, the law applies beyond drug sales out of homes, George said.
"If you are caught selling dope out of your car and it's within 1,000 feet of a school, the enhancement applies," George said. "It's the same thing if you are selling them on foot."
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