Vergennes Police Log: Pot in pocket leads to open-container charges

VERGENNES — Vergennes police on April 11 cited a motorist on Route 7 in Ferrisburgh for having an open container for drugs because the driver of the vehicle had four rolled marijuana cigarettes in a pocket and not in a sealed container.
Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel said the vehicle was stopped for weaving over the highway’s centerline and the driver was checked for driving under the influence of drugs after police smelled the odor of marijuana. Police determined she was not impaired, but found the marijuana on the driver’s person.
Merkel said the law is clear that although it is legal to possess a small amount of marijuana, a driver must carry it in a sealed container while operating a motor vehicle.
Between April 8 and 14 Vergennes police also operated seven special traffic-enforcement patrols within city limits and issued seven tickets and several warnings for various offenses, including cellphone use while driving and failing to honor stop signs as well as speeding.
In those seven days, city police also:
On April 8:
•Began investigating the theft of tools from a home on Commodore Drive; police said a door was kicked in.
•Investigated an assault complaint at Northlands Job Corps in which one student was allegedly hit in the ribs, had his head banged against a wall and was kicked in the knee, all in his dorm room. Police said they could not file charges because the victim refused to cooperate.
•Responded to Valley Vista at Alden Place to a report of a possibly suicidal female; the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad took her to Porter Hospital.
•Went to Creekview Apartments to check out a report of a drug odor and found nothing; police went back on April 12 after a report from the same complainant and again found no problem.
•Went to Main Street to help Addison County Superior Court expunge court records.
On April 9:
•Locked the door of a Main Street business found open after hours.
•Helped Vermont State Police evaluate a driver for DUI-drugs on West Main Street and determined the motorist was not impaired.
•Began investigating phone threats made to a female Northlands employee.
On April 11:
•Went to Addison on behalf of state police to check possible unlawful entry into a home, but found no one.
•Checked the welfare of a John Graham Shelter resident, who was determined to be OK.
On April 12 issued court diversion paperwork to a Northlands student for an alcohol offense.
On April 13:
•Heard a complaint at the station from a Northlands student that employees did not wake him up in time to catch a ride home.
•Received a complaint from a John Graham Shelter resident that his bicycle had been vandalized.
•Cited John A. Cunningham, 45, of Bristol for DUI-drugs after stopping his vehicle on Route 7 following a state police alert of a vehicle weaving on the highway.
•Warned a motorcycle owner not to speed on South Maple Street.
•Ticketed a dog owner for letting the animal run loose in the Green Street area; police said the owner is a repeat offender.
On April 14:
•Helped motorists get into locked vehicles on Green Street and Crescent Drive.
•Warned a dog owner about letting the animal run loose in the New Haven Road area.
•Dealt with a Creekview Apartments noise complaint.

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