Methamphetamine tends to grab headlines in Benton County, but during the first month and a half of 2005, marijuana possession smoked the other drug-related offenses tallied in Bentonville and Rogers.
Together, the two cities reported a total of 35 cases of misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Rogers and Bentonville each reported one case of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver, while Bentonville also reported one case of felony marijuana possession.
Only four incidents regarding possession of meth with the intent to deliver were reported in Bentonville, and Rogers reported none. "Marijuana has been, and will continue to be, a very popular drug for every age group," Cpl. Kelley Cradduck of the Rogers Police Department said Wednesday. "Marijuana, in many respects, is a first love for many of these dopers. I still believe that the way some groups portray it, (marijuana) is still not viewed as it should be — as a dangerous drug."
Bentonville police chief James Allen, who presented to the City Council on Tuesday a list of 10 drug-related offenses, along with the number of incidents in those categories handled by his department between Jan. 1 and Feb. 17, said marijuana’s dominance over meth doesn’t mean marijuana is more of a problem. "They run in cycles," Allen said. "If you bust a guy with marijuana, he turns on another who rolls on someone else. If you work one, it’s like a domino effect."
Cradduck agreed with Allen’s assessment. "I think meth is more prevalent than those numbers are telling, but it is harder to catch," Cradduck said.
And trying to catch meth users and pushers is much more of a daunting task, Allen said. "Although the numbers are smaller, we spend more time with the meth than the marijuana," Allen said. "With meth, you have labs and things you have to work. It takes it to a whole other level."