Drug Cops and Bad Excuses: Could Weed Be Winning the War On Drugs?

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Following U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement on Thursday, August 29th, 2013 that the Department of Justice will no longer seek federal prosecution of marijuana dispensaries operating in states where cannabis has been legalized as a medicinal and recreational substance, jackbooted high-ranking members of law enforcement have put their heads together and assembled a backlash statement regarding the decision.

Not even a full day after the Department’s announcement had been made, a letter of dissent concerning the decision was issued to the Department of Justice, signed by the presidents of law enforcement groups including the National Sheriffs’ Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, the National Narcotics Officers Associations’ Coalition, as well as by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey (also the president of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association), among several other important figures.  Complaining in rather blatant terms about the Department’s announcement that it will not seek federal prosecution of state-sanctioned dispensaries without prior suspicion of illegal marijuana trafficking, the parties involved in composing the angry statement argued that their motivation for doing so stems predominantly from the way that the recent decision will make enforcing laws and keeping communities safe, “infinitely harder for [our] front-line men and women.”

Going on further in an attempt to defend their stances on the matter, the report’s authors cite the alleged correlations between neighborhood marijuana use and, “community devastation,” “violent crime,” “drugged driving deaths,” “hospital admissions,” “depression,” and “stifled economic productivity,” as additional factors fueling the fires of their lust for the continuation of federally-enforced marijuana prohibition policies.  One such claim made within the text of the letter reads as follows:

“Marijuana use has had devastating effects in our communities, with over 8,000 drugged driving deaths a year, many of which involved marijuana use.  Data from Colorado demonstrate the consequences of relaxed marijuana policies that lead to increased use: fatalities involving drivers testing positive for marijuana increased 114 percent between 2006 and 2011.”

Please note that nowhere in the previous statement is any specific mention made regarding the exact location of “our communities,” and–given the relative formidability in size of the United States as a country–such a bold claim might seek to benefit from even the subtlest hint of factual credibility to back it up.  Similarly misleading is the second sentence of the aforementioned quotation: the statistic being cited makes mention of the fact that drivers had tested positive for marijuana following fatal car accidents, but neglects to address the fact that marijuana can be detectable in the human body for as long as thirty days following its initial consumption.  In other words, just because the drivers tested positive for THC, doesn’t make it safe to assume that they were in fact under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash.  Vapid, factually-incomplete “statistics” such as these are what comprise both this particular letter as well as the body of arguments commonly used to support the illegitimate institution of marijuana prohibition altogether.  To read additional statements of an inconclusive (though incendiary) nature, I encourage you to read the letter for yourself at your leisure.  Here is a link for your convenience.

Of course, the real factors that are driving the disapproval over this announcement by narcotics and law enforcement officers are the economic incentives provided by keeping substances such as marijuana illegal and punishable by law.  It is a fact that the United States of America today holds more individuals behind bars than any other nation in the history of the world, the vast majority of which are incarcerated for non-violent crimes (most notably drug offenses).  The availability and popularity of marijuana on the black market, despite its status as an illicit substance, has managed to do more in terms of generating funding for law enforcement agencies and prisons than perhaps any other contributing factor in U.S. history.  Naturally, agents of the state would prefer to keep things going in such a corrupt direction: the revenue that is raised on an everyday basis in the form of fines and federal prosecution grants in order to combat the use of drugs (specifically marijuana) keeps many local police stations and court systems at a comfortable level of funding via the convenient money-making scheme of legal extortion.

Ending prohibition could result in potential pay cuts or even layoffs for police officers who (without the financial crutch of marijuana penalties to support their corrupt endeavors) may suddenly find themselves unable to steal enough money from taxpayers with drug offenses to cover their own salaries.  Those officers who might be perhaps lacking in the creativity department, unable to falsify traffic incidents in order to raise adequate revenue, for example, might suddenly find themselves back in the unemployment lines and unable to find work due to their lack of any truly valuable productive skills.

As the market for armed thugs ruining lives over a harmless plant begins to diminish, it is likely that so, too, will the financial resources necessary to pay the tremendous bills comprised of the salaries and pensions of men and women who are nothing more than a parasitical clique of roving marauders, preying upon each and every member of the general public.  And while I am no supporter of state regulation of marijuana whatsoever, I must say that it has brought me some level of satisfaction to see individuals like Charles Ramsey and his badge-wearing coterie of goons shaking in their standard-issue police boots, fearful for the pensions that they steal from others through a gigantic scam that has been conducted for nearly a century in this country under the guise of protecting society from a plant that was already harmless to begin with.

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