Rolling Stone Magazine: Five Reasons Cops Want To Legalize Marijuana
Five Reasons Cops Want To Legalize Marijuana
“When we ended the prohibition of alcohol, Al Capone was out of work the next day,” says Stephen Downing, Los Angeles’ former Deputy Chief of Police. “Our drug policy is really anti-public safety and pro-cartel, pro-street gang, because it keeps them in business.”
In the past decade, police made more than 7 million marijuana arrests, 88 percent of them for possession alone. In 2010, states spent $3.6 billion enforcing the war on pot, with blacks nearly four times as likely as whites to be arrested. That’s a lot of police time and resources wasted, says former Seattle Chief of Police Norm Stamper, who had an “aha moment” about marijuana policy while working for the San Diego Police Department in the late 1960s.
Cops have limited resources, and spending them on marijuana arrests will inevitably divert them from other policing. Adds Stamper, “In short, making a marijuana arrest for a simple possession case was no longer, for me, real police work.”
Marijuana’s illegality has done very little to stop its use. A recent survey by the National Institutes of Health found that 36 percent of high school seniors had smoked marijuana in the past year.
“The only way we can effectively control drugs is to create a regulatory system for all of them,” says Stamper.
“If you are truly a proponent of public safety, if you truly want safer communities, then it’s a no-brainer that we have to end drug prohibition and treat [marijuana] as a health issue, like we did with tobacco,” says Franklin. “Education and treatment is the most effective and cost-efficient way to reduce drug use.”
On the other hand, adds Franklin, “If you support a current system of drug prohibition, then you support the very same thing that the cartel and neighborhood gangs support. You might as well be standing next to them, shaking hands. Because they don’t want an end to prohibition, either.”
L.E.A.P. – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is an international 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization of criminal justice professionals who bear personal witness to the wasteful futility and harms of our current drug policies.