If you've ever wondered how police departments can afford to send so many officers off into the woods looking for pot plants, the Wall Street Journal just figured it out:
IGO, Calif.—Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, his budget under pressure in a weak economy, has laid off staff, reduced patrols and even released jail inmates. But there's one mission on which he's spending more than in recent years: pot busts.
The reason is simple: If he steps up his pursuit of marijuana growers, his department is eligible for roughly half a million dollars a year in federal anti-drug funding, helping save some jobs. The majority of the funding would have to be used to fight pot. Marijuana may not be the county's most pressing crime problem, the sheriff says, but "it's where the money is."
Every year, more money is spent and more marijuana is discovered. The growers then respond by planting still more. New records are set every harvest season, keeping growers and the police who pursue them steadily employed. The big losers in this ridiculous cycle of idiocy are the taxpayers, who spend billions on this stupid self-perpetuating escapade while neighborhood crimes go unsolved.
Just because some people think legalizing marijuana might "send the wrong message," we're instead stuck in a massive domestic war that we can't afford, and we're losing worse every year. Meanwhile, cops and criminals just continue cashing in.
For more, check out this interesting exchange between MPP's Mike Meno and a California reporter who's been following the story.