Why Do Police Really Oppose Marijuana Legalization? Part II

Yesterday's post failed to address the prevalence of police officers who privately oppose the drug war, but silently uphold it even though they know it's wrong. My argument is quite incomplete without addressing this important phenomenon.

LEAP director Jack Cole has told me that police constantly admit to him in confidence that they agree with LEAP's arguments. Former Seattle Police Chief and LEAP speaker Norm Stamper has also stated that several high-ranking police officials have privately commended his efforts to end the drug war.

How then do we explain the behavior of police who carry out a war they don't believe in? Are they just following orders and collecting their paychecks? Are they fearful that speaking out will compromise their status within a profession they otherwise enjoy? Do they believe the laws are here to stay, so someone has to enforce them? Are some just waiting for their pension to kick in before joining LEAP?

I'm sure all of these factors contribute here, but I suspect that many officers have a more nuanced view of drug enforcement. I once asked a highly-regarded police sergeant what he thought of a controversial teenage curfew law aimed at curbing crime in D.C. "It's a useful tool," he replied, meaning that it gave him the authority to take action against suspicious youths in the absence of other evidence. If he can't prove they're out tagging cars, he can at least stop them and send them home.

Drug laws, particularly marijuana, perform a similar function by granting police the discretion to forgive or destroy individual suspects based solely on their demeanor and the contents of their pockets. Police can ignore the smell of marijuana when dealing with a polite citizen, or fabricate it entirely when they believe someone's hiding something. A law that criminalizes vast portions of the population, justifying detentions, searches and arrests, is a "useful tool" indeed. Officers needn't believe they're winning the war on drugs to find value in the vast authority it bestows upon them.

Wielding inflated drug war powers with the best of intentions may help some officers justify their participation in something they otherwise find distasteful. Of course, none of this justifies the massive collateral damage that occurs in the process, but it might help explain how conscientious people could engage in behavior that shocks the conscience.

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To the majority of police

To the majority of police the end justifies the means.

I.E....it's okay to be evil to do away with evil!

justify the means

You're absolutely correct there no-named one,if the egyptians can torture than so should we ,its ok to be evil to do away w/evil,so as^%$#@le what koolaid you been drinking lately? lie,cheat ,tassor folk for GP's ''keeps 'em on there toes right?

When Good People Do Nothing

The drug war makes it extraordinarily difficult for ordinary people and professionals who know better to confront a system of justice so heavily invested in achieving an impossible goal.

As the impossibility of the agenda becomes more and more evident, drug culture warriors work to save face. Potential criticism and critics are derailed by using harsh measures that camouflage the absurdity of the drug war, and which create a climate of fear that discourages dissent.

The tactics being used by the drug warriors resemble those used to establish a fascist state. One of Naomi Wolf’s latest books, "The End of America," cites ten steps leading to fascism. Seven of the steps are applicable to the drug war. They are:

(1) Invoke an internal and external threat

Drug users and dealers are scapegoated for all the ills of society, i.e., if American public schools are lousy, it’s the fault of drugs, etc. Pot growers from Mexico are portrayed as foreigners invading America, while simultaneously providing cover for Islamic terrorists.

(2) Develop a Paramilitary Force

Or hire one, as the Dept. of Defense recently did when they contracted Blackwater USA to do drug surveillance.

(3) Surveil Ordinary Citizens

The Fourth Amendment has been emasculated. CAMP intrudes on private property using helicopters and foot patrols. Honest, non-drug using citizens are subjected to involuntary, random drug tests.

(4) Target Key Individuals

Peter McWilliams, Ed Rosenthal, and Tommy Chong were not targeted for growing medical pot or selling bongs as much as they were persecuted for their first amendment activities that cast a true or humorous light on drugs and their use.

(5) Restrict the Press

The media is expected to cooperate in the drug war, and they do this by publicly reiterating, without criticism, whatever the drug warriors want them to say. For instance, how many times has a major TV broadcast network given a true accounting of medical marijuana?

(6) Cast criticism and dissent as treason

Criticism of the drug laws is still the third rail of politics.

(7) Subvert the Rule of Law

Erosions of due process and violations of the Constitution are a continuing phenomenon in the drug war.

With all this going on, it’s easy to see why people think twice before taking on the drug laws. It only takes a few state legitimized attacks by cross-eyed crusaders to instill fear among honest citizens.

Time will tell if we are to be good Germans or good Americans.

Giordano

Institutional demands

Dear Scott,

Your two part discussion on why police oppose de-criminalization of marijuana fails to address the issue raised so well in "Smoke and Mirrors": marijuana prohibition keeps the Criminal-Justice system (from the beat to probation and parole, even including "treatment") in business. Without marijuana prohibition the C-J system would have to do some serious downsizing. After all prisoners are revenue producing cargo.

Keep up the good work.

Gerald Sutliff
Bakersfield, CA

re: Institutional demands

Gerald,

Thanks. This is an important point that I left out only in the interest of space and because it's a familiar argument.

To whatever extent police believe drug policy reform puts their jobs on the line, they're just wrong. We'll always need police, and it's exciting to think about how much more they could accomplish if they weren't chasing after some of the most harmless people in America.

I've had three bikes stolen here in D.C. and MPD couldn't have been less interested. If police spent more time on crime victims and less time on victimless crimes, people would just love it. Of course, my bikes were probably stolen by a non-rehabilitated repeat drug offender whose needs could be better addressed post-prohibition and might not have to follow me around stealing my bikes.

Oh my god, you're right! Tons of insidious crap would just completely stop happening if our drug policy wasn't the precise opposite of what it should be. But with all the money we're wasting kicking the piss out of each other, I'm sure we could easily afford to find work for displaced drug war profiteers.

Int. demands

Absolutely correct,i use the term ''cash cows'',really sucks,their dependence on thisand their total lack of thought,thanks!...donl

"Are some just waiting for

"Are some just waiting for their pension to kick in before joining LEAP?"

LOL.

Where It All Began

this second article addresses the issue which was the initial inspiration for the drug war, which is to provide an excuse to persecute "undesirables" who don't commit crimes.

marijuana prohibition was clamoured for by police in the southwest as an easy way to incarcerate/deport mexicans for whom pot smoking was a tradition or even a sacrament, with the flimsy excuse that it "'emboldened' mexicans to challenge the authority of their white employers", when in reality it was the inhumane treatment that 'emboldened' them to speak out, and the drug law was just an excuse to shut down the dissent, and indeed the "justification" for the law itself - that workewrs speaking out was a reason for persecution in the *first* place corresponds exactly to the theme of this article.

likewise with the"justification" for the south's determination to outlaw cocaine ostensibly because it "emboldened" black males to hit on white women (as if there was something wrong with that), and worse yet, that it made white women amenable to that. the fact was it was simply something blacks and south americans enjoyed, and therefore could be counted on to have when they came calling on those wayward daughters of the confederacy.

and likewise, as the article states, the fact that drug laws criminalise a substance rather than an actual criminal act, the "crime" is not likely to have witnesses and the "evidence" cops need to put someone away can be carried in the squad car as a way of dealing with those n'er do wells who commit the greatest crime of all: being innocent while black/latino/chinese/indigenous/libertarian, and as the article also states, the "suspicion" of drug use is all that is required for an otherwise "clean" individual to be harrassed and detained at will.

i myself was once pulled over in a "drug" area with no drugs and even consented to search (i was young, which is itself a crime in florida), and when the frustrated officer found no drugs, he threatened to hold me for 72 hours on "suspicion" if i didn't wave my Miranda rights and confess to being there for drugs. today i'd tell the condescending bastard where to shove his unwelcome and unconstitutional intrusion into my personal affairs and let him haul me in and deal with my lawyer, but i was young and naive and had parents to answer to. he had me right where he wanted me: helpless.. were it not for the drug war, he'd have been robbed of all that dick-hardening goodness, and the thugs aren't gonna give up their fave aphrodisiac without a fight.

the drug war does today what it was originally designed to do: make every citizen immediately arrestable without cause.

where it all began

Good that you read the history ,many don't, it could ''almost'' be concidered a racial thing but in the south, that'd be a laugh, anyway I, at 62 never having commit'd any form of crime,not even a speeding ticket,a well educated business owner no less !had the misfortune of being diagnosed w/stage 4 laryngeal cancer,following a long operation,then chemo/rad.treatment, it was during the chemo that I/WE,were busted ,my wife because she lives w/me and doesn't use,means nada! thankfully for an exc.legal team our penalty for such a heinous crime,that i am certain caused many deaths,etc.etc''.I would place this as an arrest w/o cause! '' I was called a liar, although I was totally honest ,but they sure did lie,NJstate police spec.drug task force that staked out a local hydroponics store and followed me home;''pony tail ''gave me away! they watched neiborhood ,saw people stopping in staying for hours and decided i must be selling,not thinking that i might have friends,I mean ,they don't !why should I right? they lied to gain entrance,and my not being criminally minded,didn't think, yep pretty soon we'll all be that cheap labor force for big corps..the ones the system works for!!

Prohibition2

Prohibition opens all sorts of doors for those intent on subjugating people. Those who would do the subjugating are the dominators. It's their way or no way. Morality is the battle cry. Decentcy and order are their goal. Why are people of this nature neccesary to a democracy? Zero tolerance inevitably equals zero democracy. Prohibition truely is THE GATEWAY TO TYRANNY.

It is not against the law - Read the Bill of Rights!

When I have smoked with friends and acquaintances, I often asked if they thought weed should be illegal. If they say yes, they rarely see me again and I certainly do not imbibe with them.

When I have smoke, or whatever, I have NEVER broken the law. The law of the land is still the Constitution of the United States. That includes the first ten amendments. They are a restrictive clause on government. Any law passed by the fed or state governments that violate the Bill of Rights or exceed the powers granted to the fed or state governments is a repugnant law. Yes, I know it is repugnant, but that is also a legal term. That means the law itself is outside of the government.

What we have today is a criminal conspiracy to do deprive Citizens of their rights. The enforcement of any law that says 'you cannot do this' or 'you cannot have that' or exceeds the Bill of Rights is criminal without consent.

For instance, when you get your drivers license, you sign a contract consenting to rules and regulations. This is not always a bad thing by the way, but you are voluntarily consenting to it. That is the basis for the related enforcement. Most citizens are OK with a wide varient of repugnant laws and regulations because they believe them to be in their or the publics best interest.

But the drug war is very bad. Most people have no idea that cannabis is the most basic industrial raw material known to man. Many still do not know that it is the least toxic substance on the planet, less toxic than water! (It is pretty much impossible to consume a toxic dose.) The real reasons cannabis is repressed is ecconomic.

Everything that can be made from petroleum can be made from cannabis resin, plus a lot more stuff. Like biodegradable plastic, methanol that can run your car with exhaust of CO2 and water vapor. Food, Fiber, Building material, Medicine, Paper, Cardboard, Soil Stabilization, Energy, etc.

The Big Rich, NWO types are behind it. Legal weed would dramatically reduce everyones cost of living and allow farmers to be financially independent, even producing their own fuel for their tractors and homes. Coal plants could reduce their main cost by 90% with no technology improvements! Far less crime, less perscriptions drugs, less disease, less destruction of the forrest, less hunger, etc., and on and on.

Cops who choose to enforce the drug war as a specialty, prosecutors, agencies, jailers, judges, etc, are traitors not just to the united States, but to mankind and the ecology of this Earth, affecting every living being.

It is not just about your right to self medicate, or life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is a war for the future survival of this planet.

Gerard Carton

End of America

Maybe British rather than the German/Weimar history is a more appropriate model for 21st century USA: a slow decline into 2nd world status.

MARIJUANA IS NOT AGAINST THE LAW!

Marajuana is not against anything at all. It's the law that is against marijuana. The forces that be, ( the ignorant, greedy, moralisers) like their logic best,served backwards.

hey

what the fuck is yall promble with weed mother fucker

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