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April 2007
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Serve and Protect?

At the Rocky Mountain News: Legal Pot Activists Angry at Police
At LEAP: Heartless Feds, Apparently Heartless City Cops, Too

…two years ago Denver voters approved a city ordinance that allows possession of less than one ounce of marijuana for personal use by persons 21 years of age or older.
The measure was approved by 54% of the voters. Last fall, 55% of Denver voters approved a similar measure for state law, but state-wide the measure failed.
Since then, Denver Police Department’s arrest rate for marijuana of people 21 or older has increased – nearly 25%! DPD is going around the city ordinance and citing people with the state statute.

This is disturbing on a number of levels. More and more we’re seeing police forces acting as though the wishes and laws of their local communities can be ignored at will. And this is an attitude that has been actively cultivated by the federal government, through drug task forces, asset forfeiture kickbacks and more.
There are serious long-term implications. Decentralized police functions are essential to a free society. Police must feel that they are members of, and accountable to, their local communities. A nationalized police force has less connection to the community and so the community’s welfare becomes less important than the goals set by the police.
The weakening abuse of the original intent of the Commerce Clause has extended the reach of the federal “police” to the point of micro-policing (this seizure by the feds of less than an ounce from a legal medical marijuana patient in Montana is just one example). And at the same time they have used tons of incentives to convince local police entities to transfer local authority to state or federal… influence.
Do these look like neighbors to whom you’d turn for help? (from a local task force poster in my community)

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