Send comments, tips,
and suggestions to:
DrugWarRant
Join us on Pete's couch.
couch

DrugWarRant.com, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
facebooktwitterrss
March 2014
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Archives

Authors

Not even trying to be police

This isn’t particularly unusual, yet it still caught my eye:

Chiefs of police oppose marijuana legalization, expansion of dispensaries

The Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police issued a statement in March saying it opposes expanding the availability of marijuana in Vermont.

Police believe their concerns about health risks, highway safety and employment issues related to marijuana have been ignored by the governor and lawmakers.

Why are the Chiefs of Police attempting to advise the governor and lawmakers on issues of health in the state? Why are the Chiefs of Police advising the governor and lawmakers on issues of employment in the state? Doesn’t anyone in the media or in government question this?

It’s absurd. We don’t have the heads of the postal service in their official capacity expressing concerns about the effect of policies on farming.

Highway safety? Sure. Go ahead and knock yourself out. But bring the facts, not just scare tactics.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

36 comments to Not even trying to be police

  • Agreed. Not unusual, but always infuriating. And these same cops will claim they are “just doing their job” when enforcing prohibition, whose outdated laws they work tirelessly to perpetuate.

    What IS unusual is a federal court hearing evidence regarding the constitutionality of cannabis prohibition. Yet that is what’s happening on June 4 in a California federal court.
    I’m curious why we’re not talking more about this:
    http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/marijuana_law/2014/03/federal-court-to-hold-evidentiary-hearing-on-the-constitutionality-of-marijuana-as-a-schedule-i-subs.html

    What is this, chopped liver? Why is no one talking about this?
    I read the legal briefs. Am I just being naive? Does this not have a chance?

    Pardon me if OT, but at least I’m not hawking flower.

    • Sukoi

      “Can the government constitutionally choose to prosecute people for the distribution of marijuana in some states, but not prosecute others involved in the same conduct in other states that have legalized marijuana? Isn’t federal law supposed to apply equally to all nationwide?”

      This is the question that I’ve wanted to see answered since Colorado and Washington re-legalized cannabis. My belief is that if the feds go in and try to enforce federal law against the will of the people of any state, it will only hasten the end of prohibition. It will be interesting to see how the court rules.

      • Richard P Steeb

        Hopefully the court will actually use “judgment” this time, rather than defer to the “expertise” of the DEA like the black-robed clowns did with our ill-fated rescheduling petition…

        • As ill-fated as that petition was, it may have moved us forward regardless. ASA vs dea(d) is mentioned in the gov’s opposition statement, but the defense points out that this case differs in that this time, rather than trying to force dea(d) to reschedule, we are just challenging the constitutionality of cannabis prohibition itself, based on the facts of reality.
          We all know prohibition can’t possibly stand up to rational scrutiny. I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but incidentally, the judge is a woman.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        Sukoi, please look up Federal bankruptcy laws. Title 11 of your Federal code. You’re looking for the fact that what happens in a Title 11 filing is wholly dependant on the State in which you file. For instance, in Texas, Florida and Nevada creditors can’t touch the petitioners home equity. In West Virginia a single person can only protect $25k in home equity. A couple can exclude $25k each. The creditors also can’t make a West Virginian sell his banjo. In Maryland, the real estate exclusion is $21,750 and that applies to both single and married couples. Here in Maryland $21,750 isn’t even a traditional down payment. $50k in West Virginia will buy you a pretty darn nice trailer home and all of the banjo music your heart desires.

        Next you need to familiarize yourself with the ancient common law precept of prosecutorial discretion. The reality is that a prosecutor has limited resources and is required by reality to prioritize those resources so he has to make choices.

        The police also have similar discretion. Think of an on duty cop trying to catch people speeding on the Interstate. Would you have him pull over people doing 66 in a 65 zone and while writing the ticket just watch people fly by at 90?

        There are less than 5000 sworn DEA agents to police 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Territories and possessions, as well as 80 or so foriegn countries. How would you have them enforce Federal law without prioritizing? If they’re busy arresting someone for petty possession of cannabis (66 MPH), are they letting kiddie diddlers engage in wholesale distribution of kiddie porn (90 MPH)?

        The only way that law enforcement “ignoring” the law is relevant is if it leaves the officer twiddling his thumbs. I can assure you without any worry that law enforcement can ignore every cannabis law violation in the Country and still have a full time job investing and prosecuting other crimes. Heck, maybe we wouldn’t even have to have TV shows doing their job of hunting down kiddie diddlers.

        • Sukoi

          Point taken Duncan, but it will still be interesting as to how the court will rule on this issue as the public perception is that federal law applies equally across all states and boundaries within the country. To me, and most I would say, the perception is that federal law applies equally across the country regardless of state laws. Also, the fact that they have limited resources only means that they should target those resources at states that have gone against federal law, after all, they are a ‘law enforcement agency’ and who would be breaking the ‘law’ more than a state that has explicitly said “fuck you” to the feds?

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      I’m not particularly interested because we’ve won a lot of similar motions in the lower Courts only to have them kicked to the curb by the SCOTUS. E.g. the 9th Circuit found in favor of Angel Raich, but was overturned in Gonzales v Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005) by a SCOTUS vote of 6-3.

      • Raich was mentioned in the legal briefs, but this case is different in that no one is claiming a legal right to grow and distribute medical cannabis, as they were in raich. This motion directly challenges prohibition’s constitutionality on its face, in light of the evidence, particularly developments in the last few months, and the cole memo especially.

  • Police organizations don’t belong in the medical marijuana discussion, period. Its not part of their profession to involve themselves politically with a medical issue – they are not trained medical professionals. I find this article by Neill Franklin to be quite ‘synergistic’. Its called “The Case Against Prohibition” appearing in Law Officer http://www.lawofficer.com/node/24484

    quote:
    “Today enforcing drug laws not only occupies a huge portion of police time, it forms much of the identity of the profession and of individual officers who dedicate their lives to serving the public. That’s why, to me, the finding that more officers support the legalization of marijuana possession than support the status quo is remarkable. Who among us questions such things lightly?”

    “Of course, it is a radical argument to the criminal syndicates who rely on drug profits to fund every other criminal enterprise. And, unfortunately, it’s a radical argument to those policing associations who make billions on asset forfeitures and federal grants designed to get them focused on drug crime rather than on the real work of policing. The only question is: Which is more important to you? The dictates of the drug war, or doing what is best for the community you’re sworn to serve and protect?”

    That is the crux of this article. That is what The Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police need to ask themselves. It seems clear to me where they appear to fit into Neill’s last statement.

  • claygooding

    It sure removes them being able to say they just enforce the laws.
    Any time advocates want cops to bow out of the discussion ask them how much Federal grants money they’re agency has received in the last 5 years,,when we expose the greed behind their concern they will shut up.

  • kaptinemo

    What’s the old saying about “The truth will out”?

    Just as their Inner Crazy is manifesting in their (laughably out-of-touch) public pronouncements, their Inner Glutton will surface as well, as it did with this ‘Freudian slip’ about ’employment’.

    For, you can safely bet that he meant he was concerned for his continued employment, not that of his fellow citizens.

    Like I keep saying, they’re used to things going their way for so long they don’t understand it’s an aberration, not normality. They still don’t understand that the wind has changed and the worm has turned. They’re still addressing the wrong electorate, the one whose star is setting. The one that’s rising does not want prohibition. At. All.

    So…if the LE prohibs want to keep what’s left of their jobs after the re-legalization dust settles, they’d better realize something: their cover’s blown.

    The old folks that voted for pols who voted in favor of prohibition are soon to be no more. The younger voters replacing them will not vote for such pols; cannabis is a litmus test for those new voters as to a pol’s true progressive compass. And very few of the new electorate will vote to hold a gun to their own heads with continued fiscal support for any prohibition program. It’s ‘game over’ with all but the shouting done.

    And the sooner the prohibition-addicted LE organs make that realization, stop interfering with re-legalization and step aside, the less attention they will draw to themselves when it comes time to swing the budgetary butcher knife. For we won’t need to spend all that money on chasing a chimera, anymore…as if we ever did.

  • CJ

    To me this is also about “perception of reality.” Not necessarily reality and as we here I believe most of us know especially us I’m saying that reality and perception of aren’t always the same thing. I mean specifically other human beings and their perception of other human beings, even themselves, least of all the world at large.

    In this case it’s not surprising to me, these police officers perception of reality, perception of themselves is way off base. I think it’s incredible to consider the history of police and policing and realize in it’s current form it’s not exactly one of the age old institutions of civilization (just like drug prohibition.) I’d have to assume the early police were probably somewhat timid in stepping into their new roles as “law enforcers” and probably for some time had to really walk a fine line with overstepping their job description.

    Today I’m sorry but when compared to more “chivalrous” times now lost to the world, this current international set up is a total freaking joke.

    Look it’s not so surprising cops are over stepping their legitimate positions to start handing out advice to government. Let’s be honest here, when it comes to reality and perception of, one of the most convoluted and confused perception is that of police. And it’s one of the more obvious ones, if you consider:

    perception of reality among alot of people, including cops themselves is that everybody, but especially the lower and middle income community hates them. Minorities hate them. They are a well loathed group by many not the least of which is their own family and friends – I’ll never forget once when I was sitting on the sidewalk and I saw a drunk couple stumble out of a bar talking and the guy said as clear as day “you see, it’s so unfair. That’s why I never tell anybody that I’m a cop.” LOL. Not that that one comment justifies what I’m saying but it’s a good example. Now at the same time that everybody hates them on TV they become glorified superheroes. It’s true. It’s almost incalculable how many cop shows there are on TV. They always win, they are like Canadian Monutie’s they always get their man these cops. Not only is there an army of fictional police shows but theres also an army of non fiction police shows. These people are glorified and this is bad because they already have an inherent ego. The propaganda machine that makes these people supposedly bearers of insane amounts of intelligence and martial valour of course perception is totally F’ed up man. These people have lost touch with reality, least of all within themselves. Gone, totally gone is their sanity. This arrogance that they’ve pulled really doesn’t surprise me. They think their superman, batman etc. etc. No the fact is your divorce and suicide rates are very high, as is your alcoholism and pretty much alot of people hate you and the people writing, directing and acting in those TV shows could care less about you. They are all waiting to do bigger and better things in Hollywood than some dumb generic cop show, believe me.

  • Dante

    Why does anyone still listen to the Police? The Police in this country are the greatest collection of thugs, ignoramuses and liars ever assembled (other than Congress). The Police have continuously championed the most harmful and ineffective policies despite vast amounts of evidence that those policies are at best counter-productive and at worst they are the new slavery.

    So, why listen to the idiots? Ignore them and move forward, leaving them behind just like this country did when we repealed alcohol prohibition.

    The greatest threat to our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is an encounter with the Police. Teach your children to treat all law enforcement like they would a poisonous snake. It may save their lives if they know in advance the Police are the real terrorists.

    Protect & Serve (Themselves!)

    • Jean Valjean

      It’s hard to ignore them when they have the giant megaphone of the MSM and the status quo behind them… as Pete said, why are their opinions taken seriously when they stray into fields that have nothing to do with L.E., yet 70 years of brain washing of the public means that they are listened to without question by many on “health.”
      (Notable exception of LEAP, of course)

  • ezrydn

    They’ve been playing “doctor” for so long, they think it’s part of the job.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    So folks, it’s pins and needles time as Mayor Vincent Gray has signed the District of Columbia decriminalization law and it’s been sent to Congress per their right of refusal. Remember that they don’t have to vote, i.e. individual members going on record supporting the law, to let the law take effect.

    This one will surely stir up a shit storm regardless of how they go.
    D.C.’s Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Heads To Congress After Being Signed

  • Jean Valjean

    There’s a predictable response to Neill Franklin’s article on the same page…
    all the usual sabet/kleiman talking point are there including “nobody goes to jail for pot,” but this this struck me as particularly egregious:

    “Yeah, we did arrest, cuff, fingerprint, book and file state charges on some. But only if there were extenuating circumstances (i.e., they were wanted on some other serious crimes, were being booked on other state charges and/or were generally noncompliant, combative malcontents).”
    That final phrase about “noncompliant combative malcontents” says it all….we only arrest them for pot if they are People We Don’t Like. Pure, unadulterated fascism.

  • Servetus

    United States law enforcement is in a major quandary. Its law enforcement apparatus is what it is today due in no small part to a century’s worth of drug law enforcement.

    Drug bureaucrats practice medicine without a license, but don’t go to jail for it. Public drug policy analysts practice science without a relevant or sufficient science education. The judiciary prosecutes its drug cases as if it were an assembly line processing poultry. No matter how grim the task, a government can always find people lacking a common humanity to do the job. It’s not difficult to imagine the kinds of people attracted to drug enforcement as a civil service career, or a commercial opportunity.

    One such person is the sort of individual who inspired derision by former bureaucrats such as Franz Kafka and Peter Kropotkin. The eminent sociologist Emile Durkheim noted that bureaucrats typically resent change happening within their bureaucracy because it means they will be required to adapt to it. At worst, bureaucratic jobs can be eliminated, just as in the commercial sector.

    Then there are the true believers in the drug war. These would include the right wing authoritarian (RWA) law-enforcement-types whose personal identity and worldview derive from a sadomoralistic religious imperative that’s been fused into their subculture. Examples would include adherents of the Protestant ethic, otherwise known as the Calvinist buzzkill; and those who promote the Catholic Church’s anachronistic, ongoing fear of supernumerary swarms of demons who appear in chemical form.

    Entrenched bureaucrats and the assorted crazies are hard nuts to crack, but they’re not invulnerable. Understanding what motivates them is enough to derail their intent and send them over a cliff. Some manage to stumble and fall off the cliff by themselves. In any case, anti-prohibitionists derive a spectator sport watching the prohibidiots and prohibitches crash and burn.

  • Jean Valjean

    Pete… I’ve had long delays waiting for DWR to load on both my computers. I am not experiencing delays on other web pages… any ideas what may be the cause? Or anyone else experience this over the last week or so?

  • War Vet

    Good reporting Pete . . . no matter how cloudy it gets for May flowers, You and the couch always bring in the light.

    • Common Science

      Tee hee! Had a little April Fools fun with Pete’s Vermont article, and Wayne Andrews in the comments. Came to him as Sam and then Cindy (when I repeatedly wasn’t allowed to comment again as Sam).

  • […] Not even attempting to be police “Can the government constitutionally pick to prosecute men and women for the distribution of marijuana in some states, but not prosecute other people involved in the exact same carry out in other states that have legalized marijuana? Isn&#39t federal law supposed to apply … Read much more on Drug WarRant […]

  • allan

    even here in Oregon we have our cannabigot cops.

    Newberg, OR, PD Chief Brian Casey:

    “I believe medical marijuana is one of the greatest hoaxes played in America,” Casey said. “I’m telling you, you would have an increase in criminal activity if we increase the amount of medical marijuana available. You can’t avoid it. It’s the law of averages, it’s going to happen.”

    Berry cited an increase of marijuana use in youth when it’s more readily available. He also highlighted marijuana’s role in traffic accidents.

    “As most of you probably know I’ve been an outspoken critic of the Oregon medical marijuana system,” he said. “Marijuana is the most common drug involved in automobile fatalities — 14 percent combined with alcohol and other drugs.”

    • Windy

      Wow! What a prohibitch!

      “Cannabigot”, love it, it goes great with prohibidiot and prohibitch.

    • Crut

      Another telling quote of the thrashing and gasping last actions of the prohibitch:

      Then Howard attempted to speak again, but was interrupted by an emotional Councilor Stephen McKinney.

      “People know where you stand on this, they need to know where I stand on this,” McKinney said. “You’re 100 percent wrong if you’re promoting the use of marijuana in this particular community in whatever way.”

        It’s time that someone points out publicly that the only people using the word “promote” are prohibitionists frantically looking for a fortress from which they can keep standing on our necks. This movement is not about promoting anything, it’s about removing oppression from holier than thou status-quo authoritarians. Take your off-base 100% judgement BS and stick it back where the sun don’t shine.

        At least there were some cool heads on the bench:

      Councilor Bart Rierson jumped in with the final word.

      “I would like to see the council action, but when I looked at the material it was bordering on `Reefer Madness,’” Rierson said in reference to the 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda film. “(I know there were some legitimate facts, but) we’re bordering on fear mongering and we’re all intelligent adults. I think this was a little heavy handed on an anti-marijuana side. Just the way the material was presented, I took a little bit of offense because I feel like an adult and can make my own decision.”

    • Jean Valjean

      “Which business in our community would you believe would want a medical marijuana dispensary next door to them? Which wine shop? Which restaurant?”
      Of course, these two lines of business would have no reason at all to want to damage the cannabis industry, would they?
      As for pizza …..

  • cy klebs

    The CSA is worthless. Not a single OD from MJ. MJ re-legalizing may reduce coal burning. They are wrong!

  • sudon't

    “Why are the Chiefs of Police attempting to advise the governor and lawmakers on issues of health in the state?”

    Well, job (and funding) security. But you knew that.