Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop exemplifies law enforcement self-interest trumping truth

There’s a distinct buzz out there about this event: Annapolis police chief apologizes for citing hoax story in testimony against marijuana legalization

Testifying against bills proposed in Maryland to legalize and decriminalize marijuana, Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop cited a hoax story that claimed 37 people died the first day marijuana was legalized in Colorado.

“The first day of legalization, that’s when Colorado experienced 37 deaths that day from overdose on marijuana,” Pristoop said in testimony at Tuesday’s Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing. “I remember the first day it was decriminalized there were 37 deaths.”

I remember when that satire piece came out as well. We joked about the gullible idiots on Twitter who actually thought that was somehow true.

Pristoop was immediately corrected by Senator Jamie Raskin, who was not a gullible idiot on Twitter.

Now, of course, people are trying to backtrack…

“After conducting additional research, it appears that was not accurate at all,” Pristoop said. “I believed at the time that was accurate. But I don’t think it takes away from the other facts we presented… I’m guilty of being a human being. I tried really hard to present verified facts.” […]

Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides said he remains confident in Pristoop, whom he believed errored in his testimony. […]
Pristoop’s focus on heroin enforcement may have influenced his comments in front of the Maryland General Assembly, Pantelides said.

“Clearly when you’re constantly dealing with a drug where people overdose, it’s probably in your head to think overdoses, drugs,” he said. “Again, it could have just been a slip of he said something he shouldn’t have.”[…]

Alderman Fred Paone, a member of the Annapolis City Council’s Public Safety committee, said he had not read the hoax article or Pristoop’s comments, but believed the police chief’s remarks were likely “a good faith mistake.”

“The guy is doing his job and frankly you get kind of intense when you’re in the middle of something,” Paone, R-Ward 2, said.


Let’s be clear, here. This is not a good faith mistake. This is not a slip of the tongue.

This is the chief law enforcement officer of a major city claiming to be enough of an expert on a topic to actually testify in front of the Senate, with a goal of using his “facts” to justify continuing arresting people, and in the course of that testimony, actually and earnestly claims something so ridiculously false that any high school student would know it was parody.

Remember: Police Chief Michael Pristoop didn’t accidentally tweet it like those idiots we ridiculed. He used it in testimony in the State Senate.

This truly exemplifies the way that law enforcement has worked to corrupt the legislative process when it comes to marijuana. They’re not interested in facts, only ammunition. The truth about medical marijuana’s value, or the truth about the impact on marijuana’s use on society doesn’t matter to them a single bit, and so they don’t even care to learn it. All they care about is protecting their ability to use these unjust laws and their revenue stream that comes from marijuana enforcement.

And so they show up to testify at every legislative hearing (and what politician wants to go against law enforcement in uniform?) as they regurgitate canned talking points usually crafted by prohibitionists further up the food chain.

Police Chief Michael Pristoop got caught. And this should be brought up every time law enforcement officials show up to testify about why marijuana must remain illegal.

Again, it’s important to note that Pristoop represents a particular element of law enforcement that needs correction. His kind are not the only ones in the field.

I could sense the sadness in this tweet from Neil Franklin, who represents a lot of good cops as head of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition:

Not much I can say about this embarrassing moment in Annapolis. Cops need to work with change, not against it.

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51 Responses to Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop exemplifies law enforcement self-interest trumping truth

  1. BossIlluminati says:

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING!!!13

    “any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death” – cali secret 420

    no college degree required to be a cop or corrections officer, what did you expect? big problems when your police chief believes the lies, hahahaha

    from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, and 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

    20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary….nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states…even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice…no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol…

    love and freedom forever


  2. Randy says:

    The confirmation bias of drug warriors is on full display in this one. The good chief must be a drug warrior’s drug warrior to fall for an obvious hoax like that.

    • Randy says:

      I shouldn’t have used the word “hoax” here. The article the chief gleaned his information from was comedy/satire and wasn’t meant to deceive anyone, but rather amuse the reader. Little did the writers know how much amusement their satire would generate for us all.

  3. Jean Valjean says:

    Is Pristoop’s testimony on video? I would love to see his expression when he was called out on his nonsense.

  4. claygooding says:

    Greed created hemp prohibition and greed keeps it going today. If you follow any prohibitionist’s financing you will find that 99.9% of them depend on prohibition for their living directly and indirectly.

    When the federal government removes marijuana arrests as verification of acceptable drug law enforcement efforts to receive the “bounty money” and military surplus for fighting the drug war with law enforcements “concern” for the children will evaporate.

  5. Howard says:

    So he got fooled by a hoax courtesy of The Daily Currant (a satire site)? Maybe if the “story” had come from The Daily Raisin or The Daily Goji Berry he might have thought twice before quoting from it. Then again, probably not.

    • Cannabis says:

      Pristoop most likely did not write his own testimony.

    • War Vet says:

      This Sheriff is the one who drools on himself, has his shirt un-tucked, wears Velcro shoes, un-matching socks that one can see because of his shorts which are held up by suspenders, a ball cap with a tinny plastic propeller, and he has a plastic gun that shoots those really small round yellow rubber BBs. After he gets done with preschool, he goes to work at the Sheriffs office–with a nice little wooden desk topped with little toy police cars on it for him to be in hot pursuit of a red Mustang Hotwheels . . . Bed time by 8pm.

  6. Frank W says:

    It comfirms the triumph of the police state with the toilet paper of the 4th Amendment stuck to its boot (since yesterday). They can say any nonsense and be invited to write legislation.

  7. Uncle Reefer says:

    The only possible overdoses from pot might be attributed to eating too many M&Ms, popcorn, double chocolate brownies or a loaded pizza. Just because a guy looks like an idiot, talks like an idiot and acts like an idiot shouldn’t fool you. He really is an idiot.

  8. Howard says:

    And I’ll bet the rest of the Annapolis police force are really bummed out. Now they’ll all have to go through rigorous satire training, complete with certificates of completion (and an extra pin for their uniforms). Chief Pristoop is already nervous he’ll have to take the course several times.

  9. William trexler says:

    What a dumb crunt

  10. NorCalNative says:

    “…I tried really hard to present verified facts.”

    Look kids, it’s a talking anus!

    • kaptinemo says:

      Damn it! I was inhaling when I read that! I almost choked!

      ‘Talking anus’, indeed. The prohibs just can’t get it through their thick skulls that the worm isn’t turning, it’s already turned. The prohib’s worst nightmare has arrived; the very people who know they were lied to by the prohibs literally their entire lives, have reached the age of exercising their sovereign franchise by voting. And they’re voting for re-legalization.

      The attempt to program them into Human versions of Pavlov’s dogs (via DARE) has failed. The prohibs have sown the wind; now shall they reap the whirlwind. And they have only themselves to blame.

  11. allan says:

    this story is starting to gain some steam, Jacob Sullum covers it.

    And it should gain steam. This is the perfect example of how eager and willing prohibs are to demonize our good herb at the expense of truth and that which is right. How can a man be so ignorant!? In public too… he should have to wear a paper bag over his head for a week, his kids should have to wear Tshirts that say, I’m with stupid

    • Howard says:

      “This is the perfect example of how eager and willing prohibs are to demonize our good herb at the expense of truth and that which is right.”

      This is how this incident should be emphasized. Not as a mistake or a flub. But further proof of systematic willingness to portray anything supposedly negative about the cannabis plant regardless of the veracity of the information. It doesn’t matter if tainted information comes from the NIDA, ONDCP, SAM — or known satirists — The Daily Currant.

      By the way, Chief Pristoop, after learning of the satire he “misquoted” as truth, also said, “But I’m holding on to information I was provided.”

      Really? Might as well repeatedly hit yourself in the head with a hammer, Chief (good grief).

  12. NorCalNative says:

    Kevin Anslinger Sabet has a new buddy!

  13. darkcycle says:

    You just don’t recover from a maneuver like that.

  14. thelbert says:

    san diego’s police chief has decided on a quick retirement after allegations of ass grabbing, sexual assault and drunk on duty police officers have surfaced. looks like the police in dago have a hard time policing themselves.

  15. tensity1 says:

    The chief is either a liar or really damn ignorant, which begs the question: why is this ignoramus/liar of a police officer testifying on an issue of health policy? Is he a facking scientist or doctor? Hell, why is he a police chief at all if he’s that ignorant or if he’s that devoid of integrity as to lie to keep ruining people’s lives?

    More awesomeness in the War on (some) Americans via drugs.

    • primus says:

      EITHER he is a bald-faced liar, or he is grossly incompetent, or he is really really stupid. In any case, he has proven his unworthiness to be the chief.

  16. Duncan20903 says:


    Oh my, this made my day. ROFLMAO what a chump! Is there a chump hall of fame? Chief Chump is definitely a chump among chumps. Man, this one is so extreme! When I can manage to stop laughing I’m going to feel sorry for this poor guy…for about 10 seconds, then I’m going to hop in the car and drive to Annapolis so I can laugh at this guy to his face.

  17. Rick Steeb says:

    Hey Chief, do you know the origin of the term “TESTIFY”? You are now eligible for castration!

  18. Servetus says:

    The Police Chief’s crash-and-burn at the Senate Chamber typifies the power of fear mongering in a primitive and paranoid society. Because they’re trained in categorical thinking, or because they’re authoritarian followers, some people believe any wicked thing they hear about a chemical (chemophobia?). For true believers in prohibitionist fringe biochemistry, there’s a huge difference between being trained and being educated. Being educated forces a person to face facts. Being trained forces a person to be a robot. Believers who favor the drug war tend to be trained.

    Encouraging fear of the facts is a common survival tactic for dysfunctional cultures. In some parts of the U.S., anti-intellectual fear mongering encompasses education policies that de-emphasize fact-finding methods such as rhetoric and science education, while making the remaining requisite teaching of historical revisionism and censored data so ineffective and boring that many of its student victims will never want to touch a book again.

    Fear mongers have had centuries to perfect their techniques. First the Swedish Justice Minister, and now the unfortunate Mr. Pristoop is the latest victim of a system that cares little if bureaucrats make fools of themselves in public and wreck their careers. Amazing what a bit of antidotal satire can do.

  19. DdC says:

    Come gather ’round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown
    And accept it that soon
    You’ll be drenched to the bone
    If your time to you is worth savin’
    Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin’

    Just Say No To These 11 Outrageous Arguments
    CN Source: By Matt Ferner and Nick Wing,
    The Huffington Post February 25, 2014
    — Nearly 80 years ago, the feature film “Reefer Madness” hit theaters, projecting demonstrably false anti-marijuana propaganda all over the big screen. In today’s era of legal medical and recreational cannabis, the tone of this movie is often mocked. But drug warriors are still employing many of the same hysterical arguments to prop up their campaign against weed. When it comes to public opinion, it’s becoming clear that anti-pot crusaders are losing the battle. Recreational marijuana is for sale in Colorado, it’s coming to Washington in just a few months and over a dozen more states are considering legalization measures right now. In all, 20 states have passed laws allowing the medical or recreational use of marijuana, and with a majority of Americans now in favor of legal weed for the first time in U.S. history, the momentum is on marijuana’s side. Read More…

    Why does the Vatican drink so much wine?: worlds highest per capita consumption
    The Guardian TransformDrugPolicy ‏@TransformDrugs

    If #Cannabis Laws Cause A ‘Surge in Drugged Driving Deaths,’
    Why Are Fatalities Falling?
    | via @Forbes

    Kevin Sabet Fears Joe Camel More Than Terrorist Mexican Drug Cartels
    Russ Belville ‏@RadicalRuss

    @NORML Argues Police May Not Question Citizens Based On #Marijuana Odors
    The Weed Blog ‏@TheWeedBlog

  20. Dante says:

    Every day, the greatest threat to the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for the average American is an encounter with law enforcement. Law enforcement wiill cheat, lie, steal, assault, and even kill innocent people in order to have their way. Often, they use the awesome power of their jobs to cover up their misconduct and to block any investigation into their activities. Teach your children about the police just like you would teach them about a poisonous snake, for it may save your child’s life one day.

    Protect & Serve (themselves!)

  21. Crut says:

    Love the fact that these prohibidiots are so quickly being put in their place.

    OT: Christian Pot Dispensary Takes On The IRS
    HuffPo and Time cover what looks to be an important and potentially precedent setting decision for any Cannabusiness.

    Diane Russell has some quality arguments up in Maine:

    But I agree with him {Gov. Hickenlooper} in this point, not because I don’t believe that revenue is an important part of the equation, but because I think the issue is much broader and there are far more reasons to support this {Cannabis Legalization}

    Lastly, unusual is not the adjective I would’ve used here:
    Former congressman’s unusual dealings with marijuana company detailed in lawsuit.
    Disgraceful or illegal would be more accurate I think.

  22. Howard says:

    Here’s a little more from the crazies in Annapolis;


    Dozens of sheriffs and police commanders descended on Annapolis to tell legislators to keep marijuana illegal. Wicomicao Co. Sheriff Mike Lewis told reporters: “I cannot imagine anyone in this room wanting to get into a vehicle with your loved one and go to the store or go to a restaurant knowing that marijuana was legalized here in the State of Md. There will be catastrophic effects that will affect everyone.”


    Uh, What?

    Somehow there’s a correlation between “getting into a vehicle with a loved one” and “going to a store or restaurant” and “knowing that marijuana was legalized here in the State of Md.” and “catastrophic effects that will effect everyone”.

    I just can’t figure out what it is.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Once you get to know their “reasoning” patterns it’s not that hard to figure out what they thought they were saying. In this case Sheriff is warning that impaired driving will be commonplace because there are so many people who have such a deep seated respect for the law that the law is the only reason that they refuse to choose to enjoy cannabis. Once State law is changed these people with such a deep seated respect for the law will promptly transmogrify into scofflaws and go out driving impaired thus causing carnage and mayhem on Merry Land’s high ways. I have yet to get an answer to the question of why these people with such a deep seated respect for the law only respect State law. As the prohibitionists like to point out changing State law doesn’t make Federal law go away.

      Oh, people outside the area should know that Ocean City MD is in Wicomico County. It’s a popular recreational destination during the summer and likely provides most of the County’s public revenue. Popular T-shirt on the boardwalk: “Ocean City MD! I went on vacation and left on probation.”

      I’ll betcha that underaged drinking, petty possession of cannabis, and DUIs during the summer months make up almost 100% of the arrests. Did you know they offer summer jobs as police officers there?

  23. War Vet says:

    Way to go Chief Poostrip. Now go find your mayor a box of grid squares so you can place them on a map to locate all the houses and abandoned buildings being used as cannabis shooting galleries. Take a taste of some of that green stuff under and in people’s noses: that’s powdered marijuana that pot heads snort up . . . the only way to tell it from other stuff is to taste it. Any bats you see flying are people who smoked pot before turning into one, so follow them to a major grow house. I know from a reliable source that Stacy Keach turned into a lizard after smoking a lot of weed.

  24. Howard says:

    A little OT. While it’s interesting to lambast the loons in Maryland, at least those folks have official hearings regarding marijuana prohibition. Here in Texas we don’t, in spite of this recent poll;


    “Most Texans would support the legalization of marijuana for medical use, and close to a majority would support legalization for any use, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

    Only 23 percent of Texas registered voters said marijuana should be illegal in all cases. Another 28 percent would legalize it for medical use only, and 49 percent would legalize marijuana for any purpose, either in small quantities (32 percent) or in any quantities (17 percent).”


  25. DdC says:

    So all of these cops descending on hearings to testify on health matters. How soon will it be before doctors and nurses start breaking up riots or protests and investigating bank robberies? Not a damn bit qualified to testify, why would anyone think lying is not part of the agenda to save their budgets? Definition of weak and cowardly preventing kids from seizure medication. I would question their loyalty to the Constitution and ability to carry or use firearms safely.

    I have never seen a situation so dismal
    that a policeman couldn’t make it worse.
    — Brendan Behan (1923-1964)

    Law Enforcement Rallies Against Marijuana Bills
    By Michael Dresser and Erin Cox
    CN Source: , The Baltimore Sun February 25, 2014

    Maryland — Prosecutors, police chiefs and sheriffs gathered Tuesday in Annapolis to push back against the growing movement to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana or to legalize recreational use of the drug altogether. At a news conference and at a Senate hearing, law enforcement leaders warned that loosening marijuana laws would undermine drug enforcement across the board. They said it would be premature to pass a bill following in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington state, which recently legalized pot, and opposed a separate measure that would treat possession as a minor civil offense. Read More…

    Annapolis Police Chief Apologizes for MJ Misspeak

    “The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents.

    Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy … and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with ‘scientific support’ … fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others.”
    ~ William F. Buckley, Jr. Requiescat In Pace
    Commentary in The National Review, April 29, 1983, p. 495

    Maryland Legislator Fights for Patients’ Right to Cultivate
    Posted by Kris Hermes February 25th, 2011
    Before introducing her amendment to HB 291, Delegate Glenn said:

    I’ve had two loved ones succumb to the ravages of cancer — my mother passed away in June and my brother-in-law passed away 6 years ago. Both of them got to the point where they couldn’t eat and their doctors wished they could recommend medical marijuana to stimulate their appetite. I also know what it’s like to live in poverty and to not be able to afford desperately needed medicine. People should not be denied access to medical marijuana because they cannot afford it or because they cannot travel to locations where it’s dispensed. Of course we should control it and regulate it, but we should not shut out people who need it.

    “We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that,”

    “I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance [a category of dangerous drugs] because of sound scientific proof.”

    “They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true,”
    ~ Sanjay Gupta

  26. primus says:

    It is totally obvious that Poostrip was way beyond his depth. The question is, what was he doing there in the first place? He is about the lowest rung on the ladder, yet he is giving input to the highest rungs, and not being careful of his facts while he is about it. Would the president of a bank ask the tellers how to run the bank? Of course not. He would ask them for limited information relative to how they perform their duties and that would be all. He would understand that the teller’s personal limitations as well as limited perspective would render said teller’s opinions meaningless. Notice also how gentle they were when they brought his ‘error’ to his attention. If it were in the bank and the teller lied to the president of the bank, said teller would be looking for a new position. They should have been hugely harsh, not gentle. This sort of kowtowing to the cops must end. They are not the bosses, they are merely hired help. For anyone thinking that the cop’s ‘error’ was not a lie, think of the Lincoln quote about how if you don’t know whether what you say is true but you say it anyway, you are as much of a liar as one who deliberately speaks the lie, and the accident of what you speak turning out to be the truth does not render you any less of a liar.

    • primus says:

      They say that the reason for rejecting smart applicants is that they get bored easily and leave the profession. That is such a load of tripe; the reason they leave the profession has to do with the brain dead idiots they must serve with and under and the bad policies they are required to implement. A smart cop who can think for himself is going to see through the BS a lot quicker than a dummy. It will be a lot easier to brainwash the dummy into following orders unquestioningly. Unfortunately this dumbing down of the police has also led to much lower rates of solving crimes. They just aren’t smart enough to solve it themselves, so unless someone tells them what happened, crimes go unsolved. Society is not being well served by this system.

    • DdC says:

      Wasn’t smart enough to get the job.

  27. allan says:

    OT… tonite on CNBC, Harrry Smith 1 hr, “Marijuana in America: Colorado Pot Rush”, at 10pm

    • Windy says:

      Watched it, not bad coverage at all, surprised me, I thought they’d try harder to put a negative spin on it.

      • kaptinemo says:

        I think you’ll find that the Lame-Stream Media will begin to take a more respectful tone towards reformers now. They sense the shift in the political wind, too. And it’s simply not smart to piss off well over half the population with the kind of petty, condescending rubbish that they usually would print.

        We’ve all seen it, some of us for decades. Rubbish like “Pothead’s hopes for legalization go up in smoke!”. Headlines meant to both denigrate the issue and be condescending towards those who advocate for it. All quite deliberate, or it wouldn’t happen day after day, month after month, year after year, for decades.

        Just as the ‘drug control’ organs like DEA and ONDCP put out a playbook of talking points (how many times has a primitive grow op been described as ‘sophisticated’?), it would seem that many newspaper editors had a ‘playbook’ of their own with regards to this issue.

        A playbook that’s become increasingly inappropriate (as if it ever were appropriate) and one that could cost the media corporations big time if they don’t wise up soon. Recall what happened when Mike Phelp’s sponsors tried to disown him and were themselves subjected to a boycott. I still won’t eat a Kellogg’s product because of that. Now multiply that by 150-200 million. That’s a lot of economic clout just waiting to be picked up and used as a club to bludgeon a corporation that refuses to admit the wind has changed and the worm has turned.

        Out time has come: we are the majority, now. And those media corporations that don’t get the memo will get the red ink when their subscribers begin to turn them off with the explanation that they refuse to be paying to have their morals impugned and their intelligence insulted because of their choice of intoxicant.

  28. Dave in IL says:

    “Let’s be clear, here. This is not a good faith mistake. This is not a slip of the tongue”

    The Chief isn’t just an idiot. He’s also engaging in wishful thinking. He was really, really hoping for some deaths so that the “nightmare” of liberalized marijuana could be swept away by public hysteria. And, like many in law enforcement, his thinking on the issue is clouded by concerns over job security.

    Thanks for staying on top of these miserable people, Pete.

  29. allan says:

    I’m guilty of being a human being. I tried really hard to present verified facts.”

    and you failed at both! Being a human being means being human, not a lying prick. As for trying really hard “to present verified facts” I’ll just have to call you either a liar or a 7th grade researcher:

    “Ooh look! An article!” doesn’t cut it chief Skidmark.

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