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Law Enforcement Opposition to Marijuana Legalization Shows Criminal Justice Reform Isn’t Just For Minorities Anymore

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Article written by Richard Cowan, former NORML National Director and founder of CBD vs FDA.


Back in the bad old days when any marijuana reform, much less legalization, seemed like an impossible dream, the standard  “law enforcement” response was simply, “We don’t make the laws. We just enforce it, so if you don’t like it, change the laws.” Then guess who would show up at any hearing to oppose any change and to present “the latest scientific research “ that “proved” that it would be a disaster. Think of the children!!!


See: Abolish the Police? No, We Need for the “Drug Warriors” to Go Back to Being “Peace Officers”


The current controversy over law enforcement reform centers around the rights of minorities on the largely correct assumption that racial minorities have serious problems with unwarranted (a pun) police violence. Unfortunately, this narrow focus, which is understandable, has resulted in counterproductive sloganeering about abolishing or defunding the police, which actually harms their cause, and the very people that need help the most


As I have pointed out, the problems with law enforcement are much more systemic than just a few trigger happy (or knee happy?) dolts. The biggest problems with law enforcement aren’t what sporadically happens on the streets, but what is business as usual in the courts and legislatures.


See: Prosecutorial Misconduct: The Invisible Problem Behind The Police


So, the more things change…


The MarijuanaMoment.com reports “Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana submitted nearly 200,000 signatures last month, well beyond the 121,669 required to qualify (their initiative that would legalize medical  marijuana) for the ballot.” But a Nebraska sheriff has filed a lawsuit to block the initiative, which has the support of an overwhelming majority of Nebraskans.


Meanwhile in Arizona, law enforcement opposed the legalization initiative in 2016 which lost by less than 1%, even claiming that “pot legalization in Arizona will strengthen cartels, allowing them to infiltrate the legal pot market and driving them to sell more hard drugs.” And if you believe that…


However, this year the Arizona police are still opposed to it, but much quieter. As Forbes reports, “Bribing the cops is illegal, but not in politics. Without paying off the cops, California might not have legalized recreational cannabis.”


So this year in Arizona, Filtermag.org reports that “only 10 percent of cannabis tax revenues would go towards a “justice reinvestment fund” to help reverse the social harms of the War on Drugs, while more than triple that would go to police and firefighters.”


There’s a saying that “Freedom isn’t free”, but I don’t think that this insanity is what they had in mind. So if we don’t like the way the world works, let’s change it.