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Cannabis Does Not Kill. Unfortunately, Cannabis Prohibition Enforcement Can!

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director May 10, 2008

    The Tallahassee Police Have Much To Answer For Regarding The Murder Of Rachael Hoffman

    For the last few days I’ve receive email from the Tallahassee area from NORML supporters claiming to either know or be friends with Rachael Hoffman, that she was busted a few weeks ago and accused by police for selling a small amount of cannabis and possessing MDMA was squeezed by local police to become a snitch, and that, disturbingly to them all, she had been missing for a few days. They were genuinely in fear of her life.

    In the last 48 hours, police arrested two suspects in Rachael’s disappearance, and early yesterday she was confirmed murdered.

    Today, as the general public around Tallahassee and Florida learn more about how the police used this young woman for controlled drug buys, the public comments found online and on local radio talk shows demonstrate terrific outrage directed towards the police.

    Thankfully.

    I spoke with Rachael’s mother Margie Weifs late yesterday afternoon. Talk about a difficult conversation. What do you say to a mother who has just found out that her only daughter is dead? A beautiful daughter dead not at the hands of cannabis, but the police agency that chose to bust her for pot (or, as Tallahassee law enforcement are calling pot in this case, narcotics), wire her and send her towards men who were reportedly buying and selling hard drugs, actual narcotics, to ensnare them for future arrest and prosecution?

    To say that Rachael’s mom is not confused, angry and wanting answers to this terrible tragedy in Tallahassee would be a woeful understatement. After the answers, she tells me she wants justice in this case.

    Watch the video of Tallahassee’s Chief of Police here trying to explain why getting murdered was Rachael’s fault, not the police’s. Further, watch here the Police Department’s Public Information Officer get grilled by Florida media about police procedures.

    Did the police follow proper procedure in using Rachael for controlled buys? See the Tallahassee Police’s ‘rules and procedures’ for using snitches here and here.

    There is an outpouring in Tallahassee from Rachael’s friends and family to try to heal, and then to organize against both the recruitment of young girls by police to be wired confidential informants and the general prohibition of cannabis.

    In Margie’s view, her daughter would be alive today, going into a Mother’s Day weekend, but for a country that does not tax and control cannabis.

    Ms. Hoffman is hardly the first young person induced by police to set up other possible illicit drug users who has been killed because they’d hoped their cooperation with police was going to lead to some modicum of deferential treatment from the prosecutor’s office.

    PBS’ Frontline examined the disturbing and increased use of confidential informants by federal and local law enforcement in the award-winning SNITCH. But, unfortunately from my biased viewpoint, few in the mainstream media have cast light on police tactics in their daily and futile efforts to enforce prohibition laws (an exception here is the reporting of Reason Foundation fellow and Cato Institute researcher Radley Balko).

    Health and Self-Preservation Tip: If law enforcement ever approach you (or a loved one) regarding a cannabis-related offense, and then seek to recruit you to became a confidential informant or a snitch, ‘just say no’ as your life (or that of a loved one) may be in danger.

    32 Responses to “Cannabis Does Not Kill. Unfortunately, Cannabis Prohibition Enforcement Can!”

    1. […] My Telegraph wrote an interesting post today on Cannabis Does Not Kill. Unfortunately, Cannabis Prohibition…Here’s a quick excerpt…view, her daughter would be alive today, going into a Mother’s Day weekend, but for a country that does not tax and control cannabis. […]

    2. John Mahan says:

      justice will come when cannabis is legal an allowed for people with medi cards to posses it here in the state of FL ps. nice blackmail coks

      13

    3. natureboy says:

      Cops are the worst criminals on the streets.

    4. As a native Floridian who has witnessed innumerable instances of local police misconduct and abuse of authoritative power, I extend my full and sincere sympathy to Rachael’s family and friends from a perspective approaching empathetic. The authorities in this case should be ashamed of their role in this young woman’s death; though ashamed not, they will certainly face scrutiny from the public regarding the prominence of marijuana search, seizure, persecution, and redemption policies within our democratic state–a state plagued by more prominent conspirators than drug-users–a state distracted by predators like hurricanes, electoral fraud, immigration ethics, and now…a state shirking from its responsibility in Rachael’s murder. I’m ashamed to be a Floridian.

    5. sleepysaint says:

      This is terrible. Police who recruit informants are bribing these “criminals” to go do the dirty work, the stuff that the ARMED police officers are too scared to do. And it breeds hate and mistrust in what would otherwise be a peaceful, unified culture. This saddens me greatly.

    6. Laura G says:

      If you live near Tallahassee and would like to show your support for Rachel and her friends and family, and for an end to tragic policies like the ones used in this case, here are two websites to visit (on facebook):
      http://fsu.facebook.com/group.php?gid=42256525219&ref=nf
      this one includes a beautiful video tribute that made me so sad that i never got to meet her.
      and here’s a link to the protest site:
      http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=13287531543&ref=mf

    7. Lowell says:

      Law enforcements use of informants in the drug war is a tragedy that can only get worse. In Oregon law enforcement used an informant who was mentally ill and had a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Soon after becoming an agent for the South Coast Interagency Narcotics Team she became a school bus driver. For more information on this sting operation go to http://scint-stinks.com

    8. oneconcernedcitizen says:

      This is truly tragic. When will the govt ever stop hunting down citizens in a war on drugs that has already been lost. How long have they had to clean up drugs? since Regan. Guess what, Drugs are still everywhere. Harsh sentences only increase profits, attract more dealers and allows dealers to afford weapons similar to the one that killed Rachel. These cops should get criminal negligence charges. If I, intentionally or not, kill somebody, I get locked up. I guarantee these police were real cocky with her threatening her with jail time……I hope they rot in a jail cell.
      Govt: Stop hunting your citizens. That’s what the terrorists are for.

    9. […] Hoffman RIP Rachael Hoffman, drug war victim DWR Saturday, May 10, 2008 Cannabis Does Not Kill. Unfortunately, Cannabis Prohibition Enforcement Can! Allan St. Pierre at NORML Blog Rachael is another kind of drug war victim. Facing drug charges, […]

    10. […] I know this is kind of old news, but this story needs to continue to be circulated. And that is the story of Rachel Hoffman. […]

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