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Latest Drug War Tragedy Reemphasizes Need For Marijuana Legalization

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 17, 2010

    On Friday the government’s war on marijuana consumers claimed yet another victim.

    In Las Vegas, Nevada, metro police shot and killed a 21-year-old father-to-be while serving a search warrant for marijuana.

    Phil Smith at StoptheDrugWar.org has detailed coverage here.

    A 21-year-old father-to-be was killed last Friday night by a Las Vegas Police Department narcotics officer serving a search warrant for marijuana. Trevon Cole was shot once in the bathroom of his apartment after he made what police described as “a furtive movement.”

    Police have said Cole was not armed. Police said Monday they recovered an unspecified amount of marijuana and a set of digital scales. A person identifying herself as Cole’s fiancée, Sequoia Pearce, in the comments section in the article linked to above said no drugs were found.

    Pearce, who is nine months pregnant, shared the apartment with Cole and was present during the raid. “I was coming out, and they told me to get on the floor. I heard a gunshot and was trying to see what was happening and where they had shot him,” Pearce told KTNV-TV.

    According to police, they arrived at about 9 p.m. Friday evening at the Mirabella Apartments on East Bonanza Road, and detectives knocked and announced their presence. Receiving no response, detectives knocked the door down and entered the apartment. They found Pearce hiding in a bedroom closet and took her into custody. They then tried to enter a bathroom where Cole was hiding. He made “a furtive movement” toward a detective, who fired a single shot, killing Cole.

    … According to Pearce and family members, Cole had no criminal record, had achieved an Associate of Arts degree, and was working as an insurance adjustor while working on a political science degree at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He was not a drug dealer, Pearce said.

    “Trevon was a recreational smoker. He smoked weed, marijuana. That’s what he did,” she told KTNV-TV. “They didn’t have to kill him. We were supposed to get married next year, plan a black and white affair,” she said. “He was all I ever knew, we were gonna make it.”

    In May, NORML blogged about another sickening case — that one from Columbia, Missouri (you can watch the disturbing and graphic video here) — of ‘cops gone wild’ in the war on weed. But the similarities between the two cases go beyond narcotics officers breaking down the doors of private residences and discharging their weapons.

    In both instances, these tragic raids took place in regions of the country that have ‘decriminalized’ marijuana possession. That’s right. In Nevada, lawmakers in 2001 enacted statewide legislation defelonizing minor marijuana possession — making the offense a fine-only misdemeanor. (Separately, Nevada voters in 2000 decided to amend the state’s constitution to exempt medical users from arrest.) And in 2004, some 60 percent of Columbia, Missouri voters approved a local ordinance that sought to prohibit local cops from from arresting anyone for simple marijuana possession.

    Yet, as the above tragedies illustrate, neither of these ‘half-a-loaf’ changes in law (decriminalization and medicalization) ultimately corrects the core problem and that is this: Police and politicians still accept the premise that this level of deadly force is appropriate to keep people from using marijuana.

    That is why, while on the one hand NORML (obviously) supports cannabis medicalization and decriminalization efforts, we also recognize that these efforts fall woefully short for many Americans. After all, police in Las Vegas, Columbia, and elsewhere are not forcefully entering private homes and terrorizing families while executing search warrants for alcohol.  But they are engaging in such behavior in communities that have medicalized and/or decriminalized marijuana. And unfortunately, they will continue to do so.

    In short, the only way to fully protect all our citizens from these kinds of abhorrent events is through the legalization and regulation of marijuana for all adults.

    Decriminalization and medicalization are first steps — not the end game. Ultimately only legalization and regulation can bring a long overdue end to the brutal war on marijuana consumers.

    169 Responses to “Latest Drug War Tragedy Reemphasizes Need For Marijuana Legalization”

    1. Manford Mantis says:

      35 Tennessee Activist

      Long time no talk. I’m glad you’re still on the ball.

      Being a Navy Medic [FMF], I can pretty much bet that the only prescription [Rx] for the whole mess is that Cannabis be re-scheduled from a schedule I substance to a schedule III substance. This immediately makes cannabis a legal substance, and opens the door for research. Actually – THC is already legal [Merinol]. It’s the whole plant material that is illegal – except for those who are Qualified Patients. We need the feds to legalize the whole plant material [medically]. How do we get the orange juice without touching the orange? Keep up the good fight my friend!

    2. tim says:

      it comes down to this folks,the govt. has no knowledge or willingness to seperate federal driving enforcement from the legaization of pot.i dont think we will ever be able to correctly identify individuals who are under the influence wether at work or driving. mr.duponts comments were absurd. id be willing to bet he has financial investments with these companies that are marketing testing equipment that dont perform reliably.so mr. dupont who works for the govt has a conflict of interest.who is he to make law?sounds to me he would like to see us all locked up.man that old guard hiding behind their martinis are pissing me off.

    3. forrest says:

      To JAMA BAMA
      You ignorant fuck their job is not to MURDER THE INOCENT ( which we all are, untill Proven guilty) and the only reason it is illigal is coruption, I my self oun a set of scales to check my sourse from taking advantage of the whole situation.
      and it is about time we all stood up and say NO TO THE WAR ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE! IT IS WAY PAST TIME FOR THIS SHT TO STOP!
      Just like nancy said “JUST SAY NO”

    4. jack eich says:

      las vaegas,home of the murdering cops. gee thats a good advertisement for the city. we murder young families. good headlines!!

    5. jack eich says:

      cops are murdering goons who were bullies in grade school so they become cops to terrorise people with their guns. If it was one on one they would winper. but when only they got the guns they kill with impunity

    6. Mike D says:

      Write your rep. they will do anything to get re-elected. Let ‘em know. Do what WE want or get the fuck out of my government!

    7. Old blue man says:

      WELL NOW ITS SEEM TO ME THAT THIS COPS JUST DID SOME STREET JUSTE APLY TO THEM. KICK THEM IN THE HEAD

    8. Rocky Rococo says:

      Nation Upside Down!
      The cops are militarized and our military is World Police.
      A non-violent way to check police misbehavior is aggressive lawsuits,criminal charges(Federal if the State won’t) and BIG publicity by any means possible.
      Mainstream Corporatist Media,as in Advertising Hacks,won’t do it. So What? Anybody with half a brain hardly reads,listens to or watches their garbage anyway.
      I hope some Land Shark attorney tears a great big hole in LV’s reserve accounts;LUMP SUM, no “Structured Settlement” Bullshit.
      It’s not a total Police State,yet.

    9. Darrel says:

      THE WAR ON ICE CREAM- A few years ago,if you were caught eating ice cream your facing 3-5 years in a state pen. why? because it is addictive,it can leed to hard candy and that can cause obesity,bad knee’s,lazyness and diabeties. Now it is a fine up to $200.00 if your caught for a small amount,even some on your shirt.If your caught selling ice cream well your looking at hard time.A very good use of your tax dollars.

    10. Rebel with a Cause says:

      152 Tim

      DuPont is synthetics. Hemp would kick the shit out of him. Remember – he’s plastic.

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    13. bigpinner says:

      as a country we all need to rise up as one together and speak out against the government and do what we have to do make it legal the only reason that weed stays in your system longr than any other “drug” is because its naturaly accepted by your body and just increases chemicals in your brain that are already there. it stays in your system because your body is not trying to get it out and btw drugs are man made and if god gave water and god gave light and even the fuckin seed itself you know he is trying to tell us all some thing dont snort coke or shoot heroin or smoke crack its all mixed with chemicals but reefer no sir just a lil h20 c02 and 1000 watts of glory and you have (with genetics providing) some good smoke and good canna-foods if you go that route and hell when we harvest we can sell the stalks to govment so they can make paper/ money/ rope/glue/ ect a more natural and longer lasting less chemiclily enhanced products that in the next 10 years could have an adverse affect on what were dojng to the atmosphere and maybe just maybe our grand children will be free to grow a sea of green on our rolling hills and our purple mountains

    14. jackattack says:

      that was a hell of a post by BIGPINNER he is right that cannabis is accepted by our bodies because it is god given and has no negative effects. It is not a drug its an herb naturally occuring in gods plan. the reason its not legal is because it would wipe out man created drugs and can be grown by anyone with soil and light. drug companies dont want competition and have created marinol and other ineffective take offs to try to get the herb synthesized so that they can patent it and charge the fuck out of us. but when you can grow it they seethe with anger because they cannot capture the effects of herb. cops,lawyers,judges , prison guards love arresting and confiscating all that you own in the name of the war on citizens,oops I mean war on drugs.

    15. Don_M says:

      I don’t believe in God and so, of course, I don’t believe that this herb was part of God’s plan. I do believe that marijuana evolved, alongside man, for millions of years and that there is a kind of symbiotic relationship. We help provide a way for the plant to grow and carry on, and it in turn provides us with medicinal properties and makes us feel good!

    16. for me, a recreational user, marinol has only a sedated lung type of effect that i don’t like. it reminds me of the sleepy type of effect of indica.

    17. JACKATTACK says:

      legalized murder to prevent the use of a god given herb. cops are bullies and assasins!

    18. […] Photo: NORML Blog ???? By Jack Rikess Toke of the Town Northern California […]

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