If Cops Really Oppose Sending Minor Pot Offenders To Jail, Then Why Do They Vehemently Oppose Efforts To Keep Us Free?

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 19, 2008

    Voters in Massachusetts will decide this November on Question 2, which seeks to replace criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana with a civil fine of no more than $100. Polls show that nearly three-out-of-four voters back the measure.

    Who opposes it?

    That’s an easy one. Who else?

    Officials unite to fight marijuana initiative
    via The Boston Globe

    Law enforcement officials statewide are uniting against a referendum question they fear will increase marijuana use among teenagers and generate more crime across the state.

    The state’s 11 district attorneys are unanimously opposing Question 2 and are being joined by police chiefs and some community groups, fearing it will undo years of effort to reduce drug use among teenagers.

    … “Nobody goes to jail today for simple possession of marijuana,” said Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, who is listed as the treasurer for the opponents, who are using the name Coalition for Safe Streets during the campaign.

    Hmmm, where have I heard this before? Oh yeah.

    The irony and the idiocy
    via the NORML blog

    Just days before the FBI released statistics indicating that police in 2007 arrested over 872,000 Americans — the most ever reported in law enforcement history — for violating pot laws, reigning Drug Czar (and pathological liar) John Walters alleged on C-Span, “We didn’t arrest 800,000 marijuana users. … That’s [a] lie.”

    (Watch the video of Walters’ remarks here.)

    The Czar’s nose grew another six inches when he uncorked this whopper: “The fact is today, people don’t go to jail for the possession of marijuana. Finding somebody in jail or prison for possession of marijuana is like finding a unicorn. It doesn’t exist.”

    (The video can be seen here.)

    Pardon me if I’m confused. On the one hand, you have law enforcement claiming that nobody goes to jail for pot possession. On the other hand, you have law enforcement actively opposing any and all efforts to reform America’s marijuana laws so that, in fact, nobody would actually go to jail for pot possession.

    Question: Why do cops vehemently oppose measures that seek to comport the law in line with what they claim is already standard prosecutorial practice?

    Is the answer:

    a) The cops are full of it; people go to jail for violating marijuana laws all the time.

    b) If cops stopped arresting minor pot offenders they wouldn’t know what else to do with their time.

    or c) Most cops really believe marijuana consumers are “dirt bags” and “losers” who belong in jail.

    Answer: Take your pick!

    62 responses to “If Cops Really Oppose Sending Minor Pot Offenders To Jail, Then Why Do They Vehemently Oppose Efforts To Keep Us Free?”

    1. Watch Zeitgeist The Movie says:

      No cops appose decriminalization primarily for two reasons.
      1. They are fascist as such having someone abuse is central the their political survival.
      2. They make a lot of money off destroying the lives of pot smokers as most arrest are for weed legalization cuts directly into their bank accounts.

      Here’s one to chew on for my #2 have you ever noticed how sometimes every cop see has someone pulled over on a traffic violation. It happens about 4 times a year, right at the end of financial physical quarters.
      The reason for this amazing coincidence is their accountants tell them how short they are on the budget and they go out and ticket their way back to black. So yes you weren’t pulled over for speeding and you don’t get arrested for smoking pot, to put it in the words of the cop who arrested me “It’s just business”

    2. L Harris says:

      No… none sit in jail, they just parade in and out the court house doors. Taking up time and spending tax payers money on court costs, and time that could be spent elsewhere. However, I firmly am against any change in making marijuana legal. It serves no positive effect on the body. The long term addiction costs those in other areas, not only the purchasing of the drug, but with that, deciding on buying their pot for the week, or being able to maintain their responsibilities of paying bills, and being a good role model to others, ex. children. I’ll spew this till the end of time. It’s a very addictive drug, just like painkillers, booze, and other illegal drugs. Anyone that thinks otherwise is living in a glass bubble. I have seen countless negativity this drug causes, and watching children grow up in an environment where they see smoking pot is cool or its just OK to do is BULL. Cigarettes are dangerous, marijuana is even more dangerous. The harm done to ones body is just not worth the habit. But I guess since I live by the laws of the land, and I have never smoked, then I am the one that is ‘strange’ So be it. After the addiction has attacked your brain cells than anything I say or anyone else says I suppose is just wasted breath. Case closed…………….

    3. bob searcy says:

      law-enforcement has greatly prospered from the drug-war. they have every kind of toy imaginable. what disgusts me is when our schools are underfunded as is our whole country, well always see some squareheaded sap throw a match onto a million dollars worth of domestic pot and think the whole time that hes doing something great.. sad legal domestic weed would stop the hemmorage of billions in untaxed money leaving this country each year.

    4. Mathew (PA) says:

      Do not feel obligated to read, but feel obligated to write a letter yourself. We all need to contact our officials and this is a great time to do this. So Write them and before you know it Marijuana will be brought up more and more in the media. That is a good thing for us! This is one I mailed today to let Barrack know their are good people who smoke pot.

      Mr. Barrack Obama,

      I would like to tell you a little about myself. I will be 30 years old this year and a Health Club Manager for the last 5 of those years.
      I am a well respected,responsible,well liked citizen in my community. I am a firm believer in treating others how you would like to be treated and feel I am a good citizen to this country and my community.
      I have many hobbies including, but not limited to, Hunting, Fishing, Camping, and spending time with my family.
      I tell you this because I, like many Americans am a responsible, recreational Marijuana Smoker and feel it is absurd that a destructive substance such as alcohol is legal but if I smoke a joint on my porch I am considered to be a criminal by law! Alcohol is by far more damanging both mentally and physically. Anyone who has tried them would agree! It makes no sense and our laws need changed. Marijuana Decriminilization needs to happen. This will be my first year voting because I honestly beleive that you want to restructure our goverment which it does need from head to toes. Please help our Goverment to regulate this natural resource and stop spending Millions of Dollars on prosecuting Responsible Marijuana Smokers.

      Marijuana is beneficial in many ways and many settings.

      I prefer to not give my full name or address due to fear of fines, imprisonment, and losing my job.

      Thanks You for your time, Obama.
      Mathew (PA)

    5. Josh Blake says:

      L Harris, you need to do more research on this topic. Painkillers and booze are legal in the U.S. and people do sit in jail for possesion of marijuana, i am one of them. I served 25 days for possession of marijuana, and the funny thing is i got busted with a pipe, not marijuana. They tested the resin and found me in possession. Furthermore cigarettes are far more dangerous than weed. There is huge number of reported deaths each year as direct result of cigarette smoking and there are zero reports of marijuana caused death. This is common knowledge in our country which you appear to either be misinformed or naive. Whatever, the case is, marijuana laws have proven to be ineffective! Over 80 million Americans admit to have at least tried marijuana. If you honestly believe pot smokers belong in jail, you then believe that prison walls should be built around nearly every city in America! In every society through history, people have had the right to use, misuse, and abuse addictive substances. I am all for prosicuting anyone who drives a car or breaks any other law while on drugs. However, there are many responsible adults who use marijuana for many reasons including treating terminal illness without causing any threat to anyone except their individual health. In which case, until my health care is payed for instead of earned through my job, mind your own business!

    6. i have to say harris, I like how you back up your accusations with research. The fact is that there is NO damage to the body, at least none, by comparison of that of alcohol or tobacco. So what you wanna make them illegal too? Just because that Chilly Dog is bad for you, you want to make that illegal as well? Ok, so it does have some degree of mental addiction. However, that is what it is limited to. There are no physical withdraw effects. At least, none as in comparison to alcohol and or tobacco. Anyone, with real common sense knows the government is wrong and that keeping it illegal does more harm than good. So go ahead and arrest thousands of otherwise, perfectly law abiding citizens for having a little bit of pot. Go ahead, and keep the drug dealers on the street, making it easier for kids and teens to get ahold of. Go ahead and keep funding the drug cartelz because the governement has their head stuck up their ass.

    7. Ray says:

      The the Gov’t is wasting OUR money trying to destroy the largest cash crop in the U.S. instead of profiting.
      And they wonder why the economy is the way it is.

      The most useful plant in the world and they want to destroy it.

    8. Mikmo6 says:

      Say who invited the drug czar in here?

    9. Mikmo6 says:

      Putting people in jail for “ruining” their own health is what’s “bullshit” dude. Duh!!

    10. Z. N. Zimmerman says:

      L Harris, the idea that conflict between a person buying weed and a person paying their bills does not justify wasting my tax dollars is rediculous. This logic could be applied to any product. Should we arrest people for buying a fancy cars or expensive meals because they might not be able to pay their bills? Yes, people should pay their bills, but that’s no excuse for personal use of weed by adults. You claim “none sit in jail, they just parade in and out the court house doors.” They don’t parade in and out the court house doors… what’s going on is they our clogging our judicial system as they are prosecuted into jail. Even if they convicted yet spared jail time, they still lose financial aid to go to college. Rapists don’t lose financial aid. Yet pot smokers!? How is denying them an education suppose to help the problem. I suppose denying them an education and making it hard to land a minimum wage job is suppose to deter them from the fiscal rewards of a lucrative black market. The government’s job is not to make people good role models. If there is parental neglect, drunk/drugged driving, giving drugs to minors, then yes, it is the responsibility for the government to step in. But arresting an adult soley on the merit of consuming pot? It only compounds the problem by treating a health issue as a criminal one. The government tried something like this once, it was the 19th amendment… you know, to that thing we call the “Constitution,” Mr. “Law of the Land.” Unlike alcohol prohibition, (which included exemption for religious and medical use, i.e. catholics, doctors etc.) our current drug prohibition is not supported by a constitutional amendment. The federal government does not have the constitutional authority, though they claim the interstate commerce clause allows it–even if the commerce does not take place beyond state lines. Oh, and alcohol prohibition didn’t solve America’s drinking problems. It only made drinking more cool. Back when i was in high school, I remember drinking was cool–though never my thing. But as soon as everyone turns 21 it loses it’s appeal. A global study by the World Health Organization found that tuff drug laws do not correlate with less drug use (esp. where youth are concerned.) In states with medical marijuana laws, teen pot use is down. Why? Because it’s not as cool and rebelious when your smoking what grandma’s and sick people are smoking/eating/vaporizing. I don’t think you’re “strange” for having never smoked pot Mr. Harris. I don’t smoke pot. Why? Because College books and tuition are expensive. I pay my bills. I don’t think the country needs to imbrace pot. I don’t think they have to accept it as morally right. If you want to believe that smoking pot is some great sin then go right ahead (although last time I checked, the Bible says God made all the plants and saw that they were good–no where does it say, Satan made “those over there.”) The only thing the drug war does is provides a huge market for criminal organizations to tap into. After the 21st amendment (repealing alcohol prohibition), violence and crime went down. Where do you think gangs get the money to buy the guns and bullets? Mostly from drugs. Yes there will always be robberies, home invasions, extortion, etc. But that’s no excuse to give them their biggest payday of all. But chances are good I’m wasting my breath… I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if you were John Walters, at home, spewing because if drug laws are reformed, you’ll lose a substantial part of your budget… Either way, keeping pot illegal is why kids thing it’s “COOL.” In the Netherlands, they have less minors per capita who use pot compared to the U.S.A. When I was in high school, everyone knew where to get drugs. It was easier to get than alcohol or tobacco. Businesses don’t have a fiscal incentive to sell to minors. Those tobacco and alcohol licenses cost a small fortune, and the average kid isn’t going to give them hundreds of dollars for some cigarettes. Not when he could just call up his local dealer, get whatever he wants in whatever flavor, delivered right to his house, and no picture I.D. needed. And by the way, cannabinoids don’t “attack your brain cells.” Studies have found cannabinoids to be very powerful anti-oxidants and neuroprotectants–even protecting from ethyl alcohol induced brain damage (though it should be mentioned, that mixing alcohol and weed probably should not be promoted… especially when driving because the impairment is greater than the sum of the two individually.) Yes, we need to arrest people who are driving impaired (in a true sense of the word). No, we should not allow adults to give drugs to minors. No, we should not promote weed or drugs as “COOL” and “OK”. Yes, we should educate children and the general public about the actual dangers of drugs (not perpetuated lies). But NO, we should not waste billions upon billions of dollars on a failed drug war. The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. You cannot change the rules of supply and demand. It’s economics 101. If the government really wants to keep drugs out of the hands of children, and actually regulate the sale of intoxicants, then we need to stop pouring money into the hands of criminals. Or the very least, stop wasting time arresting people for simple possesion. If it was “Cased closed” then the drug war wouldn’t still be going on. And cigarettes are much worse for you than weed. Not only is there actual and credible studies linking cigarettes to mental disorders, lung cancer, and a whole host of other health issues, tobacco is by and large grown with cheap fertilizer that produces radioactive biproducts retained by the plant. Smoking these radioactive biproducts is very very very unhealthy. And nicotine constricts the lung muscles, keeping all the carcinogens, tars and crud in your lungs–pot has the opposite effect. Eating unhealthy food is not good for you. One could argue that the harm of fatty foods isn’t woth the habit. More people die from obesity than from any drugs (legal or not). Should we start arresting morbidly obese people? Should we raid their homes for high fructose corn syrup? Yes, people should live healthy, but the role of the government is not to send the right message, promote moral ideas, or hold my hand while I cross the street. Their job is to protect me from other people encroaching upon my natural rights–life, liberty and the… well I guess all we really have left now is life. Oh wait no, we have liberty! We’re a great democracy! In a dictatorship you only get to pick one leader… in America you get to choose from two! If you think America rebelled against the English Empire because they wanted for all of us what we have today, well then I think you’re wrong. Being that the founding fathers are dead I’m not going to tell what they would have said. But maybe you should take a lood at the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (which was written on hemp). The federal government keeps getting bigger and bigger, and we are living less and less in the United States of America, and more and more in a Republic of Washington. The Constitution, the true Law of the Land, does not give the federal government these powers you so believe in. Health, and education are state rights. The No Child Left Behind act is unconstitutional, as is the Controlled Substance Act. The powers not specified in the constitution goes to the States. This idea that federal law trumps that of the States is absurd. A state and/or local prohibition would at least be a tad bit constitutional. Even today, there are dry counties where alcohol is not sold. If pot was legalized federally, there would still be counties and places where people like you can go out and live free of the burden that someone living nearby might be relaxing after a long day at work with a joint or brownie. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were whole states that kept there state drug laws on the books. Which is fine. I don’t think anyone has to agree with pot in the least bit. It is your national right to be vehemently against pot. But the federal government has no right forcing a drug war upon us all and leaving most of the work to state governments to try to clean up this horrible mess. We never won alcohol prohibition, and considering this drug war is now globalized and much much more lucrative, there is no way that the government will ever stop drug consumption. Just like alcohol prohibition, drug prohibition produces diminishing returns.

      Oh and to the poster “Watch Zeitgeist The Movie”: for a movie all about “the truth,” it is very deceptive and misrepresentative of facts. It’s almost as bad as “Loose Change”. But hey, at least you’re not supporting the wasteful spending of my tax money for a drug war that creates even more problems for even more of my tax dollar to be spent on.

      And in general, I am a bit dissapointed that this article didn’t mention the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (L.E.A.P.). Although, to NORML’s credit, I have seen L.E.A.P. mentioned many times. Although it’s certainly understandable considering all the law enforcement groups that benefit and activly envolve themselves in keeping the drug war alive. But still, a choice “d) some law enforcement actually agree that marijuana should be legalized” would have been nice.

      Thank you NORML for keeping us all up to date with all this. My collegiate studies leave me little free time, and while I have neither the time nor money to spend on pot (and losing financial aid would suck), NORML is my homepage.