Why support decriminalization in the first place?
A large number of reasons remain to end marijuana prohibition and support the decriminalization of cannabis. Jeffrey A. Miron and Jeffrey Zwiebel wrote an article discussing the economic case to end prohibition. They stated, “the market in illegal drugs promotes crime, destroys inner cities, spreads AIDS, corrupts law enforcement officials and politicians, produces and exacerbates poverty and erodes the moral fabric of society.” When looking at economics, these dated laws keep the cost of drugs much higher than necessary. For example, when alcohol prohibition occurred the cost was about three times more compared to the legal sale of alcohol. Furthermore, marijuana prohibition leads to an increase in violence, cartelization, profits, accidental poisonings and overdoses, property crime, and much more.
Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP)
Sadly, every minute an arrest happens for marijuana in the United States. An article titled, ‘Now I Can See All the Harm I’ve Done’ introduced three retired cops who hold an enlightened stance on the war on drugs. Neill Franklin, Neil Woods, and Leszek Wieczorek are prior undercover cops. They are members of Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP). LEAP’s views on drug prohibition include some insightful points:
- LEAP believes drug abuse is a public health concern. Drug abuse is not a problem for law enforcement to fix.
- They do not condone the use of drugs. Although this is the case, they believe both violence and drug abuse thrive together.
- The focus should exist around regulation, age, and drug sales to keep the public safe.
- We must create policies around personal freedom and responsibility.
- As we near the end of prohibition, LEAP believes in the release of drug criminals, clearing of records, and giving back personal rights. In an effort to create change, former president Obama freed sixty-one drug offenders.
- Lastly, those struggling with addiction should get the support they need. LEAP explained these services can be provided at a minimal cost compared to the cost of drug prohibition.
What do the STATS say?
The PewResearchCenter shares social and demographic trends. They explained, “As more jurisdictions move to decriminalize or legalize the private use of marijuana by adults, large majorities of the police and the public favor easing restrictions on the drug.” The stats they found explain, nearly seven out of ten officers support medicinal marijuana use (37%). Furthermore, 32% believe in complete legalization. Typically, younger officers favor the legalization of cannabis compared to older generations.
All things considered, these are some promising facts. We can see the rise in cops supporting the decriminalization of cannabis. Furthermore, marijuana arrests are the lowest in twenty years. Therefore, law enforcement currently holds more open-minded views compared to more dated stances.
On policeone.com law enforcement officers spoke out on the legalization of marijuana. This forum discussed police officers support and opposition for the decriminalization of cannabis. Policeone.com conducts surveys and polls to evaluate where cops stand on certain issues.
One survey asked, “Should pot be legal?” To their surprise, forty-four percent said yes! This may not seem like numbers us consumers want to see. Although this is the case, this survey demonstrated a growth in support of decriminalization compared to a survey provided a few years ago.
What are police officers saying?
Surveys, polls, and personal report do not always show a true number. For instance, some officers are fired for sharing their opinion on decriminalization! Consumers of cannabis may have hesitancy in sharing their views. Imagine if you were a police officer?
Policeone.com received emails of those in support of decriminalization. Here are a few:
“I think the first thing with which we all must come to grips is the fact that drug use can never, will never be done away with. Humans have been intoxicating themselves (as have some lower orders of animals) throughout history. We will never “arrest” our way out of this. The drug problem is a health and education issue, no less so than alcohol and tobacco. We’ve been fighting the “War on Drugs” for more than 40 years. It has cost a trillion dollars and thousands of terminated and/or ruined lives with nothing to show for it but more drugs, cheaper drugs, higher quality drugs, more corruption and infinitely more violence. We need to legalize, regulate and strictly control all drugs. Continuing on our present course is insanity.”
“As an officer, I would rather deal with someone that has smoked pot, than someone who is drunk. I have never dealt with a violent pot smoker. Usually, they are mild-mannered compared.”
If you want to see more officers opinions in support of decriminalization check out some of the forums on Reddit.