This past week saw the passage of nearly every drug law reform initiative on ballots across the country. Among the big ones, medical marijuana is now legal in Michigan. Possession of up to an ounce of marijuana has been decriminalized in Massachusetts and replaced with a $100 civil infraction. And Hawaii County, Hawaii residents made marijuana enforcement the lowest priority for the police. All three initiatives were landslides. In fact, the percentages of people voting for the initiatives in Michigan and Massachusetts were higher than the percentages who voted for Obama.
The result was clearly not from a lack of opposition. Drug Czar John Walters even traveled to Michigan in October to beg people not to vote for medical marijuana (which is probably a violation of The Hatch Act of 1939). In Massachusetts, law enforcement officials actively campaigned against the decriminalization measure. Now that the voters have loudly stood up for more sensible drug policy, law enforcement officials are throwing temper tantrums over it. Let’s break down five of the dumbest things said this past week by those who can’t figure out why voters are giving them the finger.
1. Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association representative Jim Carnell
“Few people, if any, who were arrested for simple possession were ever in any real jeopardy of a serious nature, provided they learned from past transgressions.”
The initiative in Massachusetts has law enforcement officials all twisted around. After complaining that the initiative was unnecessary because pot smokers never really had anything bad happen to them, they’re now complaining about how there’s no teeth to the marijuana laws any more. It’s been comical to watch them try to have it both ways.
The major reason why this initiative was needed was because people with an arrest for even minor marijuana possession will have a lifelong criminal record that makes it difficult for them to obtain housing and jobs, even if there wasn’t a conviction. In 2006, nearly 7,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession. Now, the vast majority of those people would only be written a $100 ticket (although there’s an interesting question as to whether police can ask for a person’s ID to be able to write that ticket).
2. Holyoke, MA Police Chief Anthony Scott
“It’s basically telling young people that it’s okay to possess an ounce or less of marijuana, after we have been spending millions of dollars trying to tell kids to say no to drugs, not to drink, and to quit smoking.”
This is totally ridiculous. Alcohol and cigaretters are legal for adults. Does that mean that we have to make alcohol and cigarettes illegal in order to tell kids that they shouldn’t drink or smoke? There’s nothing dangerous about treating marijuana the same way we treat alcohol or cigarettes. In fact, cigarette smoking among young people has been dropping. We didn’t have to make it illegal to accomplish that.
3. Six Michigan Law Enforcement Officials
“How do law enforcement officers respond to marijuana growing operations when the owners claim that they are “caregivers” who must cultivate marijuana for their customers?”
It’s very simple. You should find out if they’re telling the truth, and if they are, let them be.
It never ceases to amaze me that law enforcement officials think that when they bust a marijuana grow operation that they’ve somehow completely eradicated marijuana from their area. They actually believe that they’re some “front line” against marijuana, and that if they didn’t do what they do, all hell would be breaking loose. It’s just another example of the great adage that “a man will never understand something if his paycheck depends on him not understanding it.”
Whenever a grow operation is busted, another one that doesn’t get busted just gets richer. In the end, organized criminals end up controlling the entire trade and getting filthy rich. Not exactly a smart way to protect people in a community, but for reasons that continually amaze me, law enforcement officials will fight tooth and nail to keep doing it this way.
4. Hawaii County, HI Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna
“If you’re pro-drug, or pro-marijuana, you’re automatically pro-terrorist.”
What a moron. I don’t even know what to say.
5. The Drug Czar’s new ad campaign
“Hey, not trying to be your mom, but there aren’t many jobs out there for potheads.”
Actually, there a quite a few jobs out there for pot smokers. For one, President. The last time we had a President who’d never smoked pot before was 1992. There’s a video here with the many, many other people who smoke pot and have jobs, including scientists, businessmen, and entertainers. Personally, I know of doctors, lawyers, corporate executives, and people of all walks of life who enjoy smoking pot. The myths about this drug are dying. Hopefully, prohibitionists will figure this out and stop making asses of themselves.