Police officers are among the last people typically expected to be in the camp supporting legalized cannabis. At every turn, police unions and departments consistently fight against progressive cannabis-freedom laws, using archaic and misinformed arguments to stoke needless fear. The same or worse go for federal drug agents, prison guard unions, prosecutors, and judges.
However, this guide for DC indicates that there are voices from the law enforcement sector that support cannabis freedom—loudly. Members of nonprofit groups such as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition are among those who wear the badge, serve our communities throughout the country, and bear personal witness to the wasteful futility and harms of our current drug policies. Why do they believe current laws must be replaced with pragmatic approaches to providing safe, legal access to cannabis?
Prohibition is far more harmful to society than cannabis
Due to the current illegal status of cannabis at the federal level, a majority of consumers in the United States are forced to obtain it through the black market. This criminal enterprise exists solely due to the prohibitive nature of federal and state cannabis laws. Telling people they can’t have something they want is a surefire way to ensure that they will try to get it by any means possible—while deeply resenting those who stand in their way.
Allowing criminal elements to control the production and distribution of cannabis is not only dangerous, immoral, and economically shortsighted; it also demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of, or interest in, our nation’s previous experiment with Prohibition. (It was horrifically disastrous if anyone needed a quick update.)
Much like our nation’s approach to alcohol in the 1920s, the prohibition of cannabis has led to a massive upswing in violence stemming from organized crime, especially in our neighboring country of Mexico. As long as the prohibition exists, organized crime will continue to have an unending revenue stream that allows the continuation of its violent, destructive business. Alternatively, cannabis legalization would drain away cash from Mexican cartels, money they use to buy guns, bribe police, and pay assassins.
Additionally, ending the prohibition on cannabis would lead to regulations preventing minors from accessing cannabis (drug dealers don’t check ID), a significant increase in tax revenue, and an imperative change in how we treat those who choose to consume cannabis recreationally and/or medicinally.