Police keeping the country safe from marijuana

May 13, 2010 | By | 1 Reply More

The police recently raided this house in Columbia, Missouri. A large group of police officers with nothing better to do stormed into action, kicking down the door to protect the community from a guy who likes to smoke a bit of dope. The most poignant thing we learn is that this evil marijuana-user loved his dog, a point he passionately made after he learned that the storm-trooper cops shot it, and all for what?

And keep in mind that this is how the drug police act when they know that there is a video camera running. Make no mistake that these cops were on their best behavior — this was a sanitized version of a raid.

As I’ve argued many times, it’s time to put an end to our pointless and violent “war on drugs.” There are many better ways to deal with the urge of some adults to get high using substances other than prescription drugs and alcohol. It’s time to just say no to the “war on drugs.”

I’m fully aware that we need brave police to protect us from violence and to solve crimes that have hurt people. I admire those brave police officers. We need sophisticated law enforcement to storm the ledger books of Wall Street Banks, and we don’t have nearly enough of them. But this kind of “police protection” is pointless. It doesn’t stop drug use–it only makes drug use violent. This use of police is as pointless as the practice of having traffic cops park behind bushes and waiting to nab people going 38 in a 35. This post is not pro-police or anti-police. It is anti-this type of activity by police.


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Category: Drug laws, law and order

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Brynn Jacobs says:

    Indeed, MSNBC had a story yesterday titled "U.S. drug war has met none of its goals." Here are some of the highlights:

    Even as Obama promises to treat the drug war as a public health issue, focused on treatment and prevention, he continues to increase funding for the types of interdiction efforts that was profiled in your post.

    Nevertheless, his administration has increased spending on interdiction and law enforcement to record levels both in dollars and in percentage terms; this year, they account for $10 billion of his $15.5 billion drug-control budget.

    The current drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, admits that the drug was has been a failed policy.

    "In the grand scheme, it has not been successful," Kerlikowske told The Associated Press. "Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified."

    You can hear the refusal to accept reality due to the sunk costs from the former drug czar, John P. Walters:

    "To say that all the things that have been done in the war on drugs haven't made any difference is ridiculous," Walters said. "It destroys everything we've done. It's saying all the people involved in law enforcement, treatment and prevention have been wasting their time. It's saying all these people's work is misguided."

    Why can't we admit that the work these people have done is, in fact, misguided. Well-intentioned, probably, but misguided nonetheless. These people <span style="font-weight: bold;">have</span> been wasting their time. We have spent billions of dollars (trillions?), for nothing. Why can't we admit that? It's not too late to make a change, we don't have to keep throwing good money after bad. Listen to the staggering costs associated with the drug war, for literally no gain:

    <li class="textBodyBlack">$20 billion to fight the drug gangs in their home countries. In Colombia, for example, the United States spent more than $6 billion, while coca cultivation increased and trafficking moved to Mexico — and the violence along with it.<li class="textBodyBlack">$33 billion in marketing "Just Say No"-style messages to America's youth and other prevention programs. High school students report the same rates of illegal drug use as they did in 1970, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drug overdoses have "risen steadily" since the early 1970s to more than 20,000 last year.<li class="textBodyBlack">$49 billion for law enforcement along America's borders to cut off the flow of illegal drugs. This year, 25 million Americans will snort, swallow, inject and smoke illicit drugs, about 10 million more than in 1970, with the bulk of those drugs imported from Mexico.<li class="textBodyBlack">$121 billion to arrest more than 37 million nonviolent drug offenders, about 10 million of them for possession of marijuana. Studies show that jail time tends to increase drug abuse.<li class="textBodyBlack">$450 billion to lock those people up in federal prisons alone. Last year, half of all federal prisoners in the U.S. were serving sentences for drug offenses.And the MSNBC article concludes with the following:

    So why persist with costly programs that don't work?<p class="textBodyBlack"><span id="byLine"></span>Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, sitting down with the AP at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, paused for a moment at the question.<p class="textBodyBlack"><span id="byLine"></span>"Look," she says, starting slowly. "This is something that is worth fighting for because drug addiction is about fighting for somebody's life, a young child's life, a teenager's life, their ability to be a successful and productive adult.<p class="textBodyBlack"><span id="byLine"></span>"If you think about it in those terms, that they are fighting for lives — and in Mexico they are literally fighting for lives as well from the violence standpoint — you realize the stakes are too high to let go."

    <p class="textBodyBlack"><p class="textBodyBlack">Granted, Ms. Napolitano. But why do we have to follow this same, failed strategy? If we truly wanted to help people fighting for their lives, perhaps we should put our money where our mouth is when it comes to treatment and prevention, rather than interdiction and prison.

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