Calling Out the Cop Lobby

Next door in Minnesota a heated debate is brewing about legalizing medical marijuana. Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has said he’ll sign a medical marijuana bill, but only if the state’s top law enforcement officials will get behind it. But they won’t.

So second term State Rep. Carly Melin (D-Hibbing) is doing what someone should have done a long, long time ago. She’s wondering out loud what the true motives of law enforcement’s opposition to medical marijuana really are, and maybe even more importantly, wondering why law enforcement officials should have such a central role in a policy debate that ought to be left to public health officials, the medical community, and regular citizens.

Melin is claiming that during an attempt to negotiate a compromise bill with Minnesota’s top law enforcement associations Dennis Flaherty, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association,  ” explicitly told her that he was worried that legalization — in any form — could  lead to harmful reductions in the federal grants that are an important funding  source for many police agencies. ” Apparently another concern is that legalized marijuana will reduce the boost to budgets associated with seizing assets from marijuana busts.

Melin was careful to say that she thinks many in law enforcement have legitimate concerns about medical marijuana and public safety, but added that the uncompromising posture of Minnesota’s top cops makes it “ pretty obvious that something else is going on here.”

At the very least it seems to me that law enforcement agencies with a strong financial incentive to maintain the status quo, and for the most part without the proper background or education necessary to contribute thoughtfully to this debate, shouldn’t have the loudest voice in the room on  marijuana legalization/decriminalization, medical or otherwise.

So good on Carly Melin for having the courage to say out loud what needs to be said.

Bad on Mark Dayton for his deference to a cop lobby with a stance on this issue that ought to be, at the very least, suspect.

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5 thoughts on “Calling Out the Cop Lobby

  1. What’s left of progressive culture in this country seems to have accepted Mary Jane as a better social drug than alcohol. It’s obvious that the main opposition is among police officials. Even more so than so-called conservatives.

    It’s much easier and safer to catch amateurs growing and selling weed than going after opium, crack, and heroin dealers, that’s no doubt.

    But marijuana can be controlled by education as has smoking cigarettes, which is now much more additive than marijuana, has been. And there are benefits for some sick people to replace prescription drugs with marijuana which presents a problem for the medical and drug industry.

    I have never taken or smoked drugs, except cigarettes 40 years ago so I have no recommendation on this subject, except to say it’s usually not just the habit but the culture that has to be revamped. And the government and the police are now a big part of the drug culture.

    1. You have either intentionally or unknowingly ignored the racial aspects of legal prosecutions for minor drug (marijuana) possession in your comment.

      I could create six full time jobs at three times the proposed min wage, plus benefits, in WI, should cultivation be legalized and obomba actually have the balls to reschedule the substance in question.

      Back to the topic, cops can self-finance their operations and retirement accounts with real property confiscation in drug cases as is legal and as practiced today.

  2. Cat Kin,

    I should have noted in the post, but didn’t find out until afterward, that Carly Melin was endorsed in the 2012 election by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association. That makes her political courage that much more impressive.

    As for your recommendations on this subject you don’t need to have smoked pot to have an opinion. We spend over a billion dollars a year in this state on our corrections budget. Legalizing marijuana would relieve a huge, unnecessary strain on the public’s dime.

  3. All too often Government (law enforcement) forgets who works for who.
    “Law Enforcement” has a job to do, enforce laws, not dictate policy and ultimately laws.
    The opinions of Law Enforcement, ditch diggers, teachers or whomever are of equal weight.
    The sooner citizens and voters reinforce who works for who, the better off things will be.

  4. I hope enough Democrats in Wisconsin clamor for this ahead of fall elections, it becomes an election issue.

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