Over the past several years, many states have campaigned to have cannabis legalized. In some states, this legalization has passed without issue. In other states, however, many voters are still fighting the change. Even many police offers are in favor of cannabis legalization. These five reasons police want cannabis legalized may help shape your opinion.
1. The Black Market is Dangerous
Cannabis itself doesn’t have nearly as many dangerous effects as many of the drugs currently available in the black market. When it’s purchased through legitimate sources, cannabis offers a safe experience that will keep its users from experiencing most of the worst side effects of traditional drugs. On the black market, however, cannabis can be mixed with a variety of other drugs–many of which aren’t disclosed to buyers before they use it.
2. The “War on Pot” Isn’t Helping the Public
Police officers have plenty of dangerous crimes to deal with on a daily basis. They deal with dangerous individuals every day–and cannabis users simply aren’t. Instead of devoting that time and money to removing cannabis from the streets, police offers prefer to focus their efforts on genuine crimes that have the potential to significantly impact other people. When their efforts are focused on catching people with a low-impact drug, officers aren’t able to spend the effort they need to on bigger crimes.
3. Communities Want Legalization
Many officers are devoted to their communities and the people who live in them. They want to have great relationships with the populations they serve. Going after individuals who choose to use marijuana, however, destroys those relationships and leads to a lack of trust. Every time an officer arrests someone for cannabis possession, they’re creating a negative interaction that has the potential to destroy their relationship with other members of that community. Not only that, officers who are clearly in favor of legalization of cannabis will be able to boost their relationships with those members of their communities.
4. Police Practices Deteriorate with Marijuana Arrests
In many cases, arrests for possession of cannabis, turning in drugs to the office, and other practices associated with marijuana arrests lead to illegal or unethical police practices. Many departments have discovered that the best way to increase marijuana arrests is to offer incentives. Unfortunately, those incentives also encourage officers to engage in unethical or illegal practices like informants who admit to lying, bringing in SWAT teams to take care of marijuana arrests, and even illegal searches. Many departments are pressured to make drug arrests, reducing the numbers of dealers and users on the streets–and as a result, officers find themselves going to extreme lengths to capture individuals who would not be engaging in illegal behavior, were cannabis legalized.
5. Cops Want Kids to Be Safe
Cracking down on marijuana use, unfortunately, has little impact on whether or not people are going to use marijuana. Legalizing it, however, would create better controls over who was able to purchase marijuana–not to mention instituting quality control that would prevent kids from getting their hands on marijuana laced with other materials. By legalizing cannabis, most states will add age restrictions that will make it increasingly difficult for kids to get their hands on it–and in the process, keep them safer.
Cannabis use has been hotly debated across many states over the past several years. Some states have chosen to legalize; others are still pushing against it. Many police officers, however, are falling down heavily on the side of legalization–and with good reason. In states where cannabis use has been legalized, police departments are able to use their resources for crimes that really matter. Not only that, legalization initiates higher levels of control over cannabis and keeps tainted marijuana from making its way onto the street–a vital step in keeping high school students safer.
This post was originally published on July 31, 2017, it was updated on October 4, 2017.