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Holder, Cops Clash on DOJ’s Decision to Ease Pot Enforcement

The decision to ease enforcement, law enforcement groups said, “ignores the connections between marijuana use and violent crime."

by
Bill Straub

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November 2, 2013 - 12:29 am
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WASHINGTON – The nation’s law enforcement establishment isn’t pleased with the Obama administration decision to ease the enforcement of federal drug laws in states that have legalized the use of marijuana.

Speaking before he introduced Attorney General Eric Holder at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in Philadelphia last week, organization president Craig Steckler said he was “disappointed” the Justice Department decided not to challenge laws in Washington and Colorado that permit personal use of cannabis for those over the age of 21.

Law enforcement, Steckler cautioned, may have “entered a slippery slope.”

“We think we’ve opened the floodgates to people who want to fully legalize all drugs,” said Steckler, the retired chief of the Fremont, Calif., police department. The remark drew a loud round of applause.

Holder didn’t directly address Steckler’s comments in his remark, saying only, “We may need marriage counseling.”

The Justice Department’s decision to honor – at least to some extent – state legalization laws has drawn strong objections since the policy was announced in late August. Various organizations ranging from the National Sheriffs Association to the National Narcotic Officers Associations’ Coalition have expressed displeasure with the decision.

In reaction, the leaders of six law enforcement organizations signed a letter addressed to Holder expressing opposition to the administration’s course of action. The decision to ease enforcement, they said, “ignores the connections between marijuana use and violent crime, the potential trafficking problems that could be created across state and local boundaries as a result of legalization and the potential economic and social costs that could be incurred.”

“Communities have been crippled by drug abuse and addiction, stifling economic productivity,” the group said. “Specifically, marijuana’s harmful effects can include episodes of depression, suicidal thoughts, attention deficit issues and marijuana has also been documented as a gateway to other drugs of abuse.”

The letter was endorsed by the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association and the National Narcotic Associations’ Coalition. The group also complained that the Justice Department failed to consult with them before issuing the new policy statement regarding Washington and Colorado.

The Justice Department’s revised policy was outlined in a memorandum authored by Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who explained that the agency intended to devote its limited resources to more urgent needs. He told justice officials to refrain from interfering with state legalization efforts as well as those licensed to engage in the production and sale of marijuana.

Cole emphasized that the federal government has traditionally relied on state and local authorities to address marijuana activity through enforcement of their own narcotics laws. The decision to let Washington and Colorado move forward without federal interference is premised on the expectation that the states will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that address potential threats to public safety.

Prosecutors could receive a green light to step in if the state laws and regulations fail to prevent distribution to minors, revenue from sales going to gangs or cartels, operations from serving as a front for trafficking in other drugs, impaired driving and growing on public land.

“A system adequate to that task must not only contain robust controls and procedures on paper; it must also be effective in practice,” Cole wrote to the nation’s U.S. attorneys. “Jurisdictions that have implemented systems that provide for regulation of marijuana activity must provide the necessary resources and demonstrate the willingness to enforce their laws and regulations in a manner that ensures they do not undermine federal enforcement priorities.”

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Top Rated Comments   
Translation: "Dude, you're gonna cut into our confiscation revenue!"
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (22)
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Getting really tired of the marketing propaganda all the time. Also tired of the self justifying pot heads repeating the same old propaganda for their weed. Is there any real, non-partisan research on the problems or lack of them due to long term marijuana use. Almost everything I see makes a lot of assertions on one side or the other, but I never see any references to any legitimate science.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
When the government bans something that people want to do, a huge market opens up for organized crime. Organized crime always ends up in control, because violence replaces the courtroom as the means for dispute settlement (since the courts cannot be used). Only big crime organizations can effectively fight a war to control the banned substance/activity.

Big organized crime flourishes on these bans. The crime organizations spend tons of money corrupting the once legitimate social institutions which might stand between the crime organizations and their market. Corrupt cops are among the first to pocket a profit from the banned market. This is not to say that most cops are taking a pay envelope, but it doesn't take many to ease the way for the crime organization.

Lawyers and judges are not beyond corruption either.

It is profitable to push drugs (market drugs) as well. When the market is banned, drug pushing cannot be controlled. With a legalized market, regulations can be put into place making it impossible to push drugs at impressionable, gullible, young people.

Even where cops have not been corrupted by the crime organization selling drugs, the front line "drug warrior" cops and agents have a stake in the war. It is their lunch ticket. Professional warriors need a war to earn their living. The longer they've been at it, the more that is their expertise. Their expertise becomes valueless overnight when the war ends.

Doesn't that put the front line "experts" in a massive conflict of interest when it comes to advising society on whether or not the war should continue?

The very last people who should be asked whether or not the war on drugs should continue is the cops and agents on the front line. They are supposed to enforce the law, not tell us what it should be. Only in a police state do the police decide what the rest of us can do.
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45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Individual cops in the United States are by and large corruption free. And if they cross the line, they are severely punished if they are caught.

The deadly strain of corruption infecting the War on Drugs is quite different in nature. First and foremost, state and local police agencies have become addicted to the Federally-funded grants (i.e. "Money Borrowed from the Chinese") that are the lifeblood of prohibition. Without those federal grants, state and local police entities simply could not afford to carry on the local versions of prohibition. This is bad if you are a local taxpayer because invariably, this fixation on Federal money causes the local police to sharply deemphasize old-fashioned property crimes. The most talented police are scooped up by sinister sounding "drug task forces" where the locals are paired, oggle-eyed with prestigious Federal cops. Cops that aren't quite as proficient or don't mouth the party line on prohibition are invariably "laterally transferred" to the property crimes division. LOSER!
Second, local police agencies that profess undying fealty to the War on Drugs are showered with military surplus machine guns, armored personal carriers, night vision goggles and all sorts of other goodies that lead directly to the dire state of affairs we are suffering under right now, which is the extreme militarization of the police.
Lastly, the Drug Forfeiture laws have made the local police into a profit-making organization. The effect of these forfeiture laws is in many ways, far far more dangerous than the typical beat cop taking a bribe. These forfeiture laws create vast slush funds that are spent, usually with no knowledge or input from the voters.

The upshot of this corruption is that the state and local police have become hopelessly compromised and invested in the War on Drugs. So many of the quotes from the local police in this article are just old-fashioned brown-nosing the Feds......their new meal ticket.

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know. The art of bribery can be subtle, indirect, and sophisticated. It is certainly there historically. What would have made it go away? We are living in an age of corruption.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
The stereotype of a bad cop is one who takes a $20 bill to waive a speeder on down the road.

A harder case to make is when the Feds "bribe" the local police, in order to get the locals to emphasize drug enforcement. It's all "legal," after all. Basically local police have become Federalized. They enforce the laws that the Feds want them to follow. And the drug laws were designed and implemented first by the Feds. Traditionally, the local police have focused on enforcing the laws of the State (the "Police Powers" given to them by the 10th Amendment), basically the same dozen or so common law "felonies" (murder, larceny, rape, assault, battery etc) that have comprised the criminal law since Shakespeare's day.

The Feds didn't even start making drugs illegal until 1920 or so. My grandpa told me as a boy, he could go into a drug store and those little metal "Bayer" boxes could be found with aspirin, heroin, cocaine or morphine, with only the name of the drug distinguishing. People took over the counter heroin for headaches in those days.

Henry Anslinger, the deeply racist first Drug Czar in the 1930's succeeded in criminalizing marijuana by arguing before congress that it causes "n!ggers to rape white women." The modern incarnation of the War on Drugs was conceived when Nixon and Art Linkletter had a drunken discussion, wherein they devised national drug policy on the basis that new draconian weed enforcement would eliminate the jew, hippy and fagg0t problems.

William F. Buckley was the first conservative (and the best one imho) who openly advocated for the legalization of marijuana.

Bad ideas from the start, violating the police prerogative of the state and locals, creating the largest incarceration of non-violent criminals in world history.

What could possibly go wrong?
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45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is the second vapid pro law enforcement article published this week on Pajamas Media.

The other one (written by "Jack Dunphy") had comments that were almost unanimously (and venomously) anti- law enforcement.

What's with these pro law enforcement articles? Is it some venal politician's idea of a suitable plank in his winning campaign platform? True libertarians or small government Republicans should be just embarrassed and mortified by the obvious conflict between these pro cop/anti-individual freedom articles and a political philosophy that favors limited government.

And this present article is even worse: Here, state governments have chosen to legalize marijuana. This article argues that the Feds should step in and stop the states from doing that.

Since when are conservatives in favor of the Federal Government interfering with the States?

Amazing. Just amazing.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Public Choice Theory to the rescue here. The drug warriors see their turf being encroached on and that makes them anxious to safeguard it. No-one could, in good faith, say that full-blown legalisation of pot will lead to the dreadful scenarios these Statist buffoons say it will. Pot is not harmless - far from it, in fact. But its harm to third parties is negligible, and drastically outweighed by the harm done in controlling and punishing its use. Elementary principles of liberty say that we should not try to prohibit an action that harms only the actor, and as a libertarian I think anything that reduces the intrusion of the State into people's lives is to be applauded. I don't use pot (or any other intoxicating substance any more, for that matter) and I think that people who do ingest cannabis on a regular basis are quite often rather foolish. But foolish things and foolish acts should not necessarily be against the law. To impose the sanction of the State against users we have created a monstrous leviathan which tramples on basic rights, is armed to the teeth, wastes unfathomable amounts of money and incarcerates a ludicrous number of people. If the disgusting DEA could be brought to heel it would benefit everyone except the leeches who grow fat from its predations.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Back in the good ole daze, we didn't have "skunk"

"They cross strains like they're breeding dogs...In 1976, an analysis of DEA seizures found an average THC content of between a half and 1 percent. In 2011, that figure was nearing 12 percent..."

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20120521/ARTICLES/120529958?p=1&tc=pg

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
The increase in THC content naturally follows the stern prediction of "The Iron Law of Prohibition," which states that the greater the law enforcement effort at Prohibition, the greater the active drug content of the substance.

It happened in Prohibition 1.0. Prior to alcohol prohibition, Americans generally drank only wine and beer in family situations. Prohibition caused a wild explosion in alcoholism, the development of bathtub gin, and the commercial marketing of Everclear, the first readily-available 100 percent alcohol beverage. Prohibition which creates a massive black market of smuggling, requires higher drug content given the constraints of smuggling.
In Prohibition 2.0, not only has the THC content of Marijuana drastically increased, but the explosion of Meth (Prohibition 2.0's version of "bathtub gin") development has occurred. The biggest tangible result of Drug Prohibition has been an explosion in the development of cooking meth, which can be done largely with household chemicals and the wild explosion of precursors being presently shipped to Mexico.
So we shouldn't pay to much attention to the opinions of "Law Enforcement" regarding their War on Drugs, which has made the drug problem into a full-scale epic disaster of Biblical proportions.

The War on Drugs primarily has opened up markets and created innovative new manufacturing methods for methamphetamine where none existed before, caused the murder of 90,000 Mexicans in the last five years (more deaths than the United States has suffered since 9-11 in the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) in the cartel wars (creating a bonanza of lurid videos showing wedding dances being interrupted by severed heads being rolled onto the dance floor, like bowling), and made the United States' staggeringly colossal prison complex into the most gigantic Gulag Archipelago in world history.
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45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
"the feds" can't do much of anything where state laws are conflicting with federal law.

Thus the alleged "easing" of federal marijuana policy.

Nothing like the word "pot" to bring out the huge number of habitual smokers/users in the US of A.

It's like a reflex.

Wreck them brains

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2403193/Teenage-cannabis-users-vulnerable-heavy-drug-addiction-psychosis--genes-drive-risks.html

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
And....."testing positive" for weed in accident statistics is MEANINGLESS.........cannabinoids are lipid soluble, and can have a half-life lasting weeks. But that does NOT mean there is a psychoactive effect.

Mindlessly repeating stats like that is nothing less than the AgitProp of the MSM that the alternative media claims to despise....
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly, and there is no readily available test that can determine whether a driver, or, for that matter, a pilot, a heavy equipment operator or a teacher is actively under the influence- stoned, high, whatever. To me, that is a major argument against legalization. A cop can't stop a driver driving under the influence and prove that that was the case. Imagine managing drunk driving offenses without breathalyzer tests; that is where we are at with marijuana.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ho Hummmm................most of the cultured, successful, professional, monied people I know ( I think I'm a 3%'r ) have, in the past, and many today, smoke Da Weed.

And as you get a bit older, with responsibilities.....soccer, the gym, the mortgage, trying to set an example to your kids and the neighbors, ....that fades too....like your libido.

If we all did time for this plant.........who would be the tax payers???
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Boy, when you're a hammer, everything is a nail.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Prohibition is what causes violence, by driving up profit margins. Treat tobacco or coffee or chocolate the way marijuana is treated and the degree of "violence" will be exactly the same, if not greater.

The "violence" law enforcement fears most is that done to their budgets.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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