Pubdate: Tue, 04 Mar 2014
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2014 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: Howard J. Wooldridge


Speaking as a retired detective, I heartily agree with Dan Rodricks' 
observation that Maryland police officers want - a little too much - 
to maintain marijuana prohibition ("The social fears behind the pot 
wars," Feb. 27). Based on my 17 years of involvement in reform, the 
last eight on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist and advocate, my profession 
has three reasons to keep marijuana illegal: money, money and emotion.

Police make lots of money in the easy overtime for the minor bust and 
drug squads and receive lots of "free" money from the federal and 
state governments to chase a green plant. Civil asset forfeiture is 
an important and growing factor in police budgets. Drug cases 
actually bring money into the department, whereas arresting a 
pedophile is a drain on the budget.

But here's where emotion comes into play: It will be traumatic for 
many officers to accept the reality that their colleagues who have 
been hurt or killed in drug cases suffered for an evil, ineffective 
and failed social policy. Officers in Colorado and Washington already 
know this pain.

Howard J. Wooldridge,


The writer is co-founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
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