Pubdate: Fri, 06 Nov 2015
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2015 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post


WASHINGTON - US police officers overwhelmingly do not see marijuana 
as a major threat to their communities, according to results of a 
survey released this week as part of a Drug Enforcement Administration summary.

The DEA asked a representative sample of about 1,000 law enforcement 
agencies what they saw as their biggest drug threats.

Marijuana came in at the bottom of the list, named by only 6 percent 
of survey respondents.

The share of law enforcement agencies naming marijuana as a threat 
has been declining steadily in the past decade, even as states have 
moved to legalize medical and recreational marijuana during that time period.

By contrast, nearly three-quarters of police departments named heroin 
and methamphetamine as their top drug threats this year.

The perceived threat of heroin has more than quadrupled since 2007, 
according to the survey.

And after rising sharply from 2007 to 2013, the threat posed by 
prescription painkillers has subsided considerably in the past two 
years, according to the law enforcement officials surveyed.

The findings indicate a statement by law enforcement of a fact that 
drug policy experts and researchers have known for a long time: 
Compared with other recreational substances, including alcohol, 
marijuana does not cause as much harm.

And regarding potential harms to individuals or to communities, 
marijuana is very low on the list of recreational substances.

The state and local police also say that marijuana is not a big 
driver of crime.

Only 6 percent said that marijuana was the most serious driver of 
violent crime in their communities in 2015, and 5 percent said it was 
the biggest contributor to property crime.

This contradicts arguments made by some high-ranking law enforcement officers.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom