For some reason when it comes to marijuana reform, members of law enforcement almost always lead the charge for the opposition. Members of law enforcement will be quick to say that they ‘don’t make the laws, they just enforce them,’ yet law enforcement is constantly present at public hearings and events to voice their opposition to proposed marijuana law changes. I have seen it happen in almost every state that has had a reform effort that was gaining traction.
Members of law enforcement will say that they oppose marijuana because it’s a gateway drug, which is a theory that has been debunked so many times I’ve lost count. The cops will say that they want to prevent public safety nightmares like an epidemic of stoned drivers, and enormous spikes in youth marijuana consumption. Again, those theories have been debunked by states that have reformed marijuana laws and somehow kept the sky intact.
The latest state to see law enforcement opposition to marijuana reform is Missouri, where New Approach Missouri is in the process of gathering signatures to put medical marijuana legalization on the 2016 ballot. That effort, or anyone to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri, doesn’t sit well with Missouri sheriffs. Per the Houston Herald:
The Missouri Sheriffs Association has come out against the use of medical marijuana.
During a meeting last August in Branson, the association’s 115 sheriffs voted overwhelmingly to oppose any measure, legislation or initiative that would make medical – or recreational – marijuana legal in Missouri.
“The association respects individual sheriffs taking an opposing view on the issue,” said association president and Grundy County Sheriff Rodney Herring. “However, those views are in no manner to be construed as the views or opinions of the Missouri Sheriffs Association stance on the issue of the legalization of medical or recreational marijuana in Missouri.”
I haven’t heard of any Missouri sheriffs coming out in support of medical marijuana, although it is worth pointing out that St. Louis PD Sergeant Gary Wiegert has been very supportive of Missouri marijuana reform efforts. But Mr. Wiegert is very much the exception to the rule, and obviously isn’t a Missouri sheriff. I personally think that members of law enforcement oppose marijuana reform efforts because they know that it will result in lower budgets, less civil asset forfeiture opportunities, and would decrease cops’ ability to use the ‘smell of marijuana’ as an excuse to violate people’s rights. That of course is just my opinion, but I think most reasonable people would agree with me.