Far too many people must be blind to the consequences of the War on Marijuana and the over-arching Drug War. Or people are just too distracted with their lives as raising kids, caring for aging parents, trying to make this month’s rent or a plethora of possible issues are stopping people from speaking out more forcefully against a war being waged upon our own non-violent citizens. I don’t see any other explanation.
While a war that locks marijuana users, growers and retailers in cages could have gone relatively unnoticed to many in years past, the cost of the war is now severely hindering every state in the union and more and more stories of the harmful consequences of this war are being exposed. The SWAT raid of the Whitworth family, the Kathryn Johnston shooting, the misguided raid of a town’s mayor, 41 SWAT raids of a completely innocent couple and the killing of war veteran Jose Guerena are just a few examples of the harmful consequences of our nation’s Drug War. Now, we have the violation (really amounting to sexual assault) of an aunt and niece travelling in Texas during what should have been a routine traffic stop. Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance has a rundown of 10 disastrous consequences of the Drug War in The Huffington Post, however sexual assualt by law enforcement officers during traffic stops was not explicitly included. Unfortunately, we can add full body cavity searches on the side of the road to the list of Drug War consequences.
Angel Dobbs and her niece Ashley Dobbs were cruising Texas Highway 161 on the way to a casino when they were pulled over by a Texas State Trooper for allegedly throwing cigarette butts out of their vehicle’s window. Claiming, he smelled marijuana, Trooper David Farrell searched the vehicle, not finding any marijuana and not believing the women who denied smoking or possessing any marijuana. Angel, the driver, even passed a sobriety test. None of this satisfied Mr. Farrell, who called in a female trooper, Kelley Helleson, to conduct a cavity search. Ms. Helleson then proceeds to conduct a cavity search of both the anus and vagina of both family members without even changing latex gloves. The women are rightfully suing and the troopers are on paid suspensions pending a grand jury investigation. The violation of these two women have even sparked a White House petition.
Regardless of how the legal battles proceed, we are only going to see more and more personal and constitutional violations due to the Drug War and usually due to marijuana laws as cannabis continues to be the most widely utilized illegal drug. Is this the type of society that we want to live in, where ordinary people must undergo roadside cavity searches at the whims of law enforcement officers? Where innocent people are killed because someone is suspected of growing a plant that can’t cause a lethal overdose? If not, the only solution is ending cannabis prohibition and the mindset that we are at war with drugs, because good people are getting violated, harmed and killed in a war that cannot be won.
Article originally appeared on National Cannabis Coalition and republished with special permission