Next month, my home state of Oregon will be voting on marijuana legalization, again. Unlike previous attempts, this year’s initiative has a stellar chance of passing. There are not too many people leading the fight against the initiative. In fact, if you were to take away cops, rehab owners, and propaganda profiteers like Kevin Sabet, there’s almost no one left. Oregon law enforcement has largely led the way, ponying up over 98% of the money for the No on 91 campaign, as seen in this graphic at this link here, courtesy of Russ Belville.
Oregon cops are not supposed to campaign for political causes (for or against), marijuana or otherwise. And most of the time they don’t. However, when it comes to marijuana reform, they seem willing to bend every rule (putting it kindly) and do whatever it takes to keep marijuana prohibition in place. Why is that? Fire Dog Lake gives a great explanation:
This year the only serious financial opposition to the marijuana legalization initiative in Oregon is coming from the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association which so far has donated $145,000 against it and the Oregon Narcotics Enforcement Association which contributed $20,000 against it. This is not too surprising given that besides illegal drug dealers, almost no other group financially benefits more from marijuana prohibition than local law enforcement agencies.
The reason is our nation’s obscene asset forfeiture laws. These laws allow law enforcement agencies to take money and property that they believe was involved in a crime, most often drug crimes, and keep much of it to spend at their discretion. Individuals don’t even need to be convicted of a crime to lose their property. Under civil asset forfeiture the government brings proceedings against the property, not its owner. This makes proving “guilt” much easier, so they get to keep the property.
Last year in Oregon over $2.3 million in cash was collected by law enforcement agencies thanks to civil and criminal asset forfeitures. This is according to the report from the Asset Forfeiture Oversight Advisory Committee to the Oregon Legislature. Over 90 percent of seizure cases were for controlled substance violations, of which roughly two fifths involved marijuana.
It’s pretty clear what is motivating Oregon cops when they so strongly oppose marijuana reform. They don’t want to lose money. They are not doing it because it’s the right thing to do, or because they want to ‘save the children.’ They do it because they have dollar signs in their eyes. I can’t wait until marijuana is legalized next month in Oregon, so that we don’t have to see public officials in law enforcement try to influence laws, and will instead have to just focus on enforcing them, which after all, is their true job.