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Why is Minnesota Listening to Cops on Medical Marijuana?

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It’s hard to imagine that anyone in Minnesota still believes that the cops are a credible source of information regarding SF 97 and HF 292 — the state’s pending medical marijuana measures.

After all, it was only a few weeks ago when state lawmakers and the local media‘outed’ law enforcement for continually lying about the bills during their public testimony.

Nevertheless, in the interest of ‘balance’ (and I use that term
euphemistically here), state newspapers apparently feel the need to
give these tainted folks a platform to spew their lies and propaganda —
even though it appears that no one aside from Gov. Tim Pawlenty is listening.

Of course, it’s arguable that by giving law enforcement a forum, editors are actually, if inadvertently, promotingmarijuana law reform.
After all, the prejudice, fabrications, and misplaced logic exhibited
by those who favor prohibition clearly does more to undermine the
policy than NORML could ever hope to.

A case in point. Writing in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune,
local sheriff Richard Stanek goes off on a tirade about marijuana. But
if one reads between the lines, it becomes readily obvious (to anyone
but the sheriff), that his gripe is really with cannabisprohibition.

Lighten up on marijuana?


… The connection between marijuana and violent crime should not be underestimated. The
violence related to marijuana isn’t a result of the effects on the user
but rather stems from the money people can make selling and growing the

We should never lose focus on the immediate connection
between guns, gangs, kids and drugs — and marijuana is frequently the
I have been in law enforcement for 25 years and
have seen this firsthand. When I was captain of the Criminal
Investigations Division with the Minneapolis Police Department, we
investigated a case involving a man from out-of-state who tried to buy
marijuana for personal use. He unwittingly approached a gang-connected
dealer. The man was shot and killed so gang members could keep his
money and the marijuana. Violence is part of the trade. By legalizing
marijuana-growing operations and drug traffic, we would invite violence
into our communities.

Read about any gang-related violence surrounding the sale of alcohol
lately? How about vicodin or paxil? Didn’t think so. The irony, of
course, is that the very ramifications that Sheriff Stanek
claims to lament are, in fact, direct consequences of the public policy
he reflexively endorses

Of course, Sheriff Stanek isn’t alone is his twisted thinking (another euphemism). In a pro/con piece published today in the Rochester Post-Bulletin,
Dennis J. Flaherty, executive director and chief lobbyist of the
Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, also predictably plays
the ‘violence’ card (among others).

The facts are that marijuana is a drug that is associated with violent crimes such as robberies and assaults.
Many have and will resort to almost anything to get their hands on it.

And here I thought cops believed that pot smoking made people unmotivated. The cop lobbyist goes on to make a number of other false accusations as well. You are free to read them here. (Have a strong anti-emetic handy.)

Fortunately, despite this deluge of deliberately false information, most Minnesota politicians — former sheriff and current Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen notwithstanding — are voting on the side of truth. Will Gov. Pawlenty do likewise? If you live in Minnesota, now might be a good time to ask him.

PS: Think that Minnesota is the only state whose cops blatantly lie about medical marijuana? Think again!


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