Drug Law
Drug Law

Why is Minnesota Listening to Cops on Medical Marijuana?

| by NORML
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, promoting marijuana 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 cannabis prohibition.

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 drug.

We should never lose focus on the immediate connection between guns, gangs, kids and drugs — and marijuana is frequently the connection. 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!