In a publication just issued, the Colorado Police Foundation and the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police have summarized law enforcement issues related to the legalization of marijuana in that state. This 84-page document covers topics such as the growth and history of legalization in Colorado as well as particular law enforcement issues dealing with establishing probable cause for arrest, search warrants, drug dogs, the continued existence of the black market, threats of explosions and fires, medibles, tourism and public safety, home marijuana grows, changes to hiring practices, the homeless, the presence of large amounts of cash, drugged driving offenses and the impact on youth and education.
One of the statements struck us as being particularly telling — “legalized marijuana may have increased the illegal drug trade.” Page 17.
You simply can’t make something legal without simultaneously making it illegal. And, when you make a commodity legal and tax it you make it expensive and unaffordable to many. Throw in commercialization–advertising, titillation, deception, promises of false rewards, and social norming and you create more would be buyers.
Who’s going to supply the black market marijuana? The same guys used as the scapegoats for legalization–the foreign cartels–AS WELL AS anyone disenfranchised by the legal weed trade and who wants a piece of the action; AS WELL AS every legal marijuana operation selling to those from states where marijuana is illegal.
Where is the illegal weed going to come from? Across our National borders, AS WELL AS grown illegally on our own State and National land, AS WELL AS from every farm, back yard, basement, home, and apartment that wants a piece of the action.
So unless you choose to simply ignore the illegal black market and simply let it burgeon out of control, you then need to police-up and arrest and sentence those engaged in the illegal trade. When you do that, you are going to be arresting many of the same population that proponents are using to justify legalization–the disenfranchised, and disadvantaged.
This report from the Colorado Police Association, along with the excellent reports created by the Rocky Mountain HIDTA group, provide ample evidence of an experiment gone horribly wrong. It is easy to see why Colorado Governor Hickenlooper has advised other states to wait on legalization in order to get the full measure of unintended consequences. This report is just one of many that are giving credence to his advice of precaution.
Although the Colorado Police Association report tries not to take a position on marijuana legalization itself, the facts argue strongly against it.
[Click Here to download the Report]