Is law enforcement incentivized against legalizing marijuana?
February 11, 2014
As Colorado was legalizing medical marijuana, law enforcement officials from California voiced their disapproval pointing at what they deemed failed medical marijuana laws in California. [McClatchy]
“I was told that we hadn’t learned anything from California – that you can’t do anything to regulate marijuana,” said Matt Cook, a retired Colorado Springs police officer who became the first director of Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, to McClatchy.
In Colorado, where pot retailers sell recreational marijuana, the state tags marijuana plants, inspects dispensary books and requires video surveillance of regulated pot deliveries and sales.
In California, law enforcement officials have forcefully opposed any legislation seen as legitimizing a marijuana industry. Their opposition is supposedly based on the belief that medical marijuana businesses are profiteering shams that were never authorized by California voters.
Marijuana advocates contend that police are unwilling to support marijuana legalization because they are too invested in pot policing through drug enforcement grants and revenue from seized houses, cars and property in marijuana prosecutions. California took in $181.4 million in revenue from seized property and money in marijuana cases from 2002 to 2012.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that police in Washington were taking budget hits after marijuana was legalized for recreational use. Some police drug task forces lost 15 percent of funding due to decreased revenue from marijuana forfeiture cases.