One of the biggest obstacles preventing marijuana legalization is law enforcement. Often these authorities will speak out against legalization efforts, citing false marijuana data and myths, but people believe it because of their positions. But they’re not all like that.
Here are five law enforcement officials who support marijuana legalization efforts.
1. Stephen Downing, Former Los Angeles Deputy Chief of Police
Downing has spoken out publicly about how current U.S. marijuana laws actually lead to more crime and hurt Americans, comparing it to the Prohibition of alcohol during the 20th century.
“When we ended the prohibition of alcohol, Al Capone was out of work the next day,” Downing told Rolling Stone. “Our drug policy is really anti-public safety and pro-cartel, pro-street gang, because it keeps them in business.”
2. Norm Stamper, Former Seattle Chief of Police
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Stamper told a story about arresting a 19-year-old for possessing a small amount of marijuana when he began his police career. He says he realized that the amount of time he wasted arresting the kid could’ve been spent focusing on real police work, such as responding to a burglary or intervening in a domestic violence situation. He realized then how ridiculous anti-marijuana laws were right then.
3. Howard Wooldridge
Wooldridge is a former Texas detective who’s become a minor celebrity for his marijuana advocacy. Wooldridge attends the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) every year, and he pushes others at the conference to support marijuana legalization. He says his message was more popular in the past due to an influx of Ron Paul supporting, libertarian-leaning attendees, but the new pro-Trump audience is less open and more into “law and order” policies.
4. Jame Haase, Former Special Agent in the Department of Homeland Security
Haase worked in Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and spoke to Rolling Stone about seeing tons of marijuana come into the United States from Mexico, and said it was responsible for tens of thousands of deaths.
“During my time on the border, I saw literally tons of marijuana come over the border from Mexico,” Haase said. “Competition over profits to be made from this illicit industry has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of individuals in that country, and an ever-icnreasing amount of violence spilling over in the United States.”
And no, he doesn’t think a wall will help.
5. The Majority of Cops
A Pew Research poll from 2017 found that over two-thirds of police officers believe that marijuana should be legal in some form. 32 percent of U.S. police officers support recreational legalization, and another 37 percent believe it should be legal medically only. That number is slightly lower than the American population at large, 84 percent of whom believe marijuana should be legal in some way. But it’s still a clear law enforcement majority who support legalization efforts.