Vermont Looks to Legalize, Police Chiefs Don’t Approve

Vermont Looks to Legalize, Police Chiefs Don’t Approve

There have been recent rumblings out of the state of Vermont — from the legislature and the Governor — concerning the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes. So far these rumblings have been favorable to the idea, but you know certain groups are going to be opposed.

Like the Vermont Police Chiefs Association. Knowing very little about the cannabis, they are recycling the disproven claims of prohibitionists of yesteryear. Like “drugged driving.”

“Law enforcement in this state is not prepared, whether you’re a state trooper, a municipal officer or county sheriff, we are not prepared to deal with the number of people that we anticipate are going to drive under the influence of marijuana,” Chief Paul Doucette said.

Forget the fact that several studies have shown that driving under the influence of marijuana is much safer than driving under the influence of alcohol. The Chiefs are anticipating more people driving under the influence of marijuana when the fact is those who are going to drive high are already doing so.

But the real reason police chiefs and departments around the country oppose cannabis legalization is that much of their budgets are based on the continuance, and even escalation, of the drug war. Not to mention all the dough cops get through civil forfeiture, aka robbery by the state.

There is a reason police officers don’t make laws. They are there to enforce laws so citizens are protected and served. They should not have a vested interest in making sure as many people as possible remain criminals, yet they do. Which makes their opinion on marijuana legalization meaningless.

The drug war has failed, and many cops are admitting that. But many still have to get beyond their own prejudices and realize their way has not worked.