A Columbia, SC police official is apparently smokin’ something! After an arrest and confiscation of $40,000 worth of marijuana was publicized, a local Facebook user Brandon Whitmer, posted on his page, “Maybe (police) should arrest the people shooting people in 5 points instead of worrying about a stoner that’s not bothering anyone. It’ll be legal here one day anyway.”
Very shortly thereafter, someone with login credentials for the Columbia Police Department replied to Whitmer, saying,
“We have arrested all of the violent offenders in Five points. Thank you for sharing your views and giving us reasonable suspicion to believe you might be a criminal, we will work on finding you.”
Now let me get this straight: A guy posts something on Facebook that the cops don’t like, and they get to intimidate him? I’m thinking the lovely folks at the Columbia Police Department haven’t quite gotten around to reading some of the newer legal opinions on political speech. Say, for instance, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, adopted in 1789!
Yeah, this SC cop is funny as hell. A real laughing-stock. Then, why am I not laughing?
Maybe its because I don’t want to live in a police state, where every aspect of your life is controlled by armed thugs in uniforms. Maybe its because I take Freedom of Speech seriously! Or maybe its because I write political opinion, and I just don’t want some hick cop breaking down my door and hauling me away! I think any one of these reasons are pretty understandable.
But what if my reason, is that I agree with what the Facebook user said? Cops shouldn’t be spending taxpayer money arresting some pothead. Cops should not be concerned about marijuana use at all, nor should state or federal legislators. Marijuana laws are arcane left-overs of an era when Americans were in the middle of the Great Depression, and the lovable little flick “Reefer Madness” had just been released. Pastors, prohibitionists, elderly matrons, and the religious fundamentalists were ADAMANT! “We must outlaw the evil weed forever.” It was mass hysteria that almost rivaled the Salem witch trials, McCarthyism, and our new demon, Obamacare .
America currently spends more than $20 billion a year in prohibiting marijuana. According to the folks at NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws),
“Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America (behind only alcohol and tobacco), and has been used by nearly 100 million Americans. According to government surveys, some 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year, and more than 14 million do so regularly despite harsh laws against its use. Our public policies should reflect this reality, not deny it.”
The time has come for mainstream America to take a stand. Prohibition should have taught us all that such policies lead to violent crime, huge costs of enforcement, and an unrealistic number of new state and federal prisoners. We should understand that high marijuana crime rates, huge costs of enforcement, and thousands upon thousands of people in prisons and jails, are because of the prohibition laws, NOT because of the marijuana itself.
Regulate it, tax it, control it, but don’t throw people in jail because of it. Had marijuana been legal in South Carolina, that $40,000 street value pot bust, would probably have been worth a hundred bucks. People don’t kill, rob, or intimidate each other for cheap drugs. Criminalization creates the high costs and the criminal incentive.
If that cop wants to find me, he can just post his phone number in comments, and I’ll give him a shout.