h1

Follow the money

February 18, 2014

Here’s an interesting article by Radley Balko, based on a report about a state representative in Minnesota who’s learned an interesting lesson: Follow the money.

RTWT.

The drug war’s profit motive

Terrific reporting here from the Capitol Report, a small publication that covers politics and policy in Minnesota.

Minnesota state Rep. Carly Melin is trying to introduce legislation to legalize medical marijuana in the state, but she’s bumping up against some aggressive opposition from the state’s police agencies and law enforcement organizations, who have united behind a group called the Minnesota Law Enforcement Coalition.
It may at first seem odd that police groups would so vigorously oppose medical pot. These aren’t medical organizations. They have no clear stake in the debate over the drug’s potential therapeutic benefits. According to the article, the police groups say they’re concerned about public safety, but we’ve been living with medical pot for nearly 20 years now, and there’s no empirical data to support the contention that legal medical marijuana brings an increase in crime. If you’re a fan of public choice theory, you might argue that narcotics cops may oppose any move toward legalization because a decrease in the demand for and supply of illegal pot might mean a decrease in need for narcotics cops to police it. And of course there will always be a supply of and trade in other illicit drugs to keep them busy.

So why such strident opposition? Rep. Melin has discovered what drug policy reformers have been arguing for years: It’s about revenue. Police agencies have a strong financial incentive to keep the drug war churning.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: