Minnesota cops don’t want to legalize medical marijuana for fear they could lose millions
The Minnesota Law Enforcement Coalition’s opposition to marijuana legalization is another case of the drug war run amok.
The coalition, which includes Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, Minnesota Sheriffs Association, Minnesota County Attorneys Association, and Minnesota State Association of Narcotics Investigators, have been as unhelpful as possible with efforts to legalize medical marijuana.
Should the drug become legal, law enforcement stands to lose millions of dollars.
State Rep. Carly Melin has led the charge in her state to legalize medical marijuana, but has found resistance and stonewalling when it comes to the state’s law enforcement
“It’s like negotiating with a brick wall. All along I have said that I am willing to amend the bill. But they won’t move at all,” said Melin, reports Politicsinminnesota.com.
So why such staunch opposition?Drug enforcement stands to lose a lot of funding should marijuana become legal. Federal funding through the Department of Justice gives police task forces money specifically aimed to target drug crimes from a fund called the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. The grant doles out $300 million to $500 million annually to police stations around the country.
“In 2012, 23 such task forces in Minnesota received a total of approximately $4.2 million from Byrne grants. The money is spent on everything from military-grade hardware to officer overtime,” PoliticsinMinnesota.com reports.
Legalize marijuana and Minnesota no longer has need, or access, to this federal pot of money.
Look no further than Washington state to see the effects of this. Since recreational marijuana has been legal in Washington, police forces have been forced to cut their budgets, in some places by 15 percent, as there is no longer a need, or a revenue stream, for drug-related crime fighting.
But when it comes to the economics of fighting drugs, law enforcement remains silent.
“I don’t think it’s part of the debate because they wouldn’t publicly admit that it’s even an issue,” Melin said. “Nobody wants to question the motives or honesty of law enforcement.”