If there's one group that has become seen as a major enemy of the legalization effort, it's the police. Ask anyone who wants to legalize marijuana and they'll probably say that police hate legalization.
To a point, it's a bad reputation that is somewhat deserved. Many policemen do not want to see marijuana get legalized, simply because it would mean that one of the easiest arrests out there would no longer be doable.
Cops who want to meet quotas quickly or just find an excuse to arrest someone they don't like will want to keep marijuana illegal. That's actually one of the reasons why marijuana became illegal in the first place.
But for every couple of cops that hate pot, there are others who want to see it become legal. Here's why some cops want to legalize marijuana, and why we can't paint all the boys in blue with the same brush.
Some cops legitimately acknowledge the benefits of medical marijuana.
One of the most common reasons why cops want to legalize marijuana is because they're not blind. The benefits of medical marijuana have been spoken about at length and have regularly been shown to have life-changing effects on patients with serious illnesses.
Cops are people too and chances are that they may know someone with epilepsy or glaucoma. Wanting to keep Mary Jane banned would just not make sense when they know that it's something that could help their loved ones live better lives.
A lot of cops also note that marijuana is different from other drugs.
The biggest reason why cops go after cannabis offenders is because they are not violent criminals; it's an easy pinch. Even cannabis dealers don't normally carry a gun because their clients are not violent.
Heroin dealers, on the other hand? They won't go down without a fight—and they always have to pack heat because they have to protect themselves from their clients.
The difference here is that cannabis is not a drug that turns people into addicts, and therefore doesn't cause the violence that addicts will turn to in order to get their fix. The only time potheads get violent is if they smoked a laced joint.
Many cops want to legalize marijuana so that they can turn their focus to more dangerous substances and legitimately clean up the streets.
Some cops also recognize it's a racist law.
Marijuana was banned as a way to marginalize minorities, and if you think cops are unaware of that fact, you're wrong. They know it's racist, which is why many cops feel uncomfortable arresting people on cannabis charges alone.
Many cops, particularly those who are minorities, want to see this law gone simply because they've seen how much damage it does to minority communities.
Legalizing marijuana also limits teen access to it.
Anyone who's been to a liquor store with a fake ID can tell you that ID laws work—and that part of the reason it's easier to buy weed than liquor as a teenager is because of those ID laws.
By making something no longer a black market item, the underworld market ends up drying up. This would make it harder for teens to find a dealer. Dealers don't always just sell pot, and that's where the risk is.
One of the biggest reasons why cops want to legalize marijuana is because it'd make it harder for teens to get access to a dealer who may have substances other than pot at hand.
Cops want to legalize marijuana because it saves money.
There are so many ways that banning a harmless herb hurts state and federal government budgets. Cops know it's a waste of money whenever they have to use resources to bust a guy with a plant in his hands—and they're also well-aware how many jails are clogged due to these kinds of arrests.
Most good cops end up wanting to see the taxpayer money that's being spent go to good things rather than to see families torn apart by arrests.
Shocker—plenty of cops want to see corrupt policing go away.
Corruption has long plagued the War on Drugs, and there's no shortage of scandals that have happened because cops wanted to get paid extra by planting false evidence on a victim.
Crooked cops use cannabis ban laws to prey on minorities and at-risk individuals, often to the point that it can ruin their lives. Even former policemen admit that there have been people who have had pot planted on them just so that cops can meet drug arrest quotas.
Cops want to legalize marijuana because they want these kinds of policies to go away. Police are no longer respected the way they used to be because of all the scandals; they're feared. That's not fun.
Police are way more concerned about drunk driving, too.
Police know that drunk driving is horrible. It only takes one visit to a fatal accident to see the hell that it can unleash on a family, and that's why so many cops have zero tolerance for it. Truth be told, many police would rather see more potheads driving around than more drunks.
Drunk driving accidents are pretty horrific and are often enough for policemen to have second thoughts about hitting the bottle. Officers who believe that people would be better off smoking cannabis than drinking tend to want to see marijuana legalized in their neighborhoods.
Officers are also sick of seeing overdoses.
In areas hit by the heroin epidemic, most cops want to legalize marijuana. Why? Because studies have shown that legal marijuana access often ends up helping people overcome drug addiction and even avoid the need for opioid-based pain medication.
If weed can end the heroin epidemic, you can bet that at least some cops want to see it legalized. It's a need that goes beyond public safety concerns and becomes personal for police. After all, there's only so many dead bodies you can see before it becomes too much to bear.
A lot of cops want to see harm reduction in their communities.
Even crooked cops hate seeing their neighbors suffering, being robbed, and getting shot. This is just the cold, plain truth of it. It's horrifying stuff to watch and the fact is that it's rough.
A lot of cops want to legalize marijuana because they know it'll cut down on gang activity, reduce violence, and also make it possible for harm reduction services to step in.
Violent crime only follows marijuana when it's illegalized. Cops of all kinds hate violent crime because it puts their lives and the lives of their families at risk. Clearly, we need drug policy reform if we want safer streets.
Lastly, a lot of cops want to legalize marijuana because it'd help fund their offices.
Legal marijuana is heavily taxed and that means that local communities get to bask in that revenue. If weed was legal, marijuana arrests wouldn't have to happen because the money they'd get from pot sales alone would be enough to bolster police office revenue.
So, yes, they do want to see a piece of that canna-business boom. As long as legalizing it makes their jobs easier, most police officers will never complain.