Thursday, October 1, 2009

S.F. Police Chief Hints at Marijuana Legalization's Benefits

San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon held a press conference Wednesday to tout the department's recent raids shutting down illegal marijuana grow houses in the city.

Interestingly, the first question from a reporter was about whether legalizing marijuana could prevent the devastating house fires that sometimes result from illegal grow operations.

The good chief answered by noting how when alcohol prohibition ended, lots of the associated problems like violence and crime went away.


  1. It's nice to see this topic becoming an acceptable area of discussion at events like this. That a reporter finds the legalization issue the most pressing question is very telling. And I think the chief handled the question well.

    I have noticed some discord though regarding the police and drug legalization. Our common conception is that police "don't make the laws, they only enforce them." In other words, police supposedly have absolutely no interest either way in what laws are passed; they simply worry about enforcing what's on the book.

    But if that's true, then why are law enforcement organizations often such prominent defenders of prohibition? Every time you see a story about the changing marijuana culture in our country, it's a sheriff, or police chief, or some sort of "officer's association" spokesman who says we shouldn't be relaxing our drug laws. If police are really there just to enforce the laws, why do they have any invested interest in which laws are passed or repealed? It shouldn't make any difference to them either way.

    Now I realize that police are people (and voters) too, and every person has a right to his or her opinion. Hell, LEAP itself is made up largely of police officers, and obviously isn't neutral regarding drug policy. But if the police as a whole have a neutral stance toward legislation -- and focus only on enforcement -- why are law enforcement organizations and lobbying bodies such vociferous defenders of a piece of legislation?

  2. You know the answer. We all know the answer. It's money. Drug Prohibition results in massively increased funding for police.



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