Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Police still busting patients in Seattle

In Seattle, as authorities say that in response to public demand marijuana enforcement is the lowest priority for the police, apparently some raids still occur. As this article relates, police came down hard -- a virtual 10-man SWAT team heavily armed and armored -- on an apartment in a four-unit complex. They had sent drug-sniffing dogs earlier to help get a warrant. But the person they burst in on was a 50-year-old veteran with intractable pain (thrown face-down on the floor), using marijuana in compliance with Washington state law, who had what he described as "my pathetic grow," consisting of two 12-inch plants that had barely begun to flower.

Until we have full legalization of marijuana (and preferably other currently illicit drugs whose prohibition causes even more direct problems) I suspect that we are going to have continuing incidents like this. The police in most jurisdictions are simply too accustomed to treating marijuana as some kind of quintessential evil for their enforcement culture to be changed much by changing laws. Note that Gil Kerlikowske, now the federal "drug czar," was Seattle police chief and publicly went along with lowest-priority marijuana enforcement then -- but now that he's a national figure his apparently instinctive drug-warrior side is coming out, what with using his position to campaign against California's Prop. 19 and making various threats he can't possibly follow through on (thank goodness) to really enforce federal prohibition if California is too uppity in its voting.

To be fair, however, once the situation became apparent, the police didn't confiscate the plants or arrest the apartment occupant.

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