Minnesota is just one state looking to change their current marijuana laws. There, a bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives to create a medical marijuana program, but the governor says he’ll only sign such a bill if it has the support of law enforcement agencies in the state—something not likely to happen.
The proposed bill, HF 1818, would make it legal for people with certain medical conditions to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at a given time. People with cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions approved by their doctor would be eligible for an ID card giving them access to medicinal pot without facing arrest.
The voters want it and even the lawmakers are amenable to the proposed bill. But the police aren’t buying it.
Governor Mark Dayton (D) says he would be willing to sign the bill if it made it that far, but only if law enforcement agencies across the state supported it as well. Apparently, Governor Dayton forgot his civics class in high school—the one where it says the legislative bodies are there for creating the laws and the police are merely there to enforce them.
Not a single law enforcement agency in the state supports a medical marijuana program. While most of them say the bill could increase the drug’s availability to children (despite evidence showing this simply won’t happen), one admitted a far more basic justification for the opposition: money.
Dennis Flaherty of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) said he is concerned any form of legalization (even only for medical purposes) could lessen the chances of the state receiving federal dollars to fight the (failed) War on Drugs.
Minnesota, like every other state—including those with medical marijuana programs and recreational marijuana programs, receives millions from the federal government to fight the never-ending, expensive, and wasteful war on drugs. This war has served to make our country the most incarcerated one in the entire history of the world. The money Flaherty is talking about is the same money that police agencies use to purchase armored vehicles and other military-grade equipment to raid homes of often non-violent drug offenders.
Minnesota law enforcement, in other words, is afraid they’ll lose their toys. But this fear isn’t justified. Similar legislation in other states has not stopped the feds from siphoning millions into their law enforcement efforts.
And as for the other argument, that medical marijuana will put pot in the hands of kids, this simply is not true. A well-crafted medicinal marijuana program does not increase the risk of children getting their hands on marijuana (which incidentally is a harmless and healing plant). Instead, it allows even children suffering from debilitating conditions the opportunity to get the natural medicine they need.
Some 76% of Minnesota voters support medical marijuana. Lawmakers are joining the ranks, warming to the idea. But the governor, despite signaling support, will take his direction from a group with their own special interests. You wouldn’t ask the IRS for their opinion on eliminating the federal income tax because you wouldn’t get an unbiased response. But the governor of Minnesota is taking his cues from cops, who have no business writing the laws or crafting policy particularly in regards to drug enforcement.