|Graphic: The Political Junkie|
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak has taken to Minnesota’s airwaves in a misguided attempt to blame violence at the hands of criminal gangs on marijuana consumers.
“When you pay for marijuana, you are paying for the bullet that goes into the head of someone on the streets,” he told the Star Tribune, in one instance of his absurdly inflated rhetoric.
But the mayor’s logic is tragically flawed. By trying to blame violence entirely on marijuana’s consumers, Mayor Rybak is conveniently ignoring the central role in gang violence played by marijuana prohibition and the politicians who support it, according to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).
|Steve Fox, MPP: “The only reason criminals make their money from marijuana is because our current politicians allow them to”|
”The only reason criminals make their money from marijuana is because our current politicians allow them to,” said Steve Fox, director of state campaigns for MPP.
“Like alcohol prohibition in the last century, marijuana prohibition has helped to fuel violent crime in Minnesota and across the country,” Fox said. “Mayor Rybak is out of touch with reality if he does not recognize that prohibition — and any elected official who supports it — is to blame for giving criminals a virtual monopoly on marijuana’s lucrative trade.”
“It is unrealistic to assume we can somehow magically remove the demand for marijuana,” Fox said. “The only true solution is to regulate marijuana, and bring its sale under the rule of law, the same way we ended the criminal violence that stemmed from alcohol prohibition.”
|Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak: “I believe that anyone who buys marijuana… is directly or indirectly giving money to gangs”|
Even Mayor Rybak’s own deputy police chief, Rob Allen, said that violence in the marijuana trade is caused by its prohibition.
“It is illegal to distribute marijuana, so the people distributing marijuana are criminal syndicates that are engaged in very violent activity to protect their turf,” Allen told station KARE 11.
In a recent statement about this topic on a CityPages comment thread, Mayor Rybak wrote “It’s time we finally got honest with each other.”
The Marijuana Policy Project said it couldn’t agree more.
“If the mayor wants to end violence associated with marijuana, he too needs to be honest, and join the growing ranks of those calling for an end to prohibition and the failed policies that drive money into the hands of criminals, and yes, bullets into people’s heads,” Fox said.