Legalizing limited amounts of cannabis for adults over 21 should be saving taxpayers money as police can now focus on actual crimes instead of hassling legal pot users and dispensers. But Colorado’s police chief’s don’t see it that way. Instead, they are insisting on more money to pay for pot cops, which they say are sucking money and officers away from other duties.
Apparently they didn’t get the message: the bill was intended as a way for cops to spend their existing resources on more important things, like actual crimes.
“Many of our local law enforcement agencies have diverted staff from other operations into marijuana enforcement, leaving gaps in other service areas as a direct result of marijuana legalization,” the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police wrote to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper this week.
They argue that they now need more money to enforce stoned driving laws (which have been on the books well before all of this and, frankly, the cops should have been enforcing all along with the budgets they had). They also say they need to create a new computer tracking system solely devoted to marijuana crimes.
In other words: they are losing money due to fewer prosecutions for pot and they don’t want to give up the cushy money that has come with the failed war on drugs. We say screw them, though. Money from legal marijuana shouldn’t go towards funding a police agenda.
The letter was written in response to a budget proposal from Hickenlooper last month that called for only $3 million of marijuana sales tax revenue to go police. The plan also calls for at least $85 million to go towards youth prevention and addiction treatment.
We think NWA said it best all the way back in ’88: