Law enforcement and marijuana reform normally do not go well together. In my home state of Oregon, whenever marijuana is on the ballot, members of law enforcement are always the ones leading the opposition. This is not uncommon, as that's usually the case just about anywhere marijuana reform is being pursued. So it's very significant when a police chief comes out in support of marijuana legalization, especially when it's from a city in the Midwest. Per Madison.Com:
Madison Police Chief Mike Koval endorsed the legalization of marijuana last week, saying the drug should be regulated and taxed, with revenues used to fund treatment programs for harder drugs.
The comments came during an interview with the State Journal Wednesday about data showing African-Americans in Madison were arrested or cited for marijuana offenses at about 12 times the rate of whites in the city.
Koval called efforts to enforce laws against marijuana an "abject failure," and said the same about the broader war on drugs. "We've done such an abysmal job using marijuana as a centerpiece of drug enforcement, that it's time to reorder and triage the necessities of what's more important now," Koval said.
I tip my hat to Mr. Koval. It's not easy to be a sitting police chief and come out in support of marijuana legalization. It's refreshing to see a leading member of law enforcement from a Midwest state come out with such sensible comments. Marijuana legalization is overdue in Madison, in Wisconsin as a whole, and beyond. It's time cities, states, and the federal government recognized that marijuana prohibition has failed, and that it's time for a new approach.