September 2, 2014

Myth: Oregon Police Resources Aren’t Spent On Marijuana Enforcement

September 2, 2014
oregon measure 91 marijuana legalization

oregon measure 91 marijuana legalizationMarijuana opponents claim that cops aren’t really focused on enforcing marijuana prohibition, so that marijuana legalization isn’t needed. That claim is blatantly false. Quite a bit of resources are dedicated towards busting people for marijuana in Oregon. These same resources could go towards fighting real crime, but they are instead directed towards enforcing a failed, harmful, racist policy.

An example that I always offer up is when the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a woman who stated that her ex-husband was pounding on her door and making threats. The woman had a restraining order against the man, and it was known that he was violent. The dispatcher told the woman that there wasn’t anyone to send. The end result was that the man strangled and raped the woman. Meanwhile, a raid of a medical marijuana dispensary was occuring not too far away, which involved 70 officers from surrounding areas, including Josephine County Sheriff Deputies. Clearly there is an issue.

Below is more information about this issue, per the New Approach Oregon campaign:

More than half of the drug-related arrests and citations made in Oregon are for marijuana. (Source: Oregon State Police, page 4-10). In 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, 21,856 people were arrested or cited for drug crimes, and 12,808 of them were for marijuana.

Marijuana-related policing has a huge cost. Police time is required  to search, arrest, book, issue a ticket or lock someone up.  In addition to the financial cost, every marijuana arrest and citation takes time that a police officer could have used patrolling a neighborhood, preventing an assault or solving a violent crime. Then there’s also the cost to the individuals, who will now have a marijuana crime on their records and may have trouble finding a job. Treating adult marijuana use as a crime is a drain on our resources.


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