The Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police released results of a survey this week that was full of reefer madness propaganda. The survey suggested that Alaskan Police Chiefs are fearful of marijuana legalization, and offered up some numbers and claims that are unfounded. Alaska will be voting on marijuana legalization in November.
The results of the survey estimated that Alaska law enforcement will need at least 6 million dollars in funding to deal with 'what they believe will be an increase in drug use, specifically among teens and impaired drivers.' Ironically, the survey results were released on the heels of a federal survey which found that marijuana legalization does not increase teen use. Apparently the Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police didn't read the federal survey results recently released by the United States Center for Disease Control.
As far as dealing with impaired drivers, the survey claimed that it would have to train officers to recognize impaired drivers on Alaska's roadways. Last time I checked, impaired driving is already illegal in Alaska, and officers are already arresting people for driving under the influence. How would marijuana legalization change the way officers deal with impaired drivers? Under marijuana prohibition, officers don't know how to identify impaired drivers? That doesn't make any sense at all. Officers would do the same as they have always done - identify impaired drivers and arrest and fine them. Driving under the influence of legal marijuana isn't any different than driving under the influence of illegal marijuana. Am I missing something?
Lets take the six million dollar figure and assume it's accurate, which of course it's not, but for the sake of arguing lets say it's accurate. Right now the State of Alaska spends 14 million dollars annually enforcing marijuana prohibition. That figure alone dwarfs the six million dollar figure offered up by the Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police. Add to that the revenue generated by taxing and regulating marijuana, and it becomes clear that the potential law enforcement and 'social costs' do not outweigh the benefits of marijuana legalization in Alaska.
It's time that the State of Alaska rejected the reefer madness propaganda tactics of the Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police. It's time law enforcement in Alaska focused solely on real crime, and not on arresting and jailing people for a plant that is safer than alcohol. If you want to find out more about the Alaska campaign, click this link here.