Police want cannabis legalization
Police want cannabis legalization

Two Police Groups Now Say Please Legalize Weed, It Would Protect Our Youth, Help Road Safety, and Combat Addiction and Psychosis

The ship has sailed on cannabis so let's get a correct program in place says Police groups.

Posted by:
HighChi on Wednesday Jun 5, 2024

cops want weed legalized

Two significant West Coast police groups have changed their attitude and now favor federal cannabis legalization, marking a historic first for a statewide police officers' association campaigning for the repeal of marijuana prohibition. In a recent statement dubbed a "historic shift," the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) and the Oregon Coalition of Police and Sheriffs (ORCOPs) backed federal legislation to legalize marijuana worldwide.


“The ship has sailed,” PORAC stated in a policy paper referenced by SFGATE, advocating for federal cannabis legalization. “For the vast majority of Americans, cannabis is legal and accessible.”


These groups speak for thousands of law enforcement officers in California and Oregon. The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act is something that both police groups favor, according to a statement from the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (CPEAR), which receives funding from the alcohol and tobacco industries. Should this proposal become law, it would modify the federal Controlled Substances Act by granting an exception for cannabis-related operations that comply with state or tribal laws.


“The STATES Act embodies what every federal bill should strive for – enabling all 50 states to thrive under the policies they select,” stated Andrew Freedman, CPEAR executive director, when the group endorsed the STATES Act last year. “Regardless of whether one supports or opposes legalization, it’s clear that the current federal stance of ignoring the issue isn’t effective.”


“This bill will establish sensible safeguards to protect our youth, ensure road safety, combat addiction and psychosis, and prevent cannabis from entering communities that oppose it,” he continued. “The legalization doesn’t seek to create new cannabis markets. Rather, it aligns federal policy with state policies, making existing cannabis markets safer and allowing federal efforts to focus on keeping cannabis out of states where it remains illegal.”


California Police Group Initially Opposed Prop 64


The Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), the largest police officers' professional organization in California and the largest statewide group in the nation, initially opposed Proposition 64, the 2016 ballot measure that legalized recreational marijuana in California, which passed with over 57% of the vote. However, as cannabis became normalized in the state, the perception of many members evolved, leading the organization to change its stance on legal weed.


“Many officers patrolling the streets today have only known a California with legalized marijuana,” PORAC president Brian Marvel told SFGATE. “They are much more open to discussions about marijuana.”


Marvel explained that the STATES Act would enable federal agencies to coordinate directly with local law enforcement to support legal cannabis farms while reducing unlicensed cultivation.


“We’re not making a moral judgment on whether you should use cannabis or not, but we want to ensure the illegal market isn’t undermining legal cannabis businesses,” Marvel said.


“We must do everything possible to eradicate illegal grows in California,” he added.


Marvel also noted that the policy shift by the police groups is relevant to the ongoing conversation about psychedelics policy reform. He mentioned that many members are more focused on the safe use of these substances rather than their continued prohibition.


“Let’s not bury our heads in the sand and insist on pure enforcement,” Marvel said. “We should focus on violent crimes and making our communities safer.”


The policy change by PORAC and the Oregon Coalition of Police and Sheriffs (ORCOPs) was praised by leaders working to reform national cannabis policy. Republican U.S. Representative Dave Joyce of Ohio, a supporter of the updated STATES 2.0 Act, thanked the police groups for their endorsement.


“As a former prosecutor, I know that law enforcement officers are already stretched thin,” Joyce said in a CPEAR announcement. “Forcing them to navigate conflicting state and federal policies undermines state rights and wastes law enforcement resources. Most importantly, it does not enhance public safety and often works against it. The STATES 2.0 Act would resolve this discrepancy and empower law enforcement to effectively enforce cannabis laws and address the unique needs of their communities.”


Representatives of the regulated cannabis industry also welcomed the police groups' support for federal cannabis policy reform. Lex Corwin, founder of California-based cannabis brand Stone Road Farms, said the development reflects the changing ideological landscape surrounding cannabis.


“The California police group is correct – the ship has sailed. More Americans than ever support legalization, and a majority live in states with recreational or medical access,” Corwin wrote in an email. “It’s time for law enforcement to focus on real crimes. With violent crime on the rise, shifting resources from eradicating a harmless plant to solving serious crimes is essential.”


Policymakers and Industry Leaders React to Police Groups' Shift


Policymakers and industry leaders have responded positively to the shift in stance by the two West Coast police groups. Republican U.S. Representative Dave Joyce of Ohio, a key supporter of the updated STATES 2.0 Act, expressed gratitude for the endorsement from PORAC and ORCOPs. Drawing on his experience as a former prosecutor, Joyce emphasized that the current situation, where law enforcement must navigate conflicting state and federal policies, undermines states' rights and misallocates resources. He argued that aligning federal policy with state regulations would enhance public safety by allowing law enforcement to concentrate on more pressing issues. Lex Corwin, founder of Stone Road Farms, noted that this development signifies a broader ideological shift regarding cannabis, stressing that reallocating resources from targeting cannabis to addressing serious crimes would benefit society, especially given the rise in violent crime.


The endorsement from PORAC and ORCOPs is seen as a crucial step toward comprehensive cannabis policy reform at the federal level. Support from these influential police organizations could sway public opinion and provide political cover for lawmakers who might have been hesitant to back legalization efforts. As the cannabis industry continues to grow and more states adopt legal frameworks, aligning federal and state policies could lead to a more cohesive and effective regulatory environment. This change is anticipated to bolster the legal market, reduce the prevalence of illicit operations, and ultimately lead to safer communities across the nation.


Bottom Line


The endorsement of federal cannabis legalization by PORAC and ORCOPs marks a significant shift in the national conversation on marijuana policy. This change reflects evolving perspectives within law enforcement as cannabis becomes normalized across the U.S. By supporting the STATES Act, these influential police organizations advocate for aligning federal and state policies, which could enhance public safety and streamline law enforcement efforts. This development underscores the need for a consistent regulatory approach and is expected to strengthen the legal cannabis market, reduce illicit activities, and allow law enforcement to focus on more critical issues, ultimately leading to safer communities nationwide.





What did you think?

ganja leaf left  Keep reading... click here  ganja leaft right

Please log-in or register to post a comment.

Leave a Comment: