Want to improve police-citizen relations? Stop arresting people for marijuana. Want to stop wasting taxpayer dollars and diverting the police from more important things? Stop arresting people for marijuana. This too only makes sense. Yet few police forces seem to realize these things and even fewer have the guts to come out and say it. Cathy Lanier, the police chief for Washington DC does, as she recently made this clear to the American News Women’s Club:
“All those [marijuana] arrests do is make people hate us. Marijuana smokers are not going to attack and kill a cop. They just want to get a bag of chips and relax. Alcohol is a much bigger problem. But I’m not policing the city as a mom, I’m policing it as the police chief — and 70 percent of the public supported this.
In other words, she is saying that though marijuana may not always be healthy for its users, arresting people for it will not improve public safety. She is also saying that because so many people use or support the use of marijuana that arresting people will not only not have a positive impact, it will have a negative one by hurting relations between the police and the community.
We agree. If more police forces would focus on crimes and not on marijuana consumption, the world would be a safer and better place.
What do you think?