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Law enforcement has trouble reconciling modern science with long-held beliefs

Big leafy bud
Big leafy bud
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The DEA chief Michele M. Leonhart recently criticized Obama’s admission that Marijuana is not as harmful as alcohol at an annual meeting of the nation’s sheriffs this week, according to the Boston Herald. Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson told the Herald her remarks drew a standing ovation from the crowd of law enforcement officers longing for someone to validate their outdated and inaccurate beliefs.

“She’s frustrated for the same reasons we are,” Hodgson said. “She said she felt the administration didn’t understand the science enough to make those statements. She was particularly frustrated with the fact that, according to her, the White House participated in a softball game with a pro-legalization group. ... But she said her lowest point in 33 years in the DEA was when she learned they’d flown a hemp flag over the Capitol on July 4. The sheriffs were all shocked. This is the first time in 28 years I’ve ever heard anyone in her position be this candid.”

Leonhart is clearly the one who doesn’t understand the science, especially if she thinks flying a flag made out of the same material we made flags from when our country was founded is some sort of insult to law enforcement. Her frustration is partly from believing the propaganda campaign it’s been her job to propagate and partly from her own selfish desire to continue the lie so as not to make her 33 years enforcing that lie to be a waste. That selfish desire seems to be shared by many in the law enforcement community.

The president of the Major Counties Sheriffs’ Association, the group that sponsored Leonhart’s talk, Sheriff Donny Youngblood feels that admitting the truth now is a slap in the face to those in law enforcement who lost their lives protecting the lie.

“This is a woman who has spent 33 years of her life fighting drug abuse in the DEA, her entire life. To have the president of the United States publicly say marijuana was a bad habit like alcohol was appalling to everyone in that room. I think the way that she felt was that it was a betrayal of what she does for the American people in enforcing our drug laws,” Youngblood said of Leonhart.

What we have due to the progress of marijuana legalization is a law enforcement community reluctant to give up its territory and desperately looking for any excuse they can try to make sound reasonable enough to hold onto their jurisdiction over this plant. What they are actually afraid of is losing funding, and not just by budgets being adjusted to reflect a ban that no longer needs enforcing.

Asset forfeiture laws that allow police to seize property based on mere suspicion of a drug connection has proven quite profitable for police over the years and a lot of forces have grown to rely on this ability for their budgets. Most asset forfeiture laws don’t even require a conviction. Police just take what they want and use or sell it. They are, quite frankly, unconstitutional laws that need to be done away with, anyway.

But law enforcement really loves those old, out-dated, unconstitutional laws. Don’t they?