Latest Drug War Tragedy Reemphasizes Need For Marijuana Legalization

On Friday the government’s war on marijuana consumers claimed yet another victim.

In Las Vegas, Nevada, metro police shot and killed a 21-year-old father-to-be while serving a search warrant for marijuana.

Phil Smith at has detailed coverage here.

A 21-year-old father-to-be was killed last Friday night by a Las Vegas Police Department narcotics officer serving a search warrant for marijuana. Trevon Cole was shot once in the bathroom of his apartment after he made what police described as “a furtive movement.”

Police have said Cole was not armed. Police said Monday they recovered an unspecified amount of marijuana and a set of digital scales. A person identifying herself as Cole’s fiancée, Sequoia Pearce, in the comments section in the article linked to above said no drugs were found.

Pearce, who is nine months pregnant, shared the apartment with Cole and was present during the raid. “I was coming out, and they told me to get on the floor. I heard a gunshot and was trying to see what was happening and where they had shot him,” Pearce told KTNV-TV.

According to police, they arrived at about 9 p.m. Friday evening at the Mirabella Apartments on East Bonanza Road, and detectives knocked and announced their presence. Receiving no response, detectives knocked the door down and entered the apartment. They found Pearce hiding in a bedroom closet and took her into custody. They then tried to enter a bathroom where Cole was hiding. He made “a furtive movement” toward a detective, who fired a single shot, killing Cole.

… According to Pearce and family members, Cole had no criminal record, had achieved an Associate of Arts degree, and was working as an insurance adjustor while working on a political science degree at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He was not a drug dealer, Pearce said.

“Trevon was a recreational smoker. He smoked weed, marijuana. That’s what he did,” she told KTNV-TV. “They didn’t have to kill him. We were supposed to get married next year, plan a black and white affair,” she said. “He was all I ever knew, we were gonna make it.”

In May, NORML blogged about another sickening case — that one from Columbia, Missouri (you can watch the disturbing and graphic video here) — of ‘cops gone wild’ in the war on weed. But the similarities between the two cases go beyond narcotics officers breaking down the doors of private residences and discharging their weapons.

In both instances, these tragic raids took place in regions of the country that have ‘decriminalized’ marijuana possession. That’s right. In Nevada, lawmakers in 2001 enacted statewide legislation defelonizing minor marijuana possession — making the offense a fine-only misdemeanor. (Separately, Nevada voters in 2000 decided to amend the state’s constitution to exempt medical users from arrest.) And in 2004, some 60 percent of Columbia, Missouri voters approved a local ordinance that sought to prohibit local cops from from arresting anyone for simple marijuana possession.

Yet, as the above tragedies illustrate, neither of these ‘half-a-loaf’ changes in law (decriminalization and medicalization) ultimately corrects the core problem and that is this: Police and politicians still accept the premise that this level of deadly force is appropriate to keep people from using marijuana.

That is why, while on the one hand NORML (obviously) supports cannabis medicalization and decriminalization efforts, we also recognize that these efforts fall woefully short for many Americans. After all, police in Las Vegas, Columbia, and elsewhere are not forcefully entering private homes and terrorizing families while executing search warrants for alcohol.  But they are engaging in such behavior in communities that have medicalized and/or decriminalized marijuana. And unfortunately, they will continue to do so.

In short, the only way to fully protect all our citizens from these kinds of abhorrent events is through the legalization and regulation of marijuana for all adults.

Decriminalization and medicalization are first steps — not the end game. Ultimately only legalization and regulation can bring a long overdue end to the brutal war on marijuana consumers.

169 thoughts

  1. Holy Smokes. Tragic. Reckless & Un-called for. Excess use of force? Lord, The kid was smoking pot in his home.


  2. Please Mr. Drug Czar stop lying. There is a war going on against marijuana consumers. Please stop the WAR! Don’t tell the American people that you ended the drug war until this madness ends.

  3. Sickening. This has been happening for decades but it is nice to see people paying attention.

  4. @Rock – “America , The home of the free and land of the brave. Thats not true since we have no real freedoms. Legalize the problem and solve it with a regulated solution.”

    a lot of you people dont understand how redundant you all sound, saying that the country cares nothing about your freedoms… you are all protected by the first amendment of the constitution to say such things.

    and i dont smoke pot. im for legalization for distribution solely from the government. this way we can pay off a lot of debt. but seriously, dont you all realize legalization of marijuana will result in higher prices for less amounts, even less potent mixtures? and sales tax? enjoy it while its still illegal, despite these isolated incidents.

  5. * NORML – Do not let this go UNCHALLENGED !

    And yet the Rapist, Murderer, Robber, Gang Members, and CORRUPT POLITICIANS go free or get reduced sentences.

    This young man is DEAD because he wanted to smoke a FRIGGEN PLANT. A FRIGGEN PLANT !!! Life wasted in the preservation of a law based on ignorance, fear, and unbridled arrogance.


  6. well, the way I look at it if he wasn’t involved with illegal drugs in the first place, this wouldn’t have happened. Cops don’t go in to shoot people..but they have to worry about their own safety and their counterparts. Someone narced on his butt, another drug user (probably), so they did their job. His actions started the situation and unfortunately it ended bad. And a normal user never has their own scales, only dealers..I understand the life, been there done that…

  7. Where is the violence in the drug community comin from? Maybe because it is an illegal drug they are sellin. There is no reduction in demand so we need a supply. Just because you make it illegal I can make a conscious decision that I aint hurtin nobody. I dont go through a list of laws and pick and choose which to break. I along with 1/2 the country tried it and I was among the chosen that realized this was gods gift to man before electricty was invented.

    America is a young country we started from very good principles and when a select few try to dictate what the masses can and cant do it wont last. If the majority of this country believe a law should not be a law we can change it. We can ask our politicians where they stand on the subject and we can tell them if we will vote for them or not.

  8. Oh my gosh its really getting scary. I don’t understand this at all. They are protecting people from their self by arresting them for smoking weed but them use deadly force? Uh I think the marijuana is safer. It won’t bust into your house in the middle of the night and shoot and kill you or your pets. Something had better be done and fast.

  9. Oh the anger that courses these veins as I read of my people’s woes. Sad is it that we live in these times where government thugs are our worst of enemies! The time we rise is now, but how to do this without throwing one stone? Perhaps we’ll rise when we have nothing left to lose? A man had to die for us to get this pissed off. I ask, how does a man like me with a family and job rise to the occasion and not lose these, along with my life? If for a day, millions of us walked out of our jobs and gathered in our city streets and protested, perhaps that would gain some attention. The battle has been long, but we will NOT step aside!

  10. This should be a top headline national news story and there should be national outrage!! A shotgun at close range??? On an unarmed man? No video of this one I bet…

  11. This is ridiculous. It’s time for the people to take action. The best way to address this issue is to contact your local representatives. As strenuous as it sounds, the BEST way to do this is through a “hand written letter”. Politicians and such read letters more than you would think. I watched a seminar on how to do this: Write a formal letter voicing your opinion, anger, or what have you. Next make a copy of the original letter and send it a few days after the original.
    -The next thing that we need to do is inform the uneducated. Tell your friends(primarily those who don’t smoke smoke and would otherwise not hear about this story) about this and similar injustices

  12. No words can express my sympathy.

    This enrages me to no end.

    All the police that were involved should be fired, and prosecuted. Starting with the supervisors, and down to the guy who fired the fatal shot.

  13. why are we not marching on dc? the internet is great at making peaple aware but we must stand and march on dc make them listen to us not just rally i mean march we are the boss we the peaple this has to stop the goverment should fear its peaple not the other way around cops are peaple to they bleed like we do we must not have fear

  14. W!T!F!

    I think it’s become the time when We, the People, need to start fixing this kind of shit ourselves – since it’s painfully (fatally) obvious that our Employees refuse to do so.

    Make a Citizen’s Arrest on these cops – when they resist, subject them to the same punishment they hand out – if they don’t survive the experience, oh well, they shouldn’t have resisted.

    Perhaps when “they” have to start choking down a bit of their own medicine, they’ll wake the f*ck up.

  15. I will sleep better tonight knowing our communities are safe from the horrible evils of cannabis users. Now if we could just get the drunks off the road, and quit giving hand outs to illegals, and quit pedaling poisonious medications on us…..How sad, how demoralizing, how tragic, how sickening. This is downright shameful….!!! Please stop this…Please.

  16. Protect and serve, and murder anyone who dosen’t thike like me, Kinda sounds like political extreamism.
    Citizens don’t need anyone to help us that helps like this

  17. As if I needed any additional reasons to hate the politicians and police that continue this insane war against peaceful citizens! This madness has to stop!!!

    We recently had an election here. I decided in advance that I would not vote for anyone that wants to continue marijuana prohibition. But guess what – I was not able to find out the views of any of the candidates on that subject 🙁 So, I didn’t vote. This is just so wrong!

    I think a lot of us would like to vote for pro-marijuana candidates, but what can we do when that information is not made available???

  18. Peaceful Threat #33:

    “If this is the war on drugs, and the government is employing all their tactics to kill/imprison innocent people, why aren’t people fighting back full force?”

    I think I can answer that question – easily! They have tremendous power on their side. Think David vs Goliath where Goliath is our well armed police force. They buy their weapons of destruction with our tax money, and money they get by confiscating personal belongings of their victims, and use it become ever stronger.

    In a fair fight, the average peaceful marijuana smoker doesn’t have the slightest chance of winning…

    That’s why I want more people to start using what is the primary weapon of a good citizen – the vote. We need to get rid of the politicians that support continued prohibition. We need to start identifying them and making their names very public! They are the enemy of peaceful freedom loving Americans!

  19. yea Ange said it in one

    and i thought we defeated the nazis in WW2, this shit is not acceptable, and u wonder why ppl HATE the police…yea how many ppl got the crap kicked out of em in custody, how many have been tazered and died, how man shot, how many constitutional rapes have been commited, far far too many, RISE UP PPL, TAKE BACK CONTROL OF YOUR COUNTRY, abolish private prisons too, 500 bucks to 5k per DAY per prisoner yea no wonder these swine dont want to get rid of prohibition, LEAP FTW

  20. Nothing will be done about this because NORML isn’t in Nevada anymore.

    Come back NORML, we need you!



  22. It just goes to show that the cops being federal, state, and local do not serve the people any more. I have been the U.S. Army for nearly ten years now and still do not feel like I serve the people. I serve the politicians for their own greed and beliefs, and that is why I am getting out next summer to finish my 4 year degree and start law school so I can take the fight to the crooked politicians who have taken a strangle hold my my country men and women. This poor kid and his family; I hope we start throwing the police responsible for these tactics in jail instead of firing them. If justice someday does not prevail for me and my country then it will only be a matter of time before a REVOLUTION is in the midst. And, when that time comes, I will again pick up the gun to fight for the PEOPLE, and not the crooks.

  23. You know the worst part? People still think this shit is ok, that it works. One day, I hope to see the looks on all of those bastards faces when they’re proven wrong, when they see the faces of the people whose blood is on their hands.

  24. You know the worst part? People still think this shit is ok, that it works. One day, I hope to see the looks on all of those bastards faces when they’re proven wrong, when they see the faces of the people whos blood is on their hands.

  25. OK if this isnt negligence what is? I hope these survivors get a lawyer and sue the pants off of these cities its one of the only ways to put an end to these atrocities. hit em where it counts

  26. I really appreciate all the insight from all our brothers and sisters out there on this issue of government scoundralism and corruption.
    I say lets all pick a date to march on washington, d.c.
    Another thought would be for all of us good people who are really, really sick and tired of this scoundralous and corrupted government bullshit againgt us should form a revolutionary commity to take care of these governmental unit bastards!
    Lets get thier names and post big wanted posters of the government thugs who are responsible for these inhumane acts against us
    Why wait?
    Then another thought would be to form LYNCH MOBS.
    I say hang those government sons of bitches by their nut sack, big toes and ears, atop the empire state building or wherever appropriate and let them wiggle their way out of it like a stinking dirty pig, or a snake in the grass!
    Another approach to consider would be for (how ever many millions of us are out there) to FILE LAWSUITS AGAINST THE FEDERAL, STATE, COUNTY AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS CHARGING THEM WITH THE INJUSTICES THAT THEY HAVE BESTOWED UPON US, on the same date, lets say, between NOW AND NOVEMBER 1, 2010, AND DEMAND JUSTICE!
    Who knows, maybe this would BREAK THE SYSTEM or they can give in to the desires and common good of the people!
    We can win this fight without violence or firing a shot! Keep it legal!
    As far as the comment from #56 jama bama is concerned, I THINK YOU SHOULD BE FIRST IF THERE IS A LYNCHING!
    You know how those rabbits and hares multiply, so let my thoughts and preyers also multiply expediately!!
    Does anyone catch my drift?

  27. END marijuana prohibition!

    END marijuana prohibition!

    END marijuana prohibition!

    –END marijuana prohibition!

    END marijuana prohibition!

  28. If a MARCH ON washington d.c. doesn’t work the first time around,
    then the next time around may be
    Either they can give us what we want!
    We can give them what they are asking for!

  29. If you can afford to pay some astronomical price for a little pinch of bud, I would say to stop paying that astronomical price anymore and use the money to GET THOSE LAWSUITS FILED!!!

  30. How, in this “great” country of ours is it possible to completely have your basic rights completely ravaged like they never existed. America decides to kill over canabis. America has said with its actions that it doesn’t care about the medical users, it doesn’t care about the recreational users, it doesn’t care about users. If we really learned the horrors of “Prohibition” we wouldn’t be doing this. We teach in school that Prohibition of Alchohol was a mistake, and so is this Prohibition of Cannabis. You can call it whatever you want, but its

  31. just plain wrong, and one of the biggest mistakes that this country has ever made. We all need to fight harder to correct it.

  32. Let’s not forget that we the people need to get a new law in the books to HOLD POLITICIANS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR CAMPAIGN PROMISES!
    I say we should make the END MARIJUANA PROHIBITION issue a new question of priority for those political candidates, and vote accordingly! If the campaigners tell us they are for ENDING MARIJUANA PROHIBITION (or whatever they might promise), but after they get our votes and are elected and then do a 180 degree turn from what they claimed in order to get our votes, then the new law on the books should call for immediate expulsion from political office of the elected official. NO EXCEPTIONS!
    This should be a mandatory new rule to follow as a guide line for upcoming political constituents all across every front!

  33. WTF? This is a war on the people! This should never have happened. I am mortified because of a “trigger happy” cop. This cop must be so damn proud of himself. Never had a record, only sold to someone 3 times. When is this madness going to STOP! !

  34. Police are trained in paramilitary tactics; indeed usually police officers are prior military personnel, so it’s easy to see why they shoot for the kill. They are trained to do so, they’re all hyped up for action. Not only that, they resent peoples hatred for them both in their law enforcement career and in their military career. They believe they are the voice of reason, the sane, the elite. In reality they are typically unreasonable, ruled by anger, and sub moral in that they disregard the unalienable rights of the human race. They have tasers at their disposal, pepper filled paintball guns, rubber bullets, tear gas, but yet they use deadly force, “lead slugs”. They are nothing but paid murderers backed by an increasingly evil governmental body.
    Police have killed tens of thousands of innocent citizens, countless non citizens at our boarders or during “war time”. Simple application of logic indicate some police must “want” to kill people, they kill for the thrill. It’s obvious some police officers are bored with the patrols, bored with the $40,000 a year salary, aggravated with the ignorant domestic calls, in short, getting in gun fights is what makes it exciting to be an officer of the law and they will use any excuse to pull their gun and shoot something.
    Police are known for their raids It’s just that instead of killing African Americans at peace rallies or Latinos searching for work. Now, they kick in the door of anyone ole person. When they shoot you, they pull out their UV lights and wipe the walls, say you were intoxicated with alcohol, they say you were charging them with a knife or gun, then as you lay there with four slugs in your chest you die realizing the only witness are “officers of the law”… the only witnesses are “officers of the law”.

    Next time you smoke some cannabis, don’t forget your bullet proof vest. Welcome to the United States of the Nazi Republic.

  35. Why must a life be lost? Because this military state needs funding. I love my country, but I sure do hate it’s government.

  36. Stop killing innocent people because they smoke cannabis! This is so sad, to happen because these police are gun happy and have to get that cannabis smoker, never mind the meth dealer or the crack dealer, they have to get that pot smoker . Never mind the people and their familys that get caught up in this and this goverment that is gun and cannabis crazy ! This goverment is so brain dead they don’t care, that they are hurting the citizens of this country. We are being treated like we are terrorist and i for one do not like it!There are more things that these so called police can do,instead of this war on cannabis.

  37. Unfortunately, the violence of the Mexican Cartels will have to spread to a nationwide epidemic in this country for our corrupt government to legalize marijuana here. Grow your own, with seeds, spread the weed as far as you can. It will be when the violent portions of our society establish superiority over the government that the government will admit what they have known all along; that the war on drugs is wrong and is only done for corporate interests of the pharmaceutical, oil, cotton, and timber industries.

  38. “And a normal user never has their own scales, only dealers..”


  39. The only thing that we can conclude from those stories is that despite years and years of soft talking,decriminalization and tolerance,talking of legalisation,despite years and years of NORML existence and political actions and what have you,
    Looks to me NORML is still going to be around in 100 years from now. So, the bottom line is don’t send money to NORMl because NOTHING WILL CHANGE FOR REAL.
    Yes you’ll hear a lot of gossips but thats about it

  40. This is such a tragedy! I hope justice is served to all involved, although it will never bring back the man who will never know his child and will be reared by only the mother.

    We have a HUGE oil spill going on, and the cops are worried about cannabis? WTF?

    I hope all that are commenting are members of NORML, if not, PONY UP for a membership!

  41. Obviously, it is time to be ready to shoot first than be shot dead for nothing. It is decriminalized in the state!! Why the f$#k would they be shooting an unarmed citizen when he did not do anything against the LAW!!

  42. This is so horrible, but I am happy to see that my outrage is shared by the people here. I called one of the numbers one of the commenters posted about how to reach this police station. I could tell they were annoyed with my call. Well, I’m fucking “annoyed” that they killed another human being for smoking a safe, beneficial plant. Whoever shot this man should go to prison for the rest of his life, that’s the bottom line.

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