Arizona: Government Money Used To Oppose Marijuana Legalization

It is hardly a secret to any long observing advocate for cannabis law reform to recognize early on in their efforts to end cannabis prohibition that if it were not for government–federal, state and local governments–spending, there would be relatively few examples of private money being employed in the last forty-five years to try to maintain the status quo of cannabis prohibition.

The tens of billions spent annually to keep the Reefer Madness going in America largely is taxpayer-funded bureaucracies such as the so-called drug czar’s office, DEA, NIDA, SAMHSA, DARE, PDFAblahblahblah.

Even in the face of this tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars annually, still, a majority of the US public rejects the policy of cannabis prohibition.

Unbelievably, the drug czar’s office actually mandates that the office must use tax funding to publicly oppose cannabis legalization efforts–even though such is no longer a popularly supported public policy.

Add one more prime example of cannabis prohibitionists in government not yielding to the will of voters, and worse, rather than pool their own private funding to advance their no-longer-popular-views, they want the taxpayers to pick up the bill of their anti-cannabis advocacy.

Arizona voters approved a medical cannabis initiative in 2010. Many in the law enforcement community in the state, including prosecutors, have consistently opposed implementing the change of policies and/or still harass medical cannabis producers or patients.

They’re sore losers.

Now, consistent with large swaths of the country, Arizona voters are organizing once again in the state to place a full cannabis legalization initiative on the ballot for 2016.

What is the reaction from some in the law enforcement community in Arizona to the prospects of citizens again instructing their workers what public policies they want them to enforce?

Sure, law enforcement personnel are citizens too, and their opinions are as meaningful as any other citizens’, however, law enforcement personnel who oppose the public’s will on changes of public policy should never employ taxpayer funding to try to sway the populace or propagandize–on matters ranging from police wearing body cameras, to forfeiture reform to cannabis legalization.

Well that is not at all happening currently in Yavapai County Arizona, where the local prosecutor Shelia Polk thinks it wise and prudent to steer forfeiture money derived from the criminal justice system (with most of the proceeds coming to law enforcement from currently illegal drug profits seized in previous criminal filings) to propagandize to voters that they should not vote to end cannabis prohibition in the state.

Ever hear law enforcement roll out the tired ol’ line of “we don’t make the laws, we only enforce them?”

It’s largely a lie (I mean…prevarication).

Police and prosecutors (aided and abetted by fellow pot prohibitionists wearing white coats at NIDA, for example) regularly, using taxpayers’ money, actively seek to influence the outcome of public policy legislation, court cases and voter initiatives that seek to reform cannabis laws.

It is pretty simple at this point in the now five-decade-old public effort to end cannabis prohibition, if police and prosecutors want to defend the status quo of a failed and unpopular public policy, then, if they really cared about the issue, they’d put their own skin in the game by organizing as private citizens.

If prosecutors, cops, narcs, sheriffs and chiefs of police want to pony up their own money to try to stave off cannabis prohibition ending in their lifetimes–go for it.

Reformers will more than match them dollar-for-dollar and are always spoiling for a good debate about wisdom for rationale continuing cannabis prohibition…and we’ve got the public on our side, they no longer do.

What can not and should not happen anymore in the modern public policy debate about whether America should or should not continue another nearly eighty-years with cannabis prohibition enforcement are government officials and law enforcement personnel using their power of the purse and bully pulpit to try to persuade voters on ANY matters of public policy–let alone on policies where conflicts of interest are as obvious as prosecutors using government money to oppose the will of local voters who’re seeking to reform unpopular laws.

Cannabis law reformers can and will win a fair fight on cannabis legalization, but, the impending political victory will be delayed if government officials are permitted to continue to use taxpayer funding to oppose the very will of the voters.

Government for and by the people? Not when government officials are sore losers and want to use government funding to try to tip the scales of public opinion.

When government stops spending taxpayer dollars to keep cannabis prohibition going, the unpopular policy will die an ignominious and swift death.

Editor’s note: Thankfully, late yesterday AZ’s Attorney General came to reconsider this blundering policy of allowing government funding to be used to campaign against cannabis legalization efforts in the state.

19 thoughts

  1. Law enforcement officers have more than a conflict of interest on this matter. They want to keep lining the police budgets with ill gotten gains that are converted into more police related jobs. When florida held the marijuana debate before the midterm elections one of the main debaters was a county sheriff. Our system is proving over and over again that it is a misguided broken system. The police and justice system keep showing us the benefits of having prisons for profit and probation for profit systems. Start putting these money grabbing police departments under scrutiny like having citizen watchers observing our police and politicians. Give them the right to do behind closed door deals and they will. Your boss has the right to watch you when you are working so you should have the right to watch these public servants work for the people. I am sure less underhanded dealings and deceptive practices will take place when they are watched.

  2. Stop the madness, get up Arizona and spank those who waste our money on senseless endeavors that the majority say is wrong, WTF,,, why are they not getting IT.

  3. AZ has some of the harshest “drug crime” penalties and sentencing in America with prisons overrun with drug convicts and distorted budgets, making the state, in drug-war respect, as regressed as southern states like Mississippi and Alamama.

  4. I wish America wasn’t so corrupted by money.

    Legalize Cannabis Freedom

    “If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

    ? Samuel Adams

  5. Most drugs of abuse suppress neurogenesis Only Cannabis promotes Neurogenesis

    Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants

    Patents on Cannabis Curing Cancer

    Cannabis and Neurogenesis

  6. This sort of thing ought to be illegal, if not already unconstitutional. Using government funds to take a political positions seems to me like voter intimidation, if not interference with freedom of speech.

  7. Since various organizations are able to use our tax dollars to campaign against legalization, then those of us that want to campaign for legalization should get an equal share of those dollars!

    It is incredible that law enforcement is able to take our stuff ($$$) and then use it against us. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “This is NOT my idea of America!”.

    Because of rampant corruption among various Govt officials, our country is truly ruled by the rich; you know, the 1% that care only for themselves… How much longer can this crap go on before our civilization up and collapses? I think the first thing that will be a major clue is when money becomes worthless and everyones savings disappears suddenly. If things don’t change drastically, I believe this is what we will experience in the next 10 years or so if we continue the idiotic war against people who choose to use cannabis. Yes – I think it is that serious!

  8. Consider how these anti-drug groups got started back in the 1980’s. Parents, and school administrators etc, came running, and crying to the government;” waaa waa my kid is smoking pot please help.” Our government gave those groups everything they wanted, not just on a silver platter, but on a golden one! Did you ever see any of these anti-drug hate group people standing on a street corner holding homemade signs or trying to get signatures on a petition?

  9. It sounds like this funding may pose a problem for Arizona, who nearly passed medical marijuana reform. Of the six or seven states trying to legalize marijuana in 2016, what does NORML Consider to be the top 3 most important steps to get legalization legislation passed? In other words, what three states do you believe would most likely influence marijuana legalization across the nation? Perhaps California, Massachusetts, and one other? I sincerely hope that Arizona is able to overcome this challenge and legalize marijuana in 2016.

  10. In my previous statement, it should have said that the citizens barely passed the medical marijuana ballot initiative. I use voice recognition because typing is very painful. Sorry for the “typo”. I hope this comment makes sense. Thank you.

  11. Well that explains why Dr. Sisley got fired from the University of Arizona before she could take her research on PTSD to the FDA. Arizona law enforcement IS the cartel, peddling our tax dollars and asset forfeitures over a criminal drug and arms enterprise.

    I wouldnt go “good cop bad cop” on private industries “v.” The government Drug War machine. Either-or arguments are most often answered by both and more. There had to be an investing motivation from the private industries that profit from prohibition to write bad laws like the CSAct. While NIDA and the ONDCP using our tax dollars to battle legalization is as downright evil as the Sherrif’s Association stalling the legalization bill here in Texas last week on our tax dime, let ‘s not forget the kickbacks from Arizona and Texas private prison owners, drug testing clinics and detention centers. Yeah big pharma and the Petro-tycoon Koch brothers have valuable patents to lose, but they’re making commercial investments in preparation for inevitable legalization so the private industries are looking for a patentable “legalized” prohibition, where marinol and only certain products get to be legal. As Oracle once said however, “it’s too late for that.” Recreational marijuana is working too well. I just gotta post this link again;

    The Hubris of the Texas Sherrif’s Association just cracks me up. “But… But… The marijuana is so good in Colorado it ‘s outselling Mexican cartel weed.” I wonder what the good Sherrif was thinking when the audience started applauding? The gig is up? Should he just raise up his fingers like Nixon and yell “i’m not a crook!” And exit stage left? (Jeez, no wonder Nixon’s Drug Czar added executive priviledge to the CSAct; some of these cops are dumb as a box of rocks!)

    Agreed that at the root of all the evil in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 is the Unconstitutional imbalance of powers that Congress gave to the executive branch to write drug policy. Give cops, the drug czar and our chief law enforcer, the attorney general the ability to do the job of Congress and lobby/write drug policy using our tax dollars from a drug budget that prioritizes enforcement and interdiction over education and treatment and what’s the first thing the DEA amends to it?

    Asset forfeitures.

    So as if letting some Drug Czar Nixon conjured up after visiting Communist China write the CSAct wasnt bad enough, now every prosecutor in America has a conflict of interest with the DOJ agencies, city and state governments and law enforcement that directly benefit from the asset forfeitures in question, amounting in billions of dollars in vehicles, property, cash and weapons that are used further to kickback campaign “donations” (bribery) to Congressman and Judges even during a pending case. (That’s illegal, by the way, but since law enforcement, prosecutors and judges work so closely together it happens all the time… All it takes is one bad judge…)

    As a result of 45 years of this police state Communist drug policy diguised as a Democracy, Defendants of drug cases have to appeal their cases to a Federal Court just to get their case out of the review of Judges who directly benefit and profit from the asset forfeitures in the pending, open case!

    Then you have Reagan’s mandatory minimums on nonviolent possessions pleasing private prison owner’s just to meet their quotas. Fear-mongering campaigns getting “tough on crime” even convinced black Congressman whose constituents were being incarcerated up to 8 times more than their white friends for consuming the same amount of drugs. Socioeconomic inequality festered under the trickle-down Reaganomics of 80s drug policy, with one little law preventing the disclosure of serial tracking numbers of U.S. Weapons sales to anyone but the ATF. Drug warriors had nothing to fear selling weapons to warring cartels and governments alike, leading up to the Fast and Furious scandal under the Obama administration. (Yes, he had to use that executive priviledge to save him from a few stupid cops and ATF agents in Arizona too. A few thousand Innocent Mexucans get killed from U.S. Weapons and its a drug war, but when a DEA agent gets killed on “vacation” wearing kevlar snd a badge, NOW its a scandal. Republicans were ready to crucify Obama when Senator McCain was like… “Not so fast, the spotlight could turn on us too!”)

    Bush Sr. and Jr. continued the drug war into Latin America and Afghanistan so that mercinaries and NATO troops can block the roads while DEA agents dressed as local police can “eradicate” the poppy and coke fields conveniently at harvest time.

    Bill Clinton was no better, adding the DEA’s Special Operations Division that uses “parallel” or fabricated evidence to beef up the charges and prosecute without due process. I mean why even try to do any real investigative police work when you can just threaten 10 to life off of some made up “evidence” that no one will know is fake unless the defendant is brave enough to appeal? That’s not only a waste of tax payer’s money, that’s an act of treason.

    I don’t see an end to prohibition without completely tossing out the CSAct and starting from scratch. NORML legal team? Up for the chsllenge?

  12. We absolutely must identify and remove from office all of the politicians who want to continue the war on weed and the people who consume it. We must demand an end to the ‘civil asset forfeiture’ program which has turned law enforcement into criminals, who take from people who haven’t committed a single crime. It’s theft and it has created a giant divide between the citizens and the police. Washington D.C. has turned them into cold blooded killers, thieves, rapists and sadists. Identify and vote them out ! The ‘warhawks’ need to go first.

  13. @Allen St. Pierre

    Now that’s tellin’ ’em !

    Polish your brass…they deserve the shine…Well said, Mr. Pierre.

    “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will” – Frederick Douglass

  14. @Julian, minor correction for your paragraph on Asset Forfeitures:

    “… now every prosecutor in America has a COLLUSION of interest with the DOJ agencies, city and state governments and law enforcement that directly benefit from the asset forfeitures in question”.

    Conflict of interest does however exist– inside the soul (brain?) of any prosecutor who has a residue of sincerity about vows undertaken to serve justice?

    In a May 15 comment to the H. Clinton article, you mention ATF, I thought it would be instructive to point out how conflict of interest of that ministry regarding cannabis legalization differentiates from the other agencies– those BEEP Benefit from Employment Enforcing Prohibition of cannabis, whereas ATF gets paid for Regulating alcohol, tobacco, firearms– and guess what, cannabis legalization could suddenly drasticly REDUCE sales, use and abuse of those things and terminate a hell of a lot of $$ Employment regulating them!

    Not that there aren’t proposals to let ATF also Regulate cannabis, a big new ATFC or whatever– maybe that will keep them Paid and happy? (Paidgettinism is the Root of all Religions! Pay unto others as you would have them Pay unto you.)

  15. @Mexweed,

    Thanks for the correction; Fortunately cannabis activists are becoming fluent enough in Legalese to recognize the burden of truth… Even while many in Congress continue to turn a blind eye.
    Cameras sure don’t lie! Not only are we catching law enforcement corruption on the scene and in the streets, but that video I posted of the head of the Sherrif’s Association is an example of an obstruction of Justice, collusion between law enforcement and the state legislature to influence legislation with the use of tax payer funds, not to mention some pretty blatant lies and propaganda about cannabis in general.

    I can’t wait for some of these questions involving LatAm corruption of the DOJ to be raised in the debates. Jorge Ramos from Univision has been sharpening his pencil, and a growing Latino voting presence combined with less censored pressure from LatAm governments has opened up Univision to asking the more relevant questions about DOJ corruption. You know for sure even the American press can’t respect CIA censorship when it comes to sex scandals in the DOJ!

  16. “All it takes is one bad judge.”

    Yeah, more like an entire branch of judges that don’t have the balls to confront this bullshit.

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