Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Argument For Allowing Police To Consume Cannabis

Police aren’t the enemy, but after prolonged mental health stress, they could conclude that you are.

This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.

Recently, there have been two stories that came to my attention involving the police and drugs. The first is about a MET police commander, who wrote drug enforcement strategy, who took cannabis, LSD, and magic mushrooms. He is now facing “dismissal” due to his misconduct. The second story is about a Texas State trooper that was caught vaping a confiscated marijuana pen in his vehicle. All caught on dash cam.

Both of the individuals in question will either be disciplined or discharged completely.

Prosecutorial Misconduct- The Invisible Problem Behind The Police
Photo by Jose Maria Hernandez/EyeEm/Getty Images

While some were quick to chastise the officers in question, I thought to myself, “They totally should be taking psychedelics and cannabis!” In fact, I believe if this was adopted to a higher degree, we would probably have much better “police-citizen” relations.

This article will walk through my argument for why the police SHOULD be allowed to consume cannabis and even psychedelics, and why it would provide a net benefit to society.

The Job Is Dangerous

When you could be gunned down for simply putting on your uniform, life can be stressful. In fact, the position of “police officer” is often in the top 10 of most stressful jobs. Unfortunately, cops aren’t known for their “destressing” tactics and if we were to look at how the movies portray them, they are typically disgruntled alcoholics trying to drown out all the negative thoughts. Of course, this is not true for all the police, but it’s fairly safe to say that most cops don’t take too much care of their own mental health unless it’s required from them.

Furthermore, when you constantly live in a state of perpetual fear, you would begin to display some form of hostility towards the people you’re supposed to protect. If you don’t know whether the next person you stop has a gun or not, you’d be dumb to not be cautious. However, staying in this perpetual state of distrust negatively affects your responses. It’s the reason why so many unarmed individuals have been shot for holding a cellphone or something similar.

Overtime, a lack of sympathy and a sense of self-preservation might take root in the mind of the officers and when this happens, they are no longer effective deterrents of crime but rather another “element” the average person has to watch out for.

Most Cops Have Undiagnosed PTSD

While most people associate PTSD with a specific traumatic experience, the police suffer from a different kind of PTSD — cumulative PTSD. Police1.com explains this phenomenon:

Cumulative PTSD can be even more dangerous than PTSD caused from a single traumatic event, largely because cumulative PTSD is more likely to go unnoticed and untreated. When a catastrophic event occurs, such as an officer-involved shooting, most departments have policies and professionals to help an officer address and deal with the aftermath of an event.

However, the build-up of events that arise throughout an officer’s career generally do not warrant such specialized attention. As a result, an officer with cumulative PTSD is less likely to receive treatment.

In other words, due to “micro traumas”, many police officers are suffering from a form of PTSD which in turn affects their behavior. They become jittery, they make snap judgements and typically approach situations with a baseline thought that the people they are dealing with are “out to get them”.

Considering that these officers are meant to keep the public “safe” from criminals, it’s not ideal that they fear the interactions with the average citizen. This is why cannabis might be an ideal solution.

Police Work Improves After Marijuana Legalization, Research Shows
Photo by Felix Koutchinski via Unsplash

Cannabis For Cops!

Cannabis has shown to be effective in mitigating symptoms of PTSD and in some cases, help victims return back to a baseline of normalcy. The Veteran of Foreign Wars talks about a study that was regulated by the FDA:

Over the course of a year, the study found that cannabis users reported a greater decrease in the severity of their PTSD symptoms. They also were more than 2.5 times as likely to no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD as those who did not use cannabis.

While this might not completely remove the instances of PTSD, it does seem like a good way to deal with the underlying symptoms, especially for those undiagnosed with cumulative PTSD.

RELATED: Super Troopers: Cops In Calgary Authorized To Consume Marijuana Off Duty

The fact of the matter is that cops need to have a means of “disconnecting” from the job. The “job” is an all-consuming position that can have corrosive effects on the individual. It reduces their ability to think critically and makes them less effective in doing their jobs correctly.

Therefore, while you can’t force cops to consume cannabis, you should at the very least give them the ability to use it as opposed to self-medicating with alcohol. Couple this with therapy and you may have a police force that works with its citizens as opposed to a force that fights the population.

Mushrooms For Cops

Cannabis is powerful against PTSD, however, psilocybin could completely break their PTSD cycles. Of course, in the case of the police, you don’t want to have cops tripping on shrooms on the job. But perhaps, after each month or quarter you could have a psychedelic assisted therapy session to deal with all of the accumulated trauma collected throughout the month.

RELATED: Want To Be An FBI Agent? Make Sure Your Cannabis Use Doesn’t Exceed This Number

Additionally, psilocybin makes you become more empathetic. In the end of the day, you want a police force that doesn’t just “enforce the law”, but guides citizens to be the best they can be according to the law. This means, being able to let someone go for smoking weed or doing drugs, especially if there is an apparent lack of violence.

In order to discern, the cops will need to have empathy. Psilocybin could help with this.

Can Police Search Cars For Marijuana Based On Odor Alone?
Photo by Sven Mieke via Unsplash

Yoga, Meditation, Breathwork For Cops!

The previous two options relied on drugs to help with the PTSD. However, perhaps – at the end of each work day, cops should be required to do at least 30 mins of breathwork, meditation, or yoga in order to deal with the things they face on the daily. These practices have been known to reduce stress and depression and thus, we should place an emphasis on the mental health of officers. This is the least invasive way for cops to work with their mental health issues.

Conclusion

I’m probably one of the people who is most “F&$# the Police” you would ever meet, however, I do think that we shouldn’t look at life as “black and white”. The police, ultimately, are working to protect those that cannot defend themselves. They aren’t the enemy, but after prolonged mental health stress, they could conclude that you are.

Helping cops deal with their stress and PTSD will provide a net benefit to society at large.

This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.

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