The majority of the police officers in the United States believe that marijuana should no longer be a criminal offense for the majority of its users, and are pushing for marijuana legalization according to the results of a new national survey.
Recently, the Pew Research Center in conjunction with the National Police Research Platform published a new report that shows nearly 70 percent of the boys in blue are of the opinion that the federal government’s total ban on the cannabis plant should be changed.
A dissection of the data shows that a third of the respondents believe marijuana should be made legal for medicinal purposes, while 37 percent would like to see it legalized in a manner similar to other recreational substances, like beer and tobacco. However, there are still those cops (30 percent) who would prefer to see the nation continue to wage war against the average cannabis consumer.
Although it is encouraging to see an increasing number of law enforcement changing its opinion of marijuana, the main takeaway from the report is that cops are still not as passionate about bringing down the scourge of prohibition as the people they are hired to protect. It was just last year that a Gallup poll found the strongest public support for marijuana legalization in American history. There is now a whopping 60 percent of the population who believes weed should be taxed and regulated the same as alcohol.
While the overall attitude of the American police force seems to support policy changes geared toward legalization, these folks are still responsible for busting hundreds of thousands of people every year just for weed. A recent study from Human Rights Watch and the ACLU shows that cops arrested 574,000 people in 2015 for simple possession — putting marijuana-related arrests above the culmination of all violent crime.
“Every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for the simple act of possessing drugs for their personal use,” the report reads. “And despite officials’ claims that drug laws are meant to curb drug sales, four times as many people are arrested for possessing drugs as are arrested for selling them.”
Interestingly, the Pew report, which was assembled with the responses of roughly 8,000 law enforcement officers, indicates that most cops are more likely to gravitate toward violence when dealing with the public than utilizing anything that resembles Mayberry charm. Fifty-six percent of the respondents believe “an aggressive rather than courteous approach is more effective” when handling people with certain neighborhoods. Another 44 percent said that getting physical is the best possible method to get a person to listen to reason.
In the majority of the news stories to surface last year involving police shootings, the suspect/victim was almost always shown to be in possession of marijuana. It is for that reason that many cannabis advocates believe a nationwide policy legalizing marijuana would be the best solution.