Houston police chief Charles McClelland, Jr.:
Police officers tend to target violations that are visible and that create a sense of crime and disorder. In Houston, open-air drug dealing and possession tend to generate citizen complaints.
I’m going to guess that the “open-air drug dealing and possession” also “create a sense of crime and disorder.” But it’s worth asking why those activities do that when, say, smoking a cigarette or drinking a beer on the front porch do not. Alcohol and tobacco, while perhaps not quite as dangerous as something like cocaine, cause enough damage on their own. But unlike marijuana and cocaine, alcohol and tobacco are still legal.
You see what I’m getting at, right? Arguably the biggest reason, if not the only reason, McClelland’s “sense of crime and disorder” is there is the illegality of the substance in question. There’s going to be that perception of wrongdoing even when no one’s actually doing anything wrong. He and those who agree with this approach might argue that illegal activity attracts criminals who by definition commit more illegal activity. And this is true, but the same could be said of those who were smoking a cigarette or drinking a beer on their front porch if alcohol and tobacco were illegal, as alcohol once was.
As for this:
The public needs to know the health risks associated with marijuana use and the amount of marijuana use that causes psychological and/or physical impairment. In other words, the public needs to know when drug use becomes an immediate public danger.
We need to know the health risks? You mean we don’t already, after more than 25 years of Just Say No, DARE, and assorted other anti-drug programs? “Do it again, only HARDER!” Yeah, that sounds about right.
And speaking of that whole illegality of alcohol thing. You remember reading about that, right? About how it was a resounding failure? Why haven’t we taken any lessons from that?