Cops Just Got Surveyed About Weed — And The Results Will Surprise You

By Carey Wedler

A majority of American police officers now believe cannabis laws should be relaxed, and nearly one-third support full legalization of the plant, according to a new survey.

A Pew Research survey released on Tuesday combined the results of two surveys that questioned nearly 8,000 police officers across 54 police departments and over 4,500 private citizens. According to Pew’s findings, “about two-thirds of police (68%) and a larger share of the public (84%) believe the country’s marijuana laws should be relaxed, and a larger share of the public than the police support legalizing marijuana for both private and medical use (49% vs. 32%).”

The survey also found an age disparity when it comes to views on weed:

As with younger adults generally, officers younger than 35 are more likely than those ages 50 to 60 to favor permitting personal and medical use of marijuana (37% vs. 27%). Among the public, a majority of adults (63%) under the age of 45 favor legalization.

In a country where police have conducted an increasing number of SWAT raids to search for illegal drugs, these new figures are surprising, though ultimately expected considering the public’s overall acceptance of cannabis.

The DEA’s annual Drug Threat Assessment report has shown a decline in police concerns over marijuana over the last several years. In 2015, just 6 percent of cops believed cannabis posed the “greatest drug threat.” In 2016, that figure dropped to 4.9 percent. In contrast, 44% percent of cops believed heroin was the biggest danger last year.

Though two-thirds of law enforcement still hesitate to advocate full-on legalization, one-third who embrace it join other anti-prohibition police advocates. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, known as LEAP, campaigns to scale back the war on drugs and educate the public and policymakers about its failures. Diane Goldstein, a retired Lieutenant Commander for the Redondo Beach Police Department, now serves as a LEAP board member and is not surprised that a majority of officers still oppose recreational legalization.

“Law enforcement continues to represent an outlier view on this issue because police are trained with outdated, unscientific, drug war-oriented materials,” she said. Unsurprisingly, for example, George Hofstetter, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, likened marijuana to alcohol last year, claiming it impairs driving. However, a recent federal study found not only that cannabis users were less likely to crash than alcohol users, but also that the former were no more likely to get into accidents than sober drivers.

Regardless of some officers’ outdated knowledge on the plant, Goldstein believes the recent poll “reflects a positive attitude shift when you see that it’s only 1 in 3 police officers who believe marijuana should remain illegal.”

Though a majority of police still believe the plant should not be legalized for recreational use, a majority are increasingly questioning the laws they are tasked with enforcing. Some are even experiencing the benefits of marijuana themselves, including one former officer who has found relief from advanced Parkinson’s disease through cannabidiol (CBD) oil.

After the oil soothed his debilitating symptoms in a matter of minutes, he expressed his frustration with current laws:

A person like me could really use marijuana. And it makes me pretty angry that I can’t get it in my home state.

This article (Cops Just Got Surveyed About Weed — and the Results Will Surprise You) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to [email protected].


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6 Comments on "Cops Just Got Surveyed About Weed — And The Results Will Surprise You"

  1. The war on drugs was designed to keep the illegal money flow going for the ubers.
    Suggested reads: ‘the Committee of 300′ John D. Coleman ( an ex spook) hint : the Royals have owned the drug routes for hundreds of years.
    Barry and the Boys’ Dennis Hopsicker, hint: Poor ol’ Barry running guns for drugs for the CIA…RIP
    Bush 1 was the head of the CIA.

  2. NJguy - Proudly Deplorable | January 13, 2017 at 10:31 am | Reply

    It’s up to the States (or the people in that State if they did not give this power to their States govt).

    Force the feds to obey the Constitution. Want to change it? Fine, write an amendment and we’ll vote on it. That’s the process.

  3. Too many people have been killed or incarcerated because of a simple wish to partake of this weed. Congressional failings created this blood sport. you would have thought that the American history of Prohibition and the evils it spawned would have prevented this so called war on drugs. But no, Congress is filled with fools and fools create chaos!

  4. Many of those most likely to benefit from cannabis have favored its suppression and illegality, to the demise of America’s health and economy. Good that their minds are being expanded. My own mother in her 90’s has been one of those opposed to cannabis, yet it not only saved her life but has kept her alive for the past 3 years. How can a medicine be “bad” when it helps sick and old folks put on weight and live? But, we couldn’t get through the closed minds. As I have often written in Activist Post, many of us have worked since 1970 to decriminalize cannabis in the US, and it took 10 years after Proposition 215 in California passed in 1996 to get even 2-3 other States to make medical cannabis “legal”, and at great cost to many lives. Sometimes I wish Americans knew even 1/100th as much as they think they do.

  5. How ironic that a former Police officer has to develop Parkinson’s Disease before he comes to realise marijuana perhaps isn’t the devil’s weed after all. After enjoying a tax-payer funded career arresting and in some cases jailing people for a “crime” no more innocuous than sipping chardonay he appears to have finally admitted to his folly. What will it take for the rest of his sociopathic former colleagues to see the light?

  6. The great comedian, Lenny Bruce, said that once Police and Judges and Senators etc. smoke pot, then it will be legalized. It’s been waaaaayyy overdue, donchya’all thunk?

    Cops smoke the evil herb. Now they don’t want to get busted! Simple, non?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/19aa2360e6ee2d40b75c6066606f96b857f491b55e64126cd1e24a6f294dfd8e.jpg

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