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I am a police officer and I have a dilemma. Everyday I see people destroyed from the effects of alcohol abuse. I have seen innocent people killed by people under the influence of alcohol. In some instances it was two drunks arguing and one killed another or once a drunk husband shot and killed his wife in front of their children. Then there are the drunk drivers who indiscriminately kill Iíve seen several of those. Now I can say that I have definitely never seen someone killed by another person under the influence of marihuana. I have never seen anyone killed by a driver under the influence of marihuana. I have never seen a person die because they smoked themselves to death, but I have seen quite a few people drink themselves to death. Then I look at the potential medical value of marihuana and when I combine all these things I am beginning to feel that morally I am falling off of a cliff. One-day history may judge me to be a 21st century Nazi. If I deliberately do not make arrests for violations of Controlled Dangerous Substance Laws I feel I am violating the ethics of my profession. The other side is I feel the law itself is morally wrong.

December 12, 2005

Response from Richard Heck on December 23, 2005

Well, you're in a tough position. (And I agree with you: I see no reason marijuana should be outlawed when alcohol and tobacco are not.) But I don't think you're likely to be compared to the Nazis. So you should let yourself off a bit. Still, as I said, you are in a tough position. I take it that deliberately not busting people for pot could get you in a fair bit of trouble, even fired.

Obviously, if you felt sufficiently strongly about this issue, you might find yourself with little choice but to quit being a cop. That'd be a tough choice to make, I'm sure. So I wonder if there are alternatives.

To what extent is it possible for you to speak out on this issue, given your profession? The issue of mandatory sentencing is a very important one here. Could you speak out on that issue?


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