Though not conducted with the methodological rigor of the Pew poll that came out yesterday showing 54% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana and two-thirds believe drug policy should focus on treatment rather than prosecuting drug users, Law Officer magazine has provided LEAP a poll of its own showing an even more surprising finding: a majority of law enforcement officers also support marijuana policy reform.
Though some of the provided answers seemed to overlap, the overall effect is one indicating broad support for change among the readership of the publication, 97% of whom indicated they are or had been in law enforcement. Some of the most surprising results include 66% saying marijuana possession should be legalized, decriminalized, legalized for medical reasons or illegal but only punished with fines, with the largest plurality (37%) supporting legalization. Even more surprising, almost 27% supported legalizing “the sale of marijuana in large quantities” with 36% calling for some form of change from the current model. While support for decriminalizing possession of other drugs was significantly lower, 14% of this population (generally thought to be the most opposed to reform) supported changes in policy.
Below is a response by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition’s executive director, Major Neill Franklin (Ret.) addressed to the law enforcement readership of Law Officer :
Before Nixon declared the war on drugs in the early 1970s, policing was a different creature altogether. Police were the “good guys” going after the “bad guys”–the rapists, the murderers, the child molesters–most people could agree society was better without. Since that time, the very nature of policing has changed.
– Read the entire article at AlterNet.