May 11th, 2010 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
Judge Andrew Napolitano, host of Fox News.com’s Freedom Watch, has long been on the right side of the war on drugs, and his scathing critique of the deplorable police actions in Columbia, Missouri is no exception.
(To recap for those who have not yet seen the video: under the cover of darkness, a team of militarized SWAT agents enter a family home and immediately engage in gunfire — killing one of two family dogs and wounding the other — and likely inflicting lifelong trauma to the family’s seven-year-old son. Police ultimately seized a small amount of marijuana residue and associated paraphernalia, which resulted in a misdemeanor charge and a $300 fine.)
In fact, Napolitano’s very first question to befuddled Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid is: “When are the cops who did this going to be arrested and put in jail where they belong?” It’s a valid question that, not surprisingly, leaves the new mayor speechless.
In less than a week nearly one-million people have watched the graphic and sickening footage from Columbia. It has, quite understandably, inspired public outrage and, apparently, some welcome changes in police procedure.
Yet as NORML Outreach Coordinator Russ Belville astutely points out on the NORML Stash blog, none of these minor amendments to protocol in any way gets to the heart of the problem, and that is this: Police and politicians still “accept the premise that this level of force is appropriate to keep people from using marijuana.” Ultimately, this societal mentality must change.
That is why, while on the one hand NORML (obviously) supports cannabis medicalization and decriminalization efforts, we also recognize that these efforts fall woefully short for many Americans. In short, the only way to fully protect all our citizens from these kinds of abhorrent events is through the legalization and regulation of marijuana for all adults. Help us make this a reality.
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