Police See Legalization Coming
PoliceOne.com is a website popular with police officers throughout the country. It includes news stories on police activity, training tips and a very active discussion area. Doug Wyllie, the editor of the website, recently published an open letter to PoliceOne readers. It read –
Dear PoliceOne Member,
For the third time in five years, I’ve willingly wrapped my hand around one of the third rails of editorial topics here on PoliceOne: marijuana legalization. When the legal sale of recreational pot became a reality on Wednesday in Colorado, today’s column practically became a foregone conclusion.
Are we slowly slouching toward legalized marijuana, or can this trend be reversed? In a 2011 PoliceOne poll, 25 percent of respondents said that legalized pot is “where we’re headed.” By December of 2013, that number jumped to 43 percent.
What do you think? Where are we headed with all this?
—Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor In Chief
While PoliceOne is open reading for anyone interested, membership requires active or retired status as a law enforcement officer. Thus, a fairly safe assumption is that over 40% of police officers who responded to the survey see legalization of pot is “where we’re headed.”
We need to be careful not to read resignation to legalized pot as acceptance or support. But I do believe it is a good indicator of the growing acceptance of legal marijuana. Police Officers are likely one of the most conservative groups in the country. For that group to acknowledge legal pot as a likely reality is a stark statement about changing attitudes.
My own experience is that a lot of police officers support legalization. A question I often get is along the line of “Why don’t more police officers speak up in favor of legalization?” The major obstacle is a cultural prohibition that says police stay out of politics. Cops, like any other group, have a wide variety of opinions on every subject imaginable. But to go public with opinions on legal issues, particularly in controversial areas like drugs, abortion, etc., is inappropriate for public servants who are sworn to uphold the law, even those they disagree with.