By Steve Elliott
Minnesota state Rep. Carly Melin, who is pushing to legalize medical marijuana, said that negotiating with the state's law enforcement leaders has been "like negotiating with a brick wall," and she believes police agencies are hooked on Drug War dollars.
"All along I have said that I am willing to amend the bill," Rep. Melin (DFL-Hibbing) said, reports Mike Mosedale at Politics In Minnesota. "But they won't move at all."
Rep. Melin told of a particularly frustrating meeting last November with representatives of the powerful Minnesota Law Enforcement Coalition. "They wouldn't discuss any specific provisions, and said they had a blanket opposition to medical marijuana," Hibbing said.
Melin took particular note of one objection voice at the meeting, but not mentioned in the Law Enforcement Coalition's 10-page white paper: worry over the impact medical marijuana legalization might have on police budgets.
Dennis Flaherty, the executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (a group included in the Law Enforcement Coalition), told her that he was worried that medical marijuana legalization could lead to reductions in the federal grants that are a big source of money for many police departments, Melin said.
"I don't think it's part of the debate because they wouldn't publicly admit that it's even an issue," Melin said. "Nobody wants to question the motives or honesty of law enforcement."