law enforcement

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Minnesota: State Rep Says Cops Are Hooked On Drug War Dollars

RepCarlyMelin(DFL-Minnesota)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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."

U.S.: Coalition of African American Faith Leaders Calls For End To War On Drugs

WeAreOne(SDPC)

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with more than 2.3 million people behind bars. The United States represents less than 5 percent of the world’s population, yet is home to almost 25 percent of those incarcerated in the world.

Drug law enforcement clearly has a disproportionate racial impact. African Americans represent nearly half of those who are incarcerated in the U.S., yet only represent 13 percent of the entire population. And while African Americans comprise only 13 percent of drug users, they make up 38 percent of those arrested for drug law violations and 59 percent of those convicted of drug law violations.

African Americans are more than 10 times more likely than white people to be sent to prison for drug offenses.

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has told the United States that the stark racial disparities in the administration and functioning of its criminal justice system “may be regarded as factual indicators of racial discrimination” (United Nations Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2008, paragraph 20). Human Rights Watch and other prominent organizations have repeatedly pointed out the disproportionate racial impact of the drug war and its conflict with the standards of international human rights law.

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