Justice Going To Pot

Our Minnesotan boys in blue have been caught green-handed pulling some peculiar police work. Fox 9 news out of the Twin Cities had the story last night and the video below is definitely worth a look.

Last April, several police officers from around the state were taking part in a program designed to help officers recognize what someone looks like under the influence of drugs. So the officers went tooling around homeless shelters and such looking for some usual suspects.

They found some stoned folks, but apparently that wasn’t enough education. So they recruited some young guys to be their subjects. This was all kosher under the rules of the Drug Recognition Program which stipulated that “the subjects were supposed to supply their own drugs.” But in this case, according to participants, the officers provided the dope. –These same accusations were made at prior at Occupy protests and featured in the news video below.

This claim that the police provided the dope was disputed–who’s going to believe dudes who were stoned?–but a Chisago County deputy corroborated the claim by saying he say a Hutchinson officer offer a black box with marijuana inside to get the guys to smoke up. The guys did.

No criminal charges were filed, though, because the officers involved wouldn’t talk. But now a civil case if coming forth alleging that officers offered marijuana without first vetting the participants for medical history. That the officers offered the pot is in little doubt as one policeman said, “I don’t know what the big deal is. I just gave them marijuana. It’s not like I hurt anybody.”

It’s quite the scene watching the home video of these guys getting in and out of the cop car after getting high. It’s all very bizarro:


The thing that made this a story for Fox, as well as the factor leading to this lawsuit, is that the officers provided the marijuana. But doesn’t it also strike us as odd that had the officers not provided the pot, this would have been on the up and up? Had these stoner subjects brought their own weed, smoked it, and showed the officers what a fresh, genuine high looked like on someone’s face, this would have been considered normal police work. Indeed, this type of recognition program goes on in other parts of the country.

If smoking marijuana is so bad that it’s illegal, why the heck is it not a problem to do so even under supervision and for the benefit of teaching officers what being high looks like? Would an officer ever ask thieves go shoplifting to understand what their routine is like? Of course not, because there’s an instrinsic wrong with shoplifting, assault, etc.

This story reveals a litmus test that shows not just that officers crossed the line by providing marijuana, but for determining whether marijuana should even be illegal: if it’s that safe and casual to demonstrate for police officers around the country, then it’s probably not so bad as to necessitate its prohibition. Something’s not quite right when law enforcement encourages an activity that they turn around and arrest people for.

to new plateaus,


And here’s a link to the story on Fox 9: KMSP-TV

2 Responses

  1. Mike Welch

    Thanks for the heads-up on this article Brandon. I linked to here from The Good Men Project and left my two cents worth on the Fox 9 site.

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