The empire strikes back.
With studies showing drug legalization in Colorado has already lowered Denver crime rates, the feds have to do something to protect their lucrative drug war.
According to data from the Denver Police Department, violent crime (including homicide, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) fell by 6.9% in the first quarter of 2014, compared with the same period in 2013. Property crime (including burglary, larceny, auto theft, theft from motor vehicle and arson) dropped by 11.1%.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy, office of the U.S. “drug czar”, is the anti-drug propaganda arm of the U.S. government. At the ONDCP, it’s actually against the law to tell the truth about drugs, a fact highlighted by a Feb. 4, 2014 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The hearing was originally planned by Republicans to denounce the president, but that backfired when deputy drug czar Michael Botticelli was made to look like an idiot by Democrats defending Obama’s factual observation that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol.
Recent events that led up to the timing of the release of the latest federally-funded anti-marijuana study:
1. President says marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol.
2. Study is published showing crime rates fell after medical marijuana decriminalization in the 2000s.
3. Crime rates in Denver fall up to 11% in 2014 Q1 after full legalization of marijuana.
4. Feds continue to get angry, crack down on dispensaries in Denver and whine about legalization in D.C.
5. ONDCP hauls out their zillionth anti-marijuana study, after being embarrassed in a Congressional hearing.
6. Worthless news media takes ONDCP study seriously.
7. Tabloids do ONDCP’s dirty work – repeatedly.
8. Reports on the recent study showing crime rates falling after decriminalization get buried by ONDCP propaganda.
At least USA Today, a semi-literate newspaper full of colorful pie charts, is playing it safe, probably under the assumption that anyone who reads USA Today must be stoned:
Gregory Gerdeman, a biologist and neuropharmacologist at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., said he has no reason to doubt the new study’s findings but worries generally about marijuana research funded by federal agencies… “If you’re getting money from the drug czar’s office, that money’s not going to continue if you don’t end up publishing something that at least supports the general story of the danger of drug abuse,” Gerdeman said… “if it were my child, even with this study, I’m more comfortable with young people having a casual marijuana habit than drinking regularly.”
As usual, President Obama says it’s up to someone else to do something about the inequities of the drug laws. Since Congress never does anything they’re not compensated for, that leaves things open for the anti-drug cartels to recapture their market share. After all, drug war is big business for federal agencies, contractors, and private prisons.
This will all come down to money in the end. Capitalist entrepreneurs turned legal drug dealers aligned with states hungry for tax revenues will compete against federal agencies desperate to maintain their funding, all to see who can bribe the most people on Capitol Hill. Welcome to America.