Just when we think we’re beginning to see the death throes of cannabis prohibition, some city official or politician will hit us with some antiquated, head-scratching rhetoric that attempts to justify the plant’s continued illegality. Many current and former law enforcement officers oppose the war on drugs, or at the very least, oppose arresting peaceful cannabis consumers in favor of regulation and treatment. NYPD’s top cop Bill Bratton is not one of those officers. In fact, if you took his quotes out of context, you might think he was a time traveler from the Reefer Madness era of the 1930’s.
The New York Police Commissioner said in a radio interview that cannabis users are responsible for “the vast majority’’ of violence in the city. We have vivid imaginations here at the Marijuana Times, but even we couldn’t make this stuff up. You can read it here for yourself.
“Here in New York, the violence we see associated with drugs, the vast majority of it, is around the issue of marijuana, which is ironic considering the explosion in use of heroin now in the city,” Bratton said in the radio interview.
“Interestingly enough, here in New York City most of the violence we see – violence around drug trafficking – is involving marijuana and I have to scratch my head as we are seeing many states wanting to legalize marijuana, and more liberalization of policies,” he continued.
Back in 2014, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio put a policy into place where people caught possessing less than 25 grams of cannabis would be issued a ticket similar to a speeding ticket instead of being cuffed. Because the majority of cannabis arrests in the U.S. are for simple possession of a small amount, such arrests have decreased dramatically since then. There has been absolutely no effect on violent crime. In fact, just the opposite appears to be true. Violent crime in NYC is down 35 percent since 2001, and 80 percent since 1990. Data from police departments in Seattle and Denver shows no connection between legalization and a rise in violent crime. Bad people will continue to do bad things regardless of what any government tells its people they may or may not put in their bodies.
So how can Commissioner Bratton make such bafflingly nonsensical public statements, even when the data gathered by the very officers he oversees proves those statements patently false? Your guess is probably just as good as ours.