Pubdate: Thu, 13 Sep 2012
Source: Portland Tribune (OR)
Copyright: 2012 Pamplin Media Group
Author: Shelley Fox-Loken


In Dan Staton, Patrick Garrett and Eric Nisley's op-ed, "Marijuana 
legalization is a lot of smoke" (Aug. 23), the authors suggest that 
law enforcement is unified in their opposition to Measure 80 on 
Oregon's ballot, but that's just not true.

I am a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an organization 
of current and former cops, judges, prosecutors and others advocating 
for marijuana legalization precisely because of what we saw on the 
front lines of the war on marijuana.

Like the authors, we started out as true believers, but after 
witnessing firsthand the real harms of prohibition, we have dedicated 
our lives to ending it. Prosecuting people for marijuana is a waste 
of money, squanders scarce law enforcement resources and endangers 
public safety because the illicit nature of the drug provides huge 
profits to the violent cartels who currently run the trade. Legalize 
marijuana and those profits dry up.

During my time as a parole and probation officer and a prison 
counselor, I cannot tell you how many young people's lives I saw 
ruined because of their involvement with marijuana - usually not 
because of the drug itself, but because of the arrest record that 
would follow them throughout their lives.

And every minute the police spent going after those kids (paid for by 
our tax dollars) was one fewer minute they had to spend on the 
violent crimes being committed in our society.

Measure 80 will transfer the profits to be made in selling marijuana 
from violent drug gangs to Oregon's farmers and tax coffers. It will 
allow police to spend their time investigating real crime.

Vote yes on Measure 80 in November.

Shelley Fox-Loken

North Portland
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