Pubdate: Sat, 21 Nov 2015
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Copyright: 2015 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Author: Larry Kirk


Regarding the editorial "Pot or not?" (Nov. 16):

As a sitting chief of police in Missouri, I've seen the rift that our 
failed marijuana policy continues to create between peace officers 
and the citizens we serve. Young people aren't prevented from getting 
marijuana now, because drug dealers don't have to ask for an ID. 
Families are torn apart, parents lose their children, and racial 
minorities are arrested and incarcerated for marijuana far more often 
than whites.

Continuing to arrest nonviolent, responsible, adult marijuana users 
is generating public distrust of their police. This makes it very 
difficult to do our job of protecting communities and solving crimes.

Legalizing and regulating marijuana will improve public safety by 
putting this business in the above-ground market, reducing the 
profits being funneled into the hands of drug dealers, reducing the 
case-load burden at every step of the justice system, and making it 
easier for law enforcement to focus on more important matters.

I commend the Post-Dispatch for declaring support for marijuana 
reform and look forward to the improvements we will make to public 
safety when we legalize marijuana here and across the nation.

The legacy of marijuana prohibition should have left us with some 
amount of societal and cultural improvements, but it began from a 
foundation of misinformation and racism, and that's what prohibition 
has perpetuated.

We're long overdue to end this failed policy.

Larry Kirk - Old Monroe

Police chief, Old Monroe
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