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Legalization Has Cut Police Searches Significantly In Colorado And Washington
The debate is still raging in certain states about whether or not to legalize marijuana, but if they need a lil’ chronic convincing, then they might wanna look at what’s going on in Colorado and Washington.
NBCNews is reporting that police searches of cars during traffic stops is down 50% since legalization took place in 2012. The change in law even marginally reduced the amount that Blacks and hispanics were searched.
Considering the way police have historically used marijuana as an excuse to harass minorities, like officer Jeronimo Yanez did in the Philando Castile case, legalization would certainly be a welcome change for neighborhoods that feel the anxiety of interactions with the police.
In both states, marijuana legalization eliminated one of the major justifications used by police officers to stop motorists, cutting searches by more than 40 percent after legalization. In Colorado, the change occurred gradually, with searches dropping initially by 30 percent, and then flatting out to a more than 50-percent drop within a year.
For the police, they can look at legalization as a way to continue to build positive relationships with the communities they patrol:
“Searches where you don’t find something are really negative towards a community,” said Jack McDevitt, director of Northeastern University’s Institute on Race and Justice in Boston. “Have a police officer search your car is really like, ‘Why are they doing this to me?’ And you get more pissed off. If you’re trying to do relationship building, it’s not a good thing to do a lot of searches.”
Doesn’t sound like such a bad idea…