NYPD Tells Brooklyn Officers To Continue Making Low-Level Drug Arrests DA Has Stated He Won't Prosecute

from the work-harder,-not-smarter dept

New York's finest, formerly Mayor Bloomberg's Personal Army, has decided it's going to do things its own way, even if it means generating truly meaningless arrests.
The NYPD is telling its officers to keep making the lower-level marijuana busts that they had been, despite a recent memo from Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson that his office would no longer prosecute such cases
Yes, no one tells the NYPD what to do, not even the District Attorney. The NYPD's memo -- one that plainly states it will arrest people who will never be prosecuted -- is required reading for Brooklyn precincts for the next 10 days, just to ensure those police officers understand their workday will contain a certain amount of deliberate futility.

On one hand, the memo does contain a good point -- law enforcement should be consistent across all of New York's boroughs. On the other hand, it plainly states that the NYPD is more interested in generating paperwork and empty arrest statistics than approaching the DA's announcement in a more reasonable fashion.

Here's what DA Thompson was hoping to accomplish with his decision to not pursue low-level drug offenders.
The move was intended to "make better use of limited law enforcement resources and to prevent offenders – who are disproportionately young men of color – from being saddled with a criminal record for a minor, non-violent offense," according to a statement.
This could have been seen as an indication of where the department should head -- towards a more reasonable stance on drug enforcement. Instead, it's been viewed as "inconsistency" and responded to with all the obstinance the department is famous for.

DA Thompson's order really doesn't eliminate that many possession arrests. His memo stated that those smoking in public (especially around children), 16-17-year-old offenders (who will be placed into a diversion program) and people with existing criminal records will still be prosecuted. This just leaves mainly the truly harmless: recreational users.

But the War on Drugs is every bit as essential to the NYPD as the War on Terror, and the NYPD (with new chief Bill Bratton's blessing) will continue to make meaningless arrests -- arrests made even more meaningless by DA Thompson's announcement.

If nothing else, this ensures the sort of job security that's usually only touted in sarcastic tones by the deeply cynical. According to the New York Times, arresting recreational users is full-time work for Brooklyn cops.
Over the past 15 years, marijuana arrests in New York have soared, partly because a rising number of stop-and-frisk encounters led to searches of people’s pockets.

There were 8,150 cases in Brooklyn in which the top count was a minor marijuana possession charge in the year ending June 30, according to the memo on Tuesday. Marijuana arrests have decreased during the first six months of this year, compared with the same period in 2013.
That decrease in marijuana arrests is directly related to the decline in stop-and-frisk encounters after a court decision and a new city law curbed this controversial program. It's quite obviously not (the NYPD's directive confirms it) the result of the NYPD shifting its focus to more serious criminal activity.

There's hardly anything more ridiculous than deploying law enforcement officers -- with all their expertise and training -- to bust users of a drug that has been legalized in two states for recreational use and in a host of other states for medical use. There's nothing more ridiculous than sending officers out to bust recreational users and serve them up to a DA who's just going to let them go -- and one that specifically told the department he would not prosecute.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 4:28am

    make better use of limited law enforcement resources

    How does that help increase their budget you twit?

     

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  2.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 16th, 2014 @ 4:29am

    Considering they ahve been fighting the terrorism bogeyman for over a decade already instead of focusing on real crimes it shouldn't be much of a change...

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 5:00am

    I guess we can thank the NYPD's War on Drugs for helping to fuel the 60,000 illegal immigrant children flooding into the southern US states since last October.

    All the drug trafficking gang violence these poor Central American children are running from is the direct result of the underground drug market the NYPD is helping to create.

    Why would the NYPD care about thousands of children being murdered in Central America due to their War on Drugs. This war is about their own job security, it's not about saving children.

    I suppose it's not completely the NYPD's fault. They've been conditioned by War on Drug policies for so long that getting them to change their behavior is like teaching a old dog new tricks.

    Who we really should be blaming is US politicians for this humanitarian crisis. It's their failed War on Drug policies that have lead us all down the road to disaster.

     

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  4.  
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    dadtaxi, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 5:10am

    reasonable cause

    Is it cynical of me to wonder if they are doing this so that the 'I smell marijuana' will still provide a 'reasonable cause' for a search...and then an arrest on which they will hope to find other stuff

    'Who cares if we only find an ounce or none at all. We can drop that charge 'cos we've got him now on other stuff anyway'

    Cha-ching.

     

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  5.  
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    David, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 5:24am

    Re: reasonable cause

    More likely the practice (obviously not pointed out in written communication) is to let those where the suspicion of Marihuana has been confirmed off with a warning if mitigating circumstances can be found in their wallet.

    Without the occasional arrest, the warning will not carry much weight. Also one would need a different reason checking for mitigating circumstances.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    TestPilotDummy, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 5:40am

    "There's hardly anything more ridiculous than deploying law enforcement officers -- with all their expertise and training -- to bust users of a drug that has been legalized in two states for recreational use and in a host of other states for medical use."

    Sure there is, just watch the GAZA livestream

    Israel dropping ordinance in Gaza.
    Israel says Hamas is firing rockets.
    Hamas says no we ain't firing those rockets.
    ISIS says they are firing them
    US GOV trained/funds ISIS.
    John Mc Cain hangs out with ISIS.

    The whole pile of crap is an excuse to get everything rolling in SYRIA/RUSSIA

    When in reality, Ft Leavenworth ought to be expanded and filled with these treasonous traitors and oath breakers

    Then again, there's REAL neo Nazi's in Ukrane.
    Media tells us it's tin foil, no nazi's...

    Yet there is evidence of internal police corruption and neo nazi's!


    Yeah I think this is a tad more stupid.
    Think real hard now...
    In the US the border isn't secure.
    Yet they tell us they're fighting war on terror.

    It's CRAP!
    Game is over.

    Banksters, Deth bringers all you fascists, oath breakers, Corp media propaganda goobles v1984

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 5:41am

    Do not attempt to get or hold a job that involves operating any sort of machinery after arrest.

    If job involves Commercial Drivers License then it is most likely that you are going to have major issues with Fed Depart of Transportation and corporate insurance.

    If cough operating big truck (CDL required)afterwards you are then looking at Driving Under The Influence charges with guaranteed 3 to 5 years minimum probation.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    TestPilotDummy, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 5:45am

    Re:

    angrily posted.

    USTREAM . not livestream (maybe there is one there too)

    Also, if Israel says Hamas is firing rockets, LETS SEE THE EVIDENCE LIVE STREAM. LETS SEE EVIDENCE

    I mean otherwise you make me look stupid suggesting we ASK ISIS to use their stolen TV Stations to film the god damn rockets taking off as evidence.

    Frankly nothing Israel can be trusted.

    ESPECIALLY these dual citizens holding HIGH OFFICE!!!

     

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  9.  
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    Michael, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 5:53am

    Re: Re: reasonable cause

    An arrest is not nothing.

    Even if they aren't going to prosecute, someone arrested is going to be handcuffed, read their rights, taken to a station house, fingerprinted, probably placed in a cell for a bit, given a summons to appear in court, etc.

    It sounded like the DA wanted to redirect police efforts to something more important, but the police force and arrest are, in themselves, a punishment for crimes.

     

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  10.  
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    Call me Al, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 6:05am

    Re: Re:

    What?

    Hamas denied they fired a rocket from Lebanon. They certainly claim responsibility for those fired from Gaza.

    Also what does this have to do with NYPD? Is this just a tin-foil hat posting?

     

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  11.  
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    Whatever (profile), Jul 16th, 2014 @ 6:05am

    The failure here is that the DA is making a decision about the law, when the law has not been changed. Failing to uphold the statutes on the book because of a personal opinion or a political stand isn't a very good idea.

    What really needs to happen is that the state needs to turn low level drug offenses into a "ticket" crime, like a jaywalking ticket. The officer writes up the ticket, confiscates the weed, and calls it a day. If the offender really wants to fight the ticket, they can do so in court.

    Until a change comes to the law, the DA is taking some serious risks in choosing not to enforce the current laws on the books. It could lead to uneven prosecution and the unhappy situation where if you are on one side of the street you get away with something, and on the other side (in another district) you get a rap sheet and prison time.

     

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  12.  
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    Michael, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 6:10am

    Re:

    Holy crap.

    I actually agree with everything you posted.

    I'm going to go see a doctor now...

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 6:23am

    They'd listen if Jack McCoy or Lieutenant Van Buren were in charge.

     

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  14.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 16th, 2014 @ 6:30am

    Re:

    Failing to uphold the statutes on the book because of a personal opinion or a political stand isn't a very good idea.

    This happens everyday, in every DA's office, in the entire country. I can't really believe you are naive enough to think it doesn't.

    For example, when was the last time anyone was prosecuted for having sex in a position other than missionary in places where those laws still exist? You can't believe that knowledge of this "crime" hasn't been brought to the DA's or an ADA's attention a time or two.



    What really needs to happen is that the state needs to turn low level drug offenses into a "ticket" crime, like a jaywalking ticket. The officer writes up the ticket, confiscates the weed, and calls it a day. If the offender really wants to fight the ticket, they can do so in court.

    That's pretty much the way it was before the "war on drugs", mandatory sentencing and the ever increasing criminalization of recreational drug use. Personally, I think legalization, regulation and taxation is the way to go with marijuana. Treat it like alcohol. We learned nothing from the mistakes of prohibition.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 6:37am

    Re:

    I'm pretty sure old dogs are better at learning new tricks than the NYPD.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    David, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 6:40am

    Re:

    Orange Whip?

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re:

    While agree that there is basically no prosecution for using a parking space to dry your clothes, I am not sure this situation is quite the same.

    This is still a pretty hot topic for society and for a DA to openly pronounce that they are not going to apply this law is a bigger deal. This is a DA using prosecutorial discretion to implement policy, and we should be careful about that especially when there are laws that many people break through the course of their day.

     

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  18.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 16th, 2014 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Re: reasonable cause

    Not to mention that an arrest itself, even in the absence of a later conviction, makes it more difficult to get a job, rent a house or apartment, and has an adverse effect on your credit.

     

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  19.  
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    OldMugwump (profile), Jul 16th, 2014 @ 7:43am

    Re: The officer writes up the ticket, confiscates the weed, and calls it a day

    Ah, yes, the "free pot for cops" program.

    When I get a speeding ticket, the cop usually says something like "I clocked you at 79, but I'm going to write you up for only 74".

    So, this will be "Looks like you got 3 ounces here, but I'm going to write you up for just 1". Because he's a nice guy and giving you a break.

    And putting the other 2 ounces in his pocket.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    ORG: "Also, if Israel says Hamas is firing rockets, LETS SEE THE EVIDENCE LIVE STREAM. LETS SEE EVIDENCE"


    RE: "What?

    Hamas denied they fired a rocket from Lebanon. They certainly claim responsibility for those fired from Gaza.

    Also what does this have to do with NYPD? Is this just a tin-foil hat posting?"


    No the problem you see is one of lack of communication. Since the communication received (RX ) in the USA is 98% Propaganda (because 97/98% of the PUBLIC SPECTRUM is Corporate Owned, while the ORIGINAL FCC Mission statement was not only trashed but replaced by several FASCIST mission statements. e.g. your CHEAP FONE IS YOUR GNU 1ST AMD and FSCK the 2ND ) Since POTUS controls the main STEERING of the FCC Board, it is a problem, we do have a problem. Especially in light of SPYING and Electronic Vote Tabulation Devices Bitchez!..

    .. means more later.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Tabulation Devices Bitchez!..

    .. means more later.


    .. more time.

    And to bring this shit full circle.. Shall we get back to the cops on the streets vs "CORRECT US Constitutional Instructions to Obey their FUCKING Oaths!!!"

    e.g. I know what the Constitution is in MY head.

    what have our SHIT tard Leaders changed from that KNOWLEDGE.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 8:52am

    Only Obama and the DOJ has the power to not enforce laws

    Only Obama and the DOJ has the power to not enforce laws; just look at all the laws they don't enforce.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re:



    Except those laws have been found unconstitutional, and are therefore not in effect, even if they are still "on the books". While you might find a drug law to be silly, it's not unconstitutional to have those laws. It's not the place of a DA to say that he doesn't think it should be a crime.

    Discretion is one thing; declaring you won't prosecute an entire class of crimes is another.

    On another note, perhaps NYC and the NYPD should be split up into its 5 boroughs. Maybe these guys could do with a little less power.

     

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  24.  
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    MondoGordo (profile), Jul 16th, 2014 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: reasonable cause

    and adds to the searchable fingerprint database ... documenting everyone who might break the law is a valuable outcome in the eyes of the police state and any excuse will do .

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 9:41am

    Re: Only Obama and the DOJ has the power to not enforce laws

    you misspelled "obey"

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Personanongrata, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 9:50am

    Consenting adults ingesting mood/mind altering substances is not a crime.

    Only petty authoritarian moral busybody nitwits are concerned with what consenting adults ingest.

    The specious arrests must be a lucrative alternate stream of revenue for NYC.

    The NYPD's costumed avengers are pathetic fractions of human beings who seem to enjoy placing people in jeopardy for the NYPD's enjoyment.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 10:09am

    DA Thompson , should open a corruption case against NYC's Finest for misuse of public funds , He'd end up dead I'm betting.

     

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  28.  
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    jdc (profile), Jul 16th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    Even with the DA not prosecuting ...

    the people arrested are being screwed over big time.

    The problem is the arrest itself. When an officer arrests someone that information is then send onward to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as well as being stored locally. So even though the DA doesn't prosecute the person arrested, they still have a record in a national database about being arrested. And that little record can definitely stand in their way for future employment.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 10:41am

    Good news, murderers, rapists, kidnappers and muggers!

    The NYPD is preoccupied with kids smoking a joint and will expend resources on busting them, while you're free to do...well, pretty much whatever you want.

    You see, not only is the NYPD a gang of halfwits, but they're also cowards. You might be armed and dangerous, but a kid armed with a joint is pretty non-threatening...so guess which one they're going to bust?

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 10:43am

    Re: Good news, murderers, rapists, kidnappers and muggers!

    Give them a little credit, they are making a concerted effort to get all of those dangerous iPhone guns off of the street.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 10:48am

    Re:

    Prosecutorial discretion is important to include however. Otherwise you overload the courts with cases that just shouldn't be there, see every teen-sexting child pornography case. We need to destroy the children to save them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 16th, 2014 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Except those laws have been found unconstitutional, and are therefore not in effect, even if they are still "on the books". While you might find a drug law to be silly, it's not unconstitutional to have those laws.

    Alright. Fair enough. Bad example on my part. Still, there are tons of constitutional laws that DA's and the police choose not to enforce.


    It's not the place of a DA to say that he doesn't think it should be a crime.

    He didn't say it wasn't a crime, just that his office won't pursue those cases. Isn't that exactly part of a DA's job description? They decide which cases to bring to court and which ones to ignore.


    Discretion is one thing; declaring you won't prosecute an entire class of crimes is another.

    So declaring it is the problem? If he just kept his mouth shut and didn't pursue any of those cases, it's all cool? I'd rather he saved the police the time, money and effort myself. (Not like it mattered here since the NYPD is ignoring him anyways)

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Stosh, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 11:49am

    If you think a law or regulation is wrong or shouldn't be enforced, then repeal it. We could do with a lot fewer laws on the books.

    Leaving enforcement decisions up to the DA's or cops give them far too much power over the people they should be serving.

     

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  34.  
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    Starke (profile), Jul 16th, 2014 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re:

    Now, that's not fair, the NYPD's always finding new ways to stomp all over people's civil rights. Be it stop and frisk, playing with stingrays, or trying to figure out how they can get their hands on some drones.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Mark Noo, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 4:54pm

    Can a DA do that

    Aren't DAs sworn to uphold the laws of their state. If it isn't medical marijuana isn't it still a crime.

    Please don't mistake my meaning.

    Our war on drugs is useless and should be discontinued immediately but does that mean people can decide what laws they will and won't enforce.

    What if we the our government decided to enforce civil liberties for Asians but not Blacks or Hispanics or Whites.

    How does prosecutorial discretion work. Usually it is bad.
    In this case it is a great idea but what does it mean overall.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Mark Noo, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 4:57pm

    Re: Can a DA do that

    Also:

    If the police stop arresting non-violent low level drug possessors will they have anything to do?

    Brooklyn is well known for its law abiding citizens. Maybe they have to keep up the arrests to keep the officers busy.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 6:54pm

    Re: Can a DA do that

    Our war on drugs is useless and should be discontinued immediately but does that mean people can decide what laws they will and won't enforce.
    Yes

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 16th, 2014 @ 7:28pm

    Re: Can a DA do that

    They already do. There are an insane number of laws on the books, if all of them were enforced, there would not be a person alive to make it to adulthood without an extensive criminal record.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    cennis (profile), Jul 16th, 2014 @ 8:01pm

    know your rights

    Just one more reason to know your rights. What we should all be fighting for is a more centralized project revolving around ensuring everyone understands their rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2014 @ 4:16am

    Does the NYPD gather all the "drug-related" evidence of recreational offenders?
    I mean it's certainly "drug money" in those wallets and if on average everyone has at least 5 bucks of "drug money" on them and they stop x offenders a month they can seize x times $5 each month with bonus forfeiture for the policeman's charity ball.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jul 17th, 2014 @ 8:12am

    Re:

    Consenting adults ingesting mood/mind altering substances is not a crime.

    You must be referring to some country other than the US.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    GEMont, Jul 20th, 2014 @ 12:53pm

    Prohibition 2 eternal!

    The mob wants its best-selling black market product back.

    They are extremely pissed that their decades of graft to politicians of all stripes has not insured the continued illegality of their favourite contraband.

    The organizations they control, like the Federal Government and the NYPD, has their orders to do their damnest to get the stuff made illegal again by insuring there is always bad press and public consequences for use of cannabis.

    The mob hopes that enough bad press and escalated arrests can make the public believe cannabis should go back under prohibition and thus continue to be their number one money maker for another century.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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