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Marijuana Prohibition Is A Cash Cow For Law Enforcement


asset forfeiture marijuana arrestEvery wonder why law enforcement fights so hard against marijuana legalization? While there are many reasons, one of the biggest ones is because their funding depends on it. Law enforcement agencies get federal grants to fight crime, and they boost their data by arresting marijuana consumers. At the end of the year they can point to data and say ‘look, we caught all these criminals, now give us more money.’ If/when marijuana is legalized, a lot of that data goes away, and with it, some of their funding.

Keeping marijuana prohibition in place is ‘good for business’ for law enforcement. Per the Washington Post:

Grants to states and localities are not contingent on increasing drug arrests, but federal officials acknowledge that many police chiefs and sheriffs believe racking up arrests bolsters their case for money they have come to depend on.

“Every year, you’d say, ‘This is what we did, these are our arrests,’ and you’d get the federal money,” says Art Watson, chief deputy sheriff in Hancock County. The sheriff’s office uses grant money to fund one of the two deputies it assigns to the drug task force and to pay overtime to officers.

Denise O’Donnell, who runs the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance, which administers the Byrne grants, says her agency is examining whether the program “is somehow incentivizing agencies to make more low-level arrests.”

Another way law enforcement makes money on marijuana prohibition is via asset forfeiture. If a cop catches someone illegally growing marijuana at their house, or transporting it illegally in their car, they take those things away, along with whatever else they can get their hands on. Similar to federal grants, if/when marijuana is legalized, those asset forfeiture opportunites go away. It’s way past time to take away these incentives from law enforcement. Law enforcement should be focused on catching real criminals, not trying to boost their budgets off the backs of harmless marijuana consumers.


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Johnny Green


  1. Or maybe they found a way around that too. The State of Michigan, according to MLIVE, collected $23 million more dollars than they could use and planned to distribute to the money ingrants. And guess what? County law enforcement were the only ones able to retrieve the “grant” monies for oversight of the program, not for any other medical marijuana related purposes.

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  3. Hi, I live in michigan and trying to grow outside.my first time and I have one plant it started out perfect started growing now its about 2 feet tall and it seems like it just stopped growing.i used miricle grow and it kinda filled out a little it gets sun all day but it just seems like its not going to make it turning yellow on the leaves I read that it needs potassium, what should I do to fix this

  4. Yes. This is incredibly shameful. There are, at least, another couple of ways police profit from the fraudulent marijuana prohibition.

    One is they rack up all kinds of credit/awards/etc. by making lots of marijuana busts. These wonderful “reputations” are the basis for promotions, raises and bonuses.

    Another is corruption. It is a lot deeper and widespread than most people think. The road from bust to evidence locker is a difficult one, with much marijuana being “lost” on the way.

    And, of course, some police are directly on the drug gangs’ payroll.

    There is no more important domestic issue than ending what is essentially, the American Inquisition – and all it’s vicious, greedy goons (police).

  5. Randy Baker on

    90% of Federal prisoners are non violent drug offenders i heard.. Thats alot of food and water and electricity.. Like we dont need the money for other things

  6. The DOJ needs to stop rewarding law enforcement for making more arrests – this is out of control – The JAG or Edward Memorial Asst Grant program is open ended more arrest equals more money each year ! It is a conflict of interest for law enforcement to be so influential in the amount of funding they receive. – The JAG grant program and privatized prisons are why America has the title of Prison Capitol of the World. Grants need to be awarded based on normal national/world averages and operation needs – If things do not change with private prisons and JAG grant program arrest rates will continue to rise in the United States and the prisons and law enforcement will grow with them.

  7. asset forfeiture is really government sanctioned piracy with the pirates wearing badges. it corrupts the justice system by adding the profit motive to law enforcement. and in order to get the seized property back the burden of proof is on the property owner to prove the assets had no connection to illegal activity. the seized property is deemed guilty until proven innocent, not the property owner. a fee is often imposed on the return of the seized property. a large percentage of seized property is never returned. so the cops make out like bandits.

  8. Scott Eaton on

    This is because you can get hooked on big Phram’s drugs and not weed…….How many people has Merck killed in the last 20 years ? Anyone go to jail for it ?

  9. Marajuana is illegal but it’s ok for pharmaceutical companies to make zohydro that is almost 100% hydro codon .hydrocodon is an opiat just like heroin. It’s highly addictive.looks like the pharmacies win again. A herbal and safe multi purpose pain releaver and of course mood enhancer wich is not addictive. Looses to pharmacy mad heroin called zohydro. I gues the cops would rather take our homes distroy our lives ruin families make people feel like garbage just so they can finance their retirement plans. The FDA just approved this drug and marajuana is still illegal this is bull shit what a bunch of hypocrites. Big money wins again. The FDA leaders need to be fired. Email your politictions voice your opinions.

  10. Citizens should never be used as commodity in For Profit Prison System, Law enforcement should be used to serve the citizens . It’s as sad of time in America history, that we the citizens no longer trust our police force, and the police don’t care if we the American Citizens don’t trust them. This 30years war on U.S. Citizens over the war on drugs, which has costs our nation over a trillion dollars, and subverted our law enforcement agencies into a pare military force needs to change. Congress/Senate need to pass a bill legalizing cannabis and hemp nationally. And allow cannabis and hemp to be a state rights issues. Legalization of cannabis and hemp , with all taxes from cannabis and hemp earmarked for college students education fund and k-12 students. And don’t cut taxes when we get a windfall from taxing it.

  11. Evil Druggies on

    Of course it is ! Add to the story about civil forfeiture from folks that have nothing to do with cannabis culture and the picture is complete. The entire system is rigged around cannabis prohibition. There has never been a system so tightly wrapped around policing for profit in the history of mankind like there is around this. This isn’t about morals or race or public safety. This isn’t about protecting the children. Its all about the Benjamin’$$$$.

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