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Myth: Oregon Police Resources Aren’t Spent On Marijuana Enforcement


oregon measure 91 marijuana legalizationMarijuana opponents claim that cops aren’t really focused on enforcing marijuana prohibition, so that marijuana legalization isn’t needed. That claim is blatantly false. Quite a bit of resources are dedicated towards busting people for marijuana in Oregon. These same resources could go towards fighting real crime, but they are instead directed towards enforcing a failed, harmful, racist policy.

An example that I always offer up is when the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a woman who stated that her ex-husband was pounding on her door and making threats. The woman had a restraining order against the man, and it was known that he was violent. The dispatcher told the woman that there wasn’t anyone to send. The end result was that the man strangled and raped the woman. Meanwhile, a raid of a medical marijuana dispensary was occuring not too far away, which involved 70 officers from surrounding areas, including Josephine County Sheriff Deputies. Clearly there is an issue.

Below is more information about this issue, per the New Approach Oregon campaign:

More than half of the drug-related arrests and citations made in Oregon are for marijuana. (Source: Oregon State Police, page 4-10). In 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, 21,856 people were arrested or cited for drug crimes, and 12,808 of them were for marijuana.

Marijuana-related policing has a huge cost. Police time is required  to search, arrest, book, issue a ticket or lock someone up.  In addition to the financial cost, every marijuana arrest and citation takes time that a police officer could have used patrolling a neighborhood, preventing an assault or solving a violent crime. Then there’s also the cost to the individuals, who will now have a marijuana crime on their records and may have trouble finding a job. Treating adult marijuana use as a crime is a drain on our resources.


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. Wow what criminal acts the police perpetrated and when she called for 911 the police did not drop the ball they threw it away.
    This cop in missouri typifies this type of redneck,cowboy,racist,and homophobic hate that is rife in police forces around the country. “Dan Page in April was giving a speech at Oath Givers in which he described President Barack Obama as an illegal immigrant, and railed against Muslims and gay people. “I’m into diversity – I kill everybody,” he said.” This type of person is rampant in the police and the DEA and are running amok. Now this issue is coming out to National Media and it’s about time we rein in this type of hate behaviour.

  2. stellarvoyager on

    Yes, thank you, I hope they do make it a campaign issue, because for the reasons you stated, it would be a very potent one, especially given the sheriffs’ choice to politicize this issue. I remember reading about both the raid and the rape case last year shortly after they happened, and I was outraged by this blatant misuse of resources. Everyone should find out the truth about this tragedy.

  3. stellarvoyager on

    Yes, they were raiding a medical marijuana dispensary at the time, this just a few short months from when the Oregon legislature passed the dispensary legalization bill. I don’t have a link or remember the name of the dispensary, unfortunately, but I did see it mentioned in the local news. The investigation took over two years and something like 100 agents, yet they “don’t have an officer available” to respond to an imminent rape and strangulation. This whole affair truly reeks, and it should be widely publicized, especially when the sheriffs have decided to politicize the legalization issue.

  4. I see that the NY Daily news picked up this story about Josephine County, OR Sheriffs, but nothing was mentioned about the officers attending a marijuana bust at the time of the assault. Can you give some more info on this? This is deep shit.

  5. Anslinger's Goon on

    The facts are on our side for legalization, but facts alone don’t move votes. A story like this about the woman in Josephine County has the emotional core to do so. It’s visceral, factual and emotional to sway votes. It’s pretty stark as people on the fence consider the issue of public safety and the criminal misdirection of resources. I concur with Stellarvoyager, this needs to be made into a campaign issue.

    My wife is planning to vote yes on 91, but is not nearly as gung-ho about it as I am. She was appalled when I shared your post. It really hits people at the core. I encourage you to ask the campaign to make this into a greater issue. Someone with a 12 yr-old intelligence can understand this. It crystalizes the failure of prohibition in an easy to understand manner.

  6. Captain Obvious on

    Fascism is the leading cause of terrorism worldwide which only seeks to engineer a hell on earth; Akin to taking a baseball bat to a bee hive.

  7. stellarvoyager on

    Johnny, the police negligence you describe in that Josephine county rape incident should be made into a campaign issue, with the permission of the family, and repeated and broadcast statewide every day until the election. With police militarization and corruption currently making national headlines with the Ferguson situation, the time is right to make this a campaign issue, and it fits in perfectly with why we need to end cannabis prohibition now. Cannabis prohibition and the larger war on drugs have been the main drivers of police militarization.

  8. I yearn for the days when police were “peace officers”. After generations of the drug war, people have learned to look upon police departments and officers as an enemy instead of a needed friendlies. It works both ways, and now we have officers that look on pot users as a scourge to be driven out, and their new-found perception of themselves has escalated to police violence against people. Very dangerous.

    The public has come to fear police instead of rely on them. This can change. I was so delighted when I read Doug Fine’s book, Too High To Fail and saw how the sheriff department made peace with the pot culture in Humbolt and how everyone was not only learning to get along, but thrived along side each other, in peace. Of course it didn’t last when the feds came in, but it WAS working. I have a dream…

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