On Marijuana Reform – The “Experts” speak

ohiomarijuanaThe debate rages here in Ohio as the November election date draws near. Do we or do we not want to Legalize Marijuana in the great State of Ohio. I, like many, am still reading and researching, trying to make the best informed decision that I can. To that end I have watched with interest as law enforcement leaders from Cincinnati began to endorse legalization of marijuana. That did not totally surprise me. But let us have a look at what was said, and who said it.

Retired Police Chief Thomas H. Streicher Jr., who served as the Police Chief of the Cincinnati Police Department from 1999 to 2011, and served as a police officer from the early 70’s had this to say. “Our state spends over $120 million per year to enforce marijuana prohibition, even though we all know these laws do not work. Law enforcement should instead be able to spend their time and their resources cracking down on the real criminals.” One would have to believe that he knows what he is talking about, not only from an administrators point of view responsible for assigning resources but from the perspective of a working police officer enforcing marijuana laws that range from a minor misdemeanor to a felony.

Retired Police Captain and Author Howard Rahtz, who has written several law enforcement books including “Drugs, Crime and Violence: From Trafficking to Treatment”, in a television ad encouraging passage of marijuana reform laws in Ohio, speaks about seeing the drug problem firsthand and that in his opinion, Ohio’s war on drugs doesn’t work. “Simply put, they don’t work,” Rahtz said. Rahtz also speaks of the cost of the prohibition to Ohio alone and that “it’s time for marijuana reform so law enforcement can focus on cracking down on real criminals.”

Last, and most surprising, to jump on the bandwagon is Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. I say most surprising because unlike Streicher and Rahtz, Deters is still on the county payroll and therefore answerable to the “higher-ups” in the organization. Here is his take on the matter. “I’ve been in law enforcement too long, and I would rather deal with a guy who smokes a joint than someone who drinks a bottle of vodka,” Deters said in a round-table discussion with The Enquirer Editorial Board. “They drink vodka, they start beating each other with shovels. You smoke a joint, you fall asleep. And I think it’s been — in my opinion, there’s been a racial disparity with the use of marijuana, and I just don’t think it’s as bad as alcohol.” He went on to say “The reality is this: Marijuana is here. I could walk out here right now and buy marijuana in 10 minutes — that’s a fact.” Racial disparity? What is he trying to imply? How does race end up in every conversation about anything and what does it have to do with marijuana reform? I think Joe is already smoking something.

There you have it, a retired police chief, retired police captain, and the current prosecutor of Hamilton County saying almost the same thing. Marijuana laws do not work. Too many resources are spent enforcing laws that by most standards are a strain on the already over taxed resources of most police agencies, but have very limited impact on the peace and good order of a community. Two of the three made references to going after the real criminals. To this end I have to disagree. In the simplest of terms, marijuana laws are in effect. Violating any of these laws is a crime. Hense, marijuana violators are real criminals, particularly those involved in the sale and distribution of the product. However, if the law passes, they will be put out of work. They will have to seek more gainful employment (like that is ever going to happen) or retrain them selves to work in another field, such as the sale and distribution of heroin.

In a recent online poll conducted by WCPO, a local TV affiliate, 76% of those responding indicated they would vote yes on the ballot to legalize marijuana in Ohio. I think as the opinions of Streicher, Rahtz, and Deters become better know it may sway even more people over to the yes column. So what do you think, should marijuana be legal in Ohio? Do Streicher, Rahtz, and Deters know what they are talking about? Or do you just think “Duuuude, what ever man”.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

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Tom Lind

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1 Comment

  1. AnonymousSeptember 1, 2015

    Why not legalize all drugs put all the drug pushers out of business. That way the citizens of the United States can choose to use them or not. Legalizing one is not going to stop the sales, black markets will spring up. It’s pretty interesting in knowing that the drug user’s are over taking this country and changing laws. Might as well fire all Law Enforcement officers! Just think all our kids can grow up to become drug addicts legally.


Feel free to comment, why should I have the last word.

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