State Rep. Carly Melin questions cops on the economic interests of opposing pot

Categories: Crime, Marijuana
PotRX.jpg
trawin / flickr
Just about everyone who's met privately with Minnesota's top cops to talk medical marijuana has walked away from negotiations using the same two words -- brick wall.

"They had blanket opposition to marijuana reform," State Rep. Carly Melin (DFL) told us last month while we were researching a story about the upcoming legislation. "There were no provisions in the bill they could support and they weren't willing to work with us at all."

SEE ALSO: When will medical marijuana be legal in Minnesota?

But last week, in an interview with Politics in Minnesota's Mike Mosedale, Melin revealed one of the objections of law enforcement, which has yet to be aired aloud -- that any marijuana reform could lead to reductions in the $4.2 million worth of federal grants propping up the drug-enforcement tasks forces around the state.

CarlyMelin.jpg
State Rep. Carly Melin of Hibbing
"I don't think it's part of the debate because they wouldn't publicly admit that it's even an issue," Melin told PIM, adding: "Nobody wants to question the motives or honesty of law enforcement."

Many of the concerns of law enforcement officials have already been addressed in the medical marijuana bill that's coming up for debate soon. The bill as it stands goes so far as to prohibit patients from smoking marijuana in front of children and would criminalize any patients who divert even a small amount of their supply.

It's a point that has led even cops to question the true motives of their bosses. As Mosedale pointed out, Minnesota seized approximately $8.3 million of cash and property in 2012 under the state's forfeiture law, which allows police departments to seize (and sell) the assets of suspected dealers.

"If you go back four decades, only the criminals were making millions of dollars," says Maj. Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a national group that lobbies against the War on Drugs. "Now everybody's got a piece of the pie -- even cops -- with our federal grants and asset forfeitures."

As chief of human resources for Baltimore police, Franklin's job was "to keep money coming in so I could keep cops on the street," he says. The Department of Justice implemented the civil asset forfeiture program in the 1980s as a tool to go after drug kingpins, but it's been widely applied.

"If they take two grand from you, it might not be worth fighting because it's going to cost you more to get it back," Franklin says.

At home, the concerns that medical marijuana reform could result in fewer federal dollars are unfounded, according to State Rep. Dan Schoen (DFL), a former narcotics officer.

"We're not talking about full legalization of cannabis," says Schoen, a sponsor of the medical marijuana bill, "and I think that's some of the disconnect."

Representatives from the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, the Minnesota Sheriffs' Association, and Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association did not return our messages seeking comment.

-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to jmarx@citypages.com


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
88 comments
laxx1559
laxx1559

This is really how things work.  Police know pot itself isn't dangerous, they deal with drug/alcohol addicts all day- but they don't want to give up their extra money.  You know these people are skimming dollars off the top of drug/money seizures. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

.


               *** Colorado marijuana operators raided by feds ***


On Nov. 21, federal agents executed search warrants on 14 businesses and two homes in the largest raid ever on Colorado's medical marijuana industry, rousting a part-time manager as he got his children ready for school in Nederland and busting down doors in Denver.


Sources told The Denver Post that the raids were chasing possible connections to Colombian drug cartels. The raids gutted grow warehouses, cost businesses millions in inventory, and forced owners to close stores and lay off employees.


The government has identified a dozen people in the ongoing investigation. All but one is connected to a chain of five medical marijuana dispensaries and about a half-dozen marijuana grows controlled by Uribe, his relatives or associates, records show.



SosMpls
SosMpls

We can't even buy beer on Sunday in this archaic town, don't think we'll have the Walmart of Weed anytime soon. You people are so busy trying to be cool that you don't take the time to learn anything about the idiots you vote for. 

MrGasso
MrGasso

If I was Drug Czar I would require ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT to smoke MJ as part of their Training. And not just a puff.....They would have to smoke until Red Eyed.

papoinnh
papoinnh

That is not necessarily true.. Drug dealers sell drug, not just marihuana. It's those drugs that are and should remain illegal and dangerous, it's those drugs that we should fight to eliminate, not marihuana. Stop following the media, they love to stir shit up and create kaoz amongst ourselves.. it's great headline material.. 

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

Not only the police, but an entire system created so judges don't have to do as much work and prisons get a steady flow of inmates

Jake Hanson
Jake Hanson

Finally a politician that follows the money trail and speaks up against it!

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

If you add up the dedicated Federal funds, and the take from confiscation and forfeiture, that's $12,500,000 a year for the police.  The additional arrests no doubt necessitate more cop jobs, not to mention jail and prison facilities and personnel.  I hesitate to mention that in my hometown, the most reliable dope-dealer with the best weed was one of the cops.  He never liked that I wouldn't have anything to do with him; he liked have a regular clientele of people he had that kind of power over (and this was 30 years ago).


So yeah, the cops are going to be dead-set against legalization.


Good for Rep. Melin for bringing up the obvious, and so frequently ignored, truth.

Sharon Anderson
Sharon Anderson

We must legalize Med MJ 4 Glacoma YES www.sharon4mnag.blogspot.com Taking Medicare to Force MNsure is Bizzare

Tanker10
Tanker10

Make it legal and get rid of some cops , that's what they are worried about .

omnipitous
omnipitous

I wrote Dayton a long mail about this topic specifically.  The police department's job is to enforce the legislated will of the people NOT to dictate the rules they are to enforce.  For the most part I have had no objection to Dayton's 'rule' but his insistence on giving the police department ANY say in what our laws are means his opponent is getting my vote next election.  Period.  

Andy Simser
Andy Simser

The day any police officer has an ethical discussion about pot is the day hell freezes over. Or the day the Vikings win a super bowl for that matter. Cops smell bud and they're already counting the money.

petersb
petersb

Having cops decide if this should be legal would be like having the church decide if gay marriage should be legal.  Dayton is a punk.

truckmeyer
truckmeyer

If law enforcement is unwilling to budge, why are we even watering down the bill? Let's do full legal and put it in the ballot. Let the people decide.

Jake Byers
Jake Byers

Thank you Carly thank you thank you thank you!! Call your reps, write letters, show up for the hearings! get out be active in your government. liking it on face book is not enough.

Brett Garrett
Brett Garrett

Wanna talk about revenue? Look at CO. nuff said

bobbyearle
bobbyearle

@DonkeyHotay  Not a single marijuana arrest in all of those raids. What point are you making, exactly?

Drewey
Drewey topcommenter

You should post some reefer madness videos. That'll really win the day.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@papoinnh  please leave America, stupid

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@papoinnh  " It's those drugs that are and should remain illegal and dangerous"


Why are you such a hypocritical prohibitionist piece of shit?



henk.tobias0
henk.tobias0 topcommenter

@papoinnh KAOZ? Isn't that the organization that Maxwell Smart fought against?

MrGasso
MrGasso

Let's Elect this woman Governor! Finally someone with integrity and a brain.

Drewey
Drewey topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  well, I'm convinced.  Who wants a few people harmlessly burning one when we could go back to the black market, cartel supply chain that has worked so well up until now.   I mean why spend money on drug education and treatment for real drugs when we can spend it all on propaganda, incarceration,  and dea drones?  Am I right?  

woodbillygirl
woodbillygirl

@omnipitous  I also sent a e-mail to our Governor. Asking some of the same questions.My concern is he does not want this to be voted by the people but by the Legislature. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... nonsense.


Total sales tax revenue for Medical Marijuana is Colorado is LESS than 1/2 of 1% of overall sales tax collected statewide.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Drewey ... "black market" = the same friends, family and associates who've always supplied your dope.


Why do you hate and denigrate them so much?



bobbyearle
bobbyearle

@DonkeyHotay  So you apparently aren't aware of RECREATIONAL marijuana? That's where the money will come from. More importantly, please don't be so silly as to ignore the total EXPENSES of prohibition that are no longer being wasted thanks to legalization. Taxes could bring in zero dollars and still there would be millions upon millions given back to the state thanks to the wastes of prohibition being lifted.


Please read the science on the matter. 

Drewey
Drewey topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  is that number for medical or all marijuana sales?  Does your figure account for increased tourism?  Do you factor in the decrease in tax dollars to enforce anti marijuana laws?  Do you account for the decreased burden on the court system? Or do you like to just grab one dated statistic in a weak attempt to make your point? 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@bobbyearle <== clueless bong-sucking simpleton who doesn't know that the Feds can/will indict people up to 24 months after they've collected evidence from an initial raid -- i.e. fact finding probe


@bobbyearle "and they've found nothing and charged no one."

Does it hurt to be so pig-ignorant of reality?

Prosecutors indict Colombian man tied to Colorado marijuana raids

12/04/2013 10:30:06

Federal prosecutors have obtained an indictment on a weapons charge against a man arrested during major raids on Colorado medical-marijuana businesses.


The indictment charges 49-year-old Hector Diaz, who is a citizen of Colombia, with possessing a firearm in violation of his visa. 


Prosecutors obtained the indictment from a grand jury Tuesday, but it was not made public until Wednesday.



bobbyearle
bobbyearle

@FreeTheWeed  Man... 


So @DonkeyHotay referred to a series of raids. Referring to that, as that's how these conversations work, I added that it's now been months since those raids and they came up with ZERO marijuana related arrests. 


So his whole post -- based on those raids -- is actually one that shows the positive outcomes of legalization. They made up a story, hoping to find SOMEONE tied to the cartel, and they've found nothing and charged no one.


Now about that drunk or stupid thing...


Bobby

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Drewey <== clueless bong-sucker who didn't even read Colorado's A64, much less comprehend what it proposed.


A64 did NOT remove a single FELONY marijuana statute from Colorado law.


A64 did NOT remove a single criminal Misdemeanor marijuana statute from Colorado law.


A64 explicitly EXCLUDES ALL ADULTS under 21 yrs old from any legal access to rec. marijuana, under full penalty of CRIMINAL law.


A64 explicitly affirmed that any sales between consenting adults shall REMAIN ILLEGAL ... not a single gram is allowed, under FELONY criminal penalties.


A64 explicitly affirmed that Driving under the INFLUENCE of marijuana shall REMAIN ILLEGAL, without setting any reasonable or scientifically rational basis for that, allowing and inviting the anti-pot legislature to set a pathetically low 5 ng/ml limit, which in effect criminalizes every regular user/patient of marijuana.


A64 did NOT legalize marijuana, even the AUTHORS of that turd admitted that fact during congressional hearings on the amendment.


A64 was a COMMERCIALIZATION of Cannabis initiative, proposed by Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Cartels, at the expense and detriment to INDIVIDUAL marijuana users, growers and dealers in Colorado.



Drewey
Drewey topcommenter

@FreeTheWeed  Weed is legal and smoking in public tickets skyrocket...I'm shocked.  How many families were destroyed in that same time period by prosecution and imprisonment for growing or smoking a plant?  Oh wait, those statistics don't help your argument so they don't exist.

Drewey
Drewey topcommenter

@mingtran  hey donkey, ming to the rescue... got the brain trust on this mofo now.  Hey ming drop some knowledge on us.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

YEAH, keep mentioning cartel weed. It's working, I promise

Drewey
Drewey topcommenter

Compelling. At least you're not afraid to show everyone that you know almost nothing about this subject. Keep sticking with you're single point arguments, it working I promise...

FreeTheWeed
FreeTheWeed

Every recreational user already has a source / connection for tax free weed.

Only newbies and fools would purchase overpriced, overtaxed government regulated retail schwag.

There will still be plenty of prison fodder as the greedy dispensary cartels sic their new law enforcement pals on the private growers and users who would dare refuse to patronize them.

Drewey
Drewey topcommenter

That's what I thought.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Drewey  "Answer the rest if [sic] my questions"


Learn English, stoner.

Drewey
Drewey topcommenter

Answer the rest if my questions

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Drewey ... what part of 1/2 of 1% don't you comprehend?


The pathetic promise of massive tax revenue from pot is just another stupid stoner lie.


Less than 15% of the population smokes pot on a regular basis, and only a tiny fraction of them are so ostracized that they would pay inflated, overtaxed, prices for over-regulated government controlled warehouse weed from Greedy Big $$ Dispensary cartels.


Most stoners in Colorado, California, Oregon, and Washington either GROW THEIR OWN, or obtain it from the same Grower Friends, Family or Associates they've ALWAYS bought it from -- TAX FREE!



Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...