Thursday, April 12, 2007

The BLT Defense

This story is too funny.
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - A Pullman landlord notified police about a grow lamp in a closet, and police got a search warrant for a drug raid.
I wish there was video, there isn't, but I can picture the scene. The local SWAT team arrives in bullet proof vests and with all their other cool equipment they purchased with forfeiture funds and busts in the door with great fanfare and ....
Eight officers with guns drawn surprised three roommates in the apartment last weekend and discovered they were growing tomatoes.
We'll leave aside that eight cops with drawn guns seems like a little bit of overkill for one closet, even if they were growing pot. Somehow I feel sure, this could have handled by two cops who knocked on the door and asked to be let in to see for themselves what was in there. And ignoring that even if it was pot, one closet does not a grow-op make. They couldn't possibly grow much more than they would smoke themselves and it would take a little business away from organized cartels.

This is what the drug war has wrought. The landlord, no doubt in fear of losing his property to forfeiture laws if the kids were caught growing pot in his house, turns it over to the police rather than asking them himself what the hell is in the closet. The police's first line of investigation is to bust the door down, rather than take a look themselves. The raid cost thousands of tax dollars, and tied up a lot of cops. Thirty years ago, the landlord would have either just asked, or pretended he didn't see it and the cops would have been out there busting property thieves and rapists. Which sounds like the better scenario to you?

Wherever you stand on the legalization of all drugs, surely it's time to admit that the enforcement of marijuana laws is doing more harm than good.


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