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How Cops Think

Scott Greenfield, the New York criminal defense attorney with the Simple Justice blog, provides today two interesting examples of how cops think. Or don’t, as the case may be.

Fresno County Sheriff Mims provides her own example.

The Fresno Bee reports today thatMims has decided to join the growing list of California cops who say, “Fuck what the voters want. This is my county!”

Mims trots out the old “pot dispensaries are magnets for crime” stories. Makes sense…to those who already feel that regardless of the fact that modern medicine has finally started to catch up with what people have known for over 5000 years, they want none of it. Medical marijuana is, for those who rely on it, a godsend. But the mythology that started the War on Drugs doesn’t care about that. And Mims, who almost certainly has a money motive in keeping the War alive, will have none of that, either.

This post is not about the medicinal qualities of marijuana. Frankly, I don’t want to write an article long enough to cover all the benefits of natural remedies over the more-profitable, more-dangerous, artificial ones drug companies insist upon. Besides, while I do defend medical marijuana growers and therefore read quite a lot of marijuana law, I don’t use it. So I can’t speak about the benefits from my own experience. I only know that an increasing number of studies show that marijuana has for decades now been cloaked in so many lies that it’s hard for uneducated people to know about the thousands of years of positive history humanity has had with the plant.

The potroversy, though, does provide further insight into the way cops think.

Sheriff Mims — as she has done so many times (2015 update: Link disappeared) before — reminds us that getting her way is much more important than doing her job. Her job, of course, is to enforce the law. Mims wants none of that. California voters approved medical marijuana? Over her dead body!, she tell us. Why, they’re goddamn “magnets for crime.”

Frankly, if that were true, I’d think her and her donut-chomping lackeys would appreciate them more. They already refuse to respond to crimes on the basis that they just don’t have time for that. So, if pot dispensaries are such crime magnets, why not just set up a few county-run dispensaries, park a cruiser out front and then hold press conferences each week to pat yourself on the back when you arrest all the magnetized criminals irresistibly drawn to your location?

Of course, it’s not really that easy.

Because Sheriff Mims is lying.

Dispensaries are no more magnets for crime than are stores that sell alcohol. Or groceries. The story in which Mims was quoted notes that there have been two crimes committed involving dispensaries in the last month. Two whole crimes! (Well, one wasn’t 100% “whole” since the attempted robbery failed when the dispensary owner ducked into a closet.)

How many convenience stores have been robbed in that same time period? How many grocery stores? As I recall, someone tried to rob a SaveMartabout a week or so ago. That’s a large chain store! Banks? Now there are some magnets for crime! ATM thefts, bank robberies, you name it. Is Sheriff Mims lobbying to shut any of them down?

Nope.

But that’s not the only reason I know Sheriff Mims is lying. And it’s also not just because her lips are moving. I know Sheriff Mims is lying because she admitted as much herself:

Mims said her office has not examined how much crime has been reported at and around dispensaries. But she said she also is troubled by law-enforcement reports that marijuana grown illegally on public land has been bought by dispensaries.

Sheriff Mims doesn’t know how much crime has been reported at or around dispensaries. But don’t pay attention to that. She’s troubled by “law-enforcement reports.”

So am I. I’m troubled by law-enforcement reports — including those to the ever-gullible Fresno Police Cheerleaders Gazette Bee, which wouldn’t know an investigative reporter, or a critical thinker, if one walked in and bit the editor on the ass. I’m troubled by law enforcement reports which contain more lies than truth. Even the ones that don’t exist, like those Sheriff Mims made up for the Bee.

Did a law enforcement officer find a dispensary that bought pot that was grown illegally?

Then why didn’t they arrest the people — at least the owners — at the dispensary? Why didn’t they trot them out in front of reporters, instead of made-up stories about invisible magnets?

California has two primary sets of laws controlling the growth, transportation, distribution and use of medical marijuana. The Compassionate Use Act and California Senate Bill 420, known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act. Neither allows medical marijuana dispensaries to possess or distribute marijuana grown illegally. Medical marijuana law in California allows certain individuals and collectives to grow marijuana legally. Dispensaries can — and do — obtain their marijuana from such sources.

But that won’t satisfy the likes of Sheriff Mims. She doesn’t like pot. She won’t support the laws of the State of California. She doesn’t give a damn whether they’re passed by the voters, or the California legislature. And she doesn’t care if she has to lie to convince you how terrible marijuana dispensaries are, because she just “knows.”

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