Drug enforcement cops and, it seems, a large swath of the DEA, are little more than paramilitary power-crazed mercenaries. They have confused justice with overwhelming force, and righteousness with power.
Some cops in Santa Ana, California raided a marijuana dispensary. Complete with drawn firearms and ski-masks, they kicked in the doors and ransacked the place. Once inside, they promptly disabled the surveillance equipment (or so they thought) and proceeded to engage in some fairly despicable behavior. Apparently, one security camera went unnoticed by the raiders. This camera recorded video of the cops ingesting marijuana edibles and becoming intoxicated.
The behavior more or less proves that the agents and cops enforcing cannabis prohibition pretty much know it’s a substance that is safer than hairspray, yet they use supremely oppressive tactics to go after the users and purveyors of cannabis.
The most heinous act, however, needs a little context.
The owners of the dispensary, Marla and David James, caught wind of the impending raid from their attorney. Knowing they couldn’t stop it, they opted to simply be present and observe the raid as it happened. The cops, apparently, did not know that they were the owners. Marla James has an amputated limb. A female cop who participated in the raid can be heard on the video joking around about how she wanted to kick one of the activists (Marla James) in her “nub,” referring to her amputated limb.
The big-picture issue is the federal classification of cannabis. Change it just slightly from Schedule I to Schedule II, and all of these problems evaporate (along with a hefty amount of search and seizure booty). The human issue, however, is that if you try to sell or grow cannabis, the authorities seem to think you are less than human, not worthy of basic rights and dignity.
Sure, these people are police officers, and they are charged with enforcing the laws, however ludicrous those laws may be. But at what point did the idea of serving and protecting get replaced with oppressing and insulting? In California, this particular weed shop was not licensed. It was, technically, within the cop’s job description to raid and shut down the dispensary, even if it isn’t morally or scientifically right.
Yet I have never heard of the clause in the police code that dictates (or even condones) that someone with a disability should be ridiculed by the same people who are destroying their livelihood. Nor have I seen the rules that say cops are above the laws they enforce. They can still do their jobs without being assholes, but maybe there is something about forcing unarmed potheads to the ground at gunpoint that only appeals to assholes in the first place. I’m beyond sick of cannabis users/sellers being treated like the kingpins of some Columbian cartel.
When the media turned the focus on the aforementioned cops, their superiors merely said that the video that was leaked online had been edited and that they hoped by seeing unedited footage, there would be something that would justify their actions. What part of the unedited footage will justify turning off the cameras, eating confiscated edibles (which, to me, seems tantamount to stealing money from a crime scene), and mocking and threatening someone?
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Check out this article I wrote about the shooting death of an unarmed man at a Florida cannabis raid. Also, give a read to this article discussing the DEA’s insanity.
As a nation, we were so terrified of drugs that we militarized our law enforcement officials and gave them a free pass, so long as the drugs didn’t make it to our doorstep. Well, the bellicose tactics did not slow the proliferation of drugs, it just created a nearly impenetrable black market.
You can watch one of the videos of the incident here: