This October, the White House asked citizens to create new ideas for the country, and if they received enough online votes, the executive branch would respond. The effort has become yet another runaway success for marijuana law reformers. This sort of online response should be easily dismissible — it happens all the time on the Internet — but this time it was apparently enough to rile a few drug warriors.
On October 18, narcotics cops in Los Angeles used federal drug trafficking interdiction time and resources — tax dollars that could be spent making the streets safer — to lobby the White House to continue the Drug War. According to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition — which obtained a leaked copy of an email — on Tuesday at 9:36 a.m., the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area intelligence office called LA CLEAR emailed a huge group of cops, asking them to sign a pro-drug war petition. Here’s the full email:
From: [email protected]
Subject: Petition Against Marijuana Legalization
Date: October 18, 2011 9:36:30 AM PDT
WE NEED YOUR HELP: The legalizers are totally dominating the White House “We the People” Web site — they have more signatures than every other issue combined.
CADCA’s petition, supporting drug prevention and against marijuana legalization, is up to 1,000 signatures but we need every other network in the field to mobilize to help us get as many more signatures as possible in the next two weeks.
Please sign onto CADCA’s petition NOW and GET AS MANY OTHER PEOPLE AS YOU CAN TO SIGN ON by November 4th!!
To view and sign on to CADCA’s petition all you have to do is:
1. Go to: http://wh.gov/2Yh
2. Create a username and password, if you don’t have one already.
3. After you have created an account, return to the petition link and hit refresh.
4. Click ‘Sign Petition’ button.
Petition Against Marijuana LegalizationTuesday, October 18 – Tuesday, October 18, 2011WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!!
Please Sign Petition, Go to: http://wh.gov/2Yh
Thanks for your support, Los Angles HIDTA
Stephen Downing, a Law Enforcement Against Prohibition member and former deputy police chief for the Los Angeles Police Department, said that never in his decades on the force did he spend his work day trying to gin up votes for a worthless online poll to save his job. Downing says it was and probably is against department policy to engage in politicking during work hours or in uniform during off-work hours. “You do not engage in politics, period,” he said. “That was the rule in our department, you don’t do it.”
Six hours after LA CLEAR marshaled the drug war machine to battle the stoner vote, LA CLEAR Senior Deputy Director Eric Deroian sent out a follow-up message saying they had messed up. “Earlier today an e-mail blast went out from the LA CLEAR Training Site. This e-mail was political in nature and should not have been sent out on or to governmental e-mails. Please disregard/delete,” Deroian wrote. Deroian did not return calls for comment.
The independent think tank RAND Corporation issued a rare public retraction on October 24, pulling a controversial September study that found that closing LA medical cannabis dispensaries increased crime sometimes by as much as 62 percent. The publication of “Regulating Medical Marijuana Dispensaries: An Overview with Preliminary Evidence of Their Impact on Crime” drew the ire of law enforcement officials. RAND said a post-publication review found that the study failed to include key crime data from the Los Angeles Police Department.
An internal misunderstanding about the crime statistics, which came from a third party called CrimeReports, caused the error, said Debra Knopman, a RAND vice president. The text of the original study hinted at trouble: “According to CrimeReports, its software is used by more than 700 law enforcement agencies across North America. During our study period, the LAPD subscribed to this service, allowing us to extract data on crimes by type, day, and city block. The LAPD no longer uses CrimeReports, possibly because it is launching its own mapping system. During our time period, we compared the data from CrimeReports with those publicly available through the LAPD’s website. The data correspond very closely. However, the data provided by the LAPD are only available for four crime categories (versus thirteen categories from CrimeReports) and are not available for jurisdictions that neighbor the City of Los Angeles.”
But even “that’s not correct,” said Knopman. Exactly how it isn’t correct, she could not say.
It could be several months before researchers run another study, presumably with voluntary data from LAPD. Knopman said she had no experience with the validity of LAPD crime statistics, but RAND will post the raw data and the models. “We really want full transparency on this,” she said. Speaking of full transparency, Legalization Nation asked Knopman exactly how the misinterpretation made it through internal peer review. “That’s a really good question,” she said. “It’s the subject of further review.”
Seeds & Stems
The “Regulate Marijuana Like Wine” team is back with round two of its 2012 initiative. The attorney general still summarizes it as “Marijuana Legalization.” It would decriminalize pot and allow its sale to those 21 or older, as well as allow for noncommercial gardens of up to 24 plants.