Police Chief: Marijuana-Related Crimes on the Rise

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Seattle resident takes marijuana from a plastic bag shortly after a law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana took effect on December 6, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images/Getty)

While The New York Times editorial board has enthusiastically endorsed legalizing marijuana across the country, not everyone is so sure.

Communities in neighboring states where the drug is now legal are voicing their concerns about increases in marijuana-related crimes, including trafficking, driving while under the influence, and possession.

In Sidney, Nebraska, marijuana is still very much illegal, despite its location bordering marijuana-friendly Colorado. Police chief B.J. Wilkinson says that marijuana-related crimes are on the rise in his community and costing the town and tax payers money.

See Also: The New York Times Explains Why They Want to Legalize Pot

What do you think? Vote in our poll below.



B.J. Wilkinson and Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Megan Quellhorst


T.J. Raphael

Comments [7]

Steven from Sidney NE

When has prohibition ever worked in this country? Any substance can be abused, including alcohol, which has killed countless people. Why are the police trying to get involved into family matters anyway? Why are we still debating this? Legalize it!

Aug. 01 2014 10:59 PM
nei from a field in the forests of pennsylvania

Sounds like Nebraska needs to legalize it.

Jul. 31 2014 10:05 PM
Toby from Atlanta area

Cannabis can replace alcohol & other hard drugs in the marketplace: cops would be celebrating that if they weren't in such a delusional, Conservative thought bubble. It's a non-toxic herb which doesn't significantly affect the thinking skills of regular users *even when under the influence* (see Dr. Sanjay Gupta's CNN special), & these idiots are complaining about people *having* pot?! The prohibition is tyranny & it's time it ended.

Jul. 31 2014 06:36 PM

One more time. Decriminalize? Yes! Legalize? No. Decrim would remove sanctions for possession of *small* amounts (1 oz or less. 4-6 plants.)

I do not want to see it legalized to the point that Madison Avenue tries to pitch it to inappropriate groups and trade in larger amounts leads to grow houses, illegal farms, etc. Any amounts ABOVE an ounce would continue to be confiscated and fines or short (less than 1 year) jail terms.

I certainly *DO NOT* want to see pot turned into a cash cow for the tax man. That is precisely the wrong ethical/moral message to send. "It's wrong but it's okay to do because it raises so much tax money!" Get out of here.

Jul. 31 2014 04:12 PM

People can ruin careers for saying things that are considered politically incorrect. Why is it worse to ruin your career by being caught with something that pollutes the air (if smoked). Children are made to feel as if they are asking for too much when they complain of having trouble breathing near tobacco, incense, crack cocaine or marijuana smoking parents. Each of these smoke producing substances can cause respiratory infections to be harder to treat in children because they all cause extra phlegm production. They each can cause other health effects, but the particular types vary among them. All of these leave residue on surfaces which can be ingested by children who put their smoke covered fingers in their mouths. Of these, only crack cocaine can cause immediate seizures and death because children under age one cannot metabolize cocaine. They lack the necessary enzymes.

My ultimate point here is that adult substance intoxication can lead to a very wide array of types of child neglect and abuse, but the smokeable types of substances, in particular, can directly impact child health via second and third hand smoke inhalation or ingestion. Smoke, just in general, is harmful to young children, who are more susceptible to respiratory and ear infections than are adults.

In terms of money wasted on selfish wants at the expense of children's healthcare and food, well, the more addictive the object of the parent's choosing, the greater the problem. Adults with greater income can often buffer their children from the impact by hiring nannies and physically protecting their children from direct exposure. The lower the income of the addict, the more likely they cannot protect their child from direct exposure or indirect impacts...such as neglect or abuse.

From a purely pragmatic perspective, I simply urge people to focus more on the actual impacts of their cherished right to 'party' and less on their precious freedom from laws governing intoxicating substances. What I see around me is all forms of contempt for children and drugs are just one of many issues around which children take a back seat. Should we really start killing kids slowly (or in some cases, quickly) before they have even had a chance to grow up? What if a child with know smoke related health effects or other impacts chooses to sue their parents or even kill them in so called self defense. How 'free' do we want to really as a society?

How do we define freedom? As the freedom to be a child growing up with smoke-free air and a safe home or an adult who can start damaging their children's health before the child has reached adulthood?

It's not even just the marijuana issue. It's how law protects children in this country, generally, that really needs to be addressed, whether marijuana is legalized or not.

People can be very selfish, indeed. People have sued the tobacco industry. Are warnings placed on marijuana products where they are legally sold?

Jul. 31 2014 01:58 PM
Michelangelo from Miami FL

I am not for or against this drug. (I'm not a user.) But if it was legalized would people treat it like cigarettes and alcohol? Only a small amount of people spend their disposable, or sometimes critical, income on liquor or beer. And an even smaller group for cigarettes or cigars. However, would legalizing it say to kids and teens that it's acceptable and they ruin their physical/mental development trying/using it?

Maybe there's a way to keep it "illegal" but not have long-term jail sentences that have caused prison overcrowding and careers to be ruined.

Jul. 31 2014 09:46 AM

Police chief Wilkinson implied that marajuana is the gateway drug to all other illegal drugs. I disagree. Refined sugar is the gateway and we start addiction with our infant children in America.

Jul. 31 2014 09:44 AM

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