by Patrick Devlin
The chief of police in Bennington Vermont, Paul Doucette, is doing anti-cannabis prohibitionists a disservice after returning from a cannabis fact finding mission in the tolerant and compassionate state of Colorado.
Doucette’s recent anti-cannabis pronouncements are so off-base he threatens the prohibitionist talking-points playbook by relating nonsense regarding legalized cannabis that is so false that it inhabits a bizzaro world that is unmoored from extant reality – not to suggest that anti-cannabis warriors have ever really cared about extant reality.
As legislators begin discussion of several bills before the statehouse in Vermont regarding cannabis legalization, Doucette, speaking to TV News WRGB Albany, New York, advised that he counsels against cannabis legalization because;
“To now legalize another mind altering substance, and task us with monitoring that, monitoring the sales, the cultivation and all the things that go along with it, you’re really tasking the police department in Bennington that’s already overburdened with issues we’re seeing.”
We can take from the statement that while the chief may be a good soldier in the nation’s war on cannabis, he falls short when it comes to finding facts.
In Colorado, as in Washington, Alaska and Oregon, states where adults are allowed to consume cannabis legally for recreational purposes, no local police department is “tasked” with overseeing cannabis cultivation, cannabis safety monitoring, cannabis sales or cannabis taxation.
While we are certain that Chief Doucette is really good at spreading propaganda, we are equally certain he knows very well that – across America – no local police department is required by state or federal law to be “tasked” with any government obligation to monitor, regulate or oversee in any way whatsoever either the sale of tobacco or alcohol, and for Doucette to pretend to the TV reporters that legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes in Vermont will require any additional efforts from local police departments that will dangerously “over burden” their resources is a bold faced misrepresentation that is unmoored from the truth; i.e. a lie.
Doucette may, as is the case with many anti-cannabis drug warriors, be of the belief that citizens of Vermont who desire to end cannabis prohibition in the state are befuddled and dimwitted stoners who will simply accept more lying by law enforcement officials, just like during the bad old days of the 80 year war on cannabis in America. But, speaking disinformation instead of telling the truth is not in the job description of police chiefs and actually countervails concern for the public’s safety.
It is clear that Doucette learned nothing from his cannabis commerce junket to Colorado – for example, the fact that drugged driving accidents have declined, that fewer kids report using cannabis, that there are no instances of Coloradans being harmed from poorly cultivated cannabis, and that crime in Colorado is down. In addition, and a fact worth reminding the chief of, Colorado has also made a boatload of cash taxing the sale of legal cannabis – much of which is mandated by law to be spent on law enforcement, including on local police departments. And, also a fact that Doucette did not learn, the police have realized that legalizing cannabis helps them by freeing up their resources, allowing them to pursue actual crime.
Doucette, it seems, keeps gum-flapping, spreading known falsehoods to media outlets while the citizens of Bennington and Vermont plead for politicians and law enforcement officials to end the wasteful and destructive war on cannabis.
We urge Chief Doucette to stop quaffing the truth altering anti-cannabis propaganda, go back to school in Colorado and this time learn something about legal cannabis and public safety, before the citizens of Bennington Vermont learn that their police chief is a left-over drug war zealot who needs to be replaced.