The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 7, 2013

Marijuana crimes cost taxpayers

The Mankato Free Press

---- — The story in the July 1 Free Press (Man caught with cash, marijuana found guilty by jury), illustrates the hypocrisy and unfairness of our marijuana laws. These fellows had a half pound of marijuana and $800 in their apartment when they got busted by the drug task force. They got extra felony counts because they were in a school zone.

The Quick Mart is across the street from the same school and sells tobacco which really is addictive and dangerous. Joseph’s Liquor, two blocks away, sells both tobacco and liquor. The marijuana salesman goes to prison. The liquor and tobacco salesmen join the chamber of commerce.

I’d hate to think of the number of police officers, squad cars, and swat team equipment the drug task force deployed to apprehend these so-called criminals. The taxpayers spend a fortune arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning people who are doing something that is legal in more than a third of the states.

The second part of the story is also amazing. Earlier, these same guys had been heading across Nebraska on Interstate 80, presumably on their way to Colorado where marijuana is legal. They were stopped by the highway patrol who found a small amount of marijuana and $45,000 cash in the car.

These guys couldn’t explain the money so the highway patrol kept it. I don’t know whose money it was, but for sure it didn’t belong to the highway patrol.

These laws breed an underground economy, mistrust of the government and corruption in the police. It is time to decriminalize marijuana.

Robert Idso

St. Peter