The War on Drugs may be the most counter-productive, fiscally wasteful policy in the history of humankind. Yet, it forges ahead, as it does little to effect any change other than to redirect taxpayer money away from beneficial programs and increase the size of government. With regard to marijuana, it is difficult to understand why any police officer would support the War on Drugs. Any encounter with a “suspect” has inherent risks to a police officer. Why would any officer want to risk his/her well-being to determine whether or not someone has a plant, or the flower from a plant?
On the other hand, marijuana cases are easy. A police officer smells the distinctive odor of cannabis, searches a person or a vehicle, finds the marijuana and makes an arrest. No thought, no investigative skills, no legwork required. And it counts as an arrest like any other for statistical purposes. It is so much easier and quicker than tracking down reluctant witnesses in a shooting or figuring out where the money went in a fraud case.
A recent case out of Colorado will make it a little more difficult for the police to make the easy, simple marijuana arrests that do nothing to benefit the public despite political claims that more arrests translate to a safer community. Many marijuana arrests are the result of a trained K-9 walking around a vehicle after a traffic stop and alerting to the odor of marijuana or some other illegal drug which then gives the police officer probable cause to search the vehicle. If the police officer finds illegal drugs in the vehicle, the officer will likely arrest one or more of the occupants in the vehicle. The entire case can be wrapped up in a matter of minutes.