Port Orchard Police Chief: Marijuana Legalization Bill ‘Ludicrous’

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Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend is not particularly fond of a new state legislative effort to legalize marijuana, as written about last week in the Kitsap Sun.

That’s putting it mildly.

“If the goal of the bill is to legalize marijuana for the purpose of generating tax revenue, that ridiculous,” said Townsend, pictured, in an email to me.

He questions state Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, who is one of the sponsors of the bill. Appleton has proposed it because she feels it’s worth having the conversation. She also believes the state could save money by not prosecuting small time marijuana users.

Similar efforts are taking place in Oregon and California.

Townsend isn’t buying it.

“If (Appleton) isn’t proposing that we encourage new users of marijuana, which is clearly debatable here, I’m fairly sure that those who are growing and using marijuana in violation of the laws right now won’t have a problem continuing to do so while now avoiding any tax payments or tax laws,” he wrote.

He also worries about marijuana as a “gateway” drug to other controlled substances, and believes that legalization would make roadways more dangerous because more people would be high while driving.

“I was under the impression that Ms. Appleton was in the legislature representing the best interests of the majority of her constituents,” he wrote. “This obviously isn’t the case here.  The bill is ludicrous. And frankly its disappointing that a member of our legislature that was elected by the majority of the people in her district is using our time and our tax dollars generating this kind of nonsense.”

Photo from the City of Port Orchard’s web site.

17 thoughts on “Port Orchard Police Chief: Marijuana Legalization Bill ‘Ludicrous’

  1. of course cops are against it. Pot heads are the easiest busts. The public is so lax about it, most people think its silly that pot is illegal. So, pot users are very lax and then cops like Towsend can bust them and have numbers to justify his existence. Yet, meth labs continue to churn out poison, heroin addicts continue to die. Nice work Townsend on keeping the streets safe from pot heads.

  2. Doesn’t he realize that driving impaired would still be illegal? Maybe Port Orchard could start focusing on all the meth heads if pot was legal? Oh, wait. All the people smoking pot would create more meth heads. Give me a break. Police officers of much greater stature than Al Townsend support it. If you could ask Big Al some follow up questions regarding this ——-> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norm-stamper/420-thoughts-on-pot-vs-al_b_188627.html I would be very interested in his response.

  3. The truth is that Chief Townsend doesn’t want his men to have to do “real” police work. And why would he? Currently, he can charge a peaceful, non violent person with growing a PLANT, raid their home, STEAL their property, and ruin their lives. Meanwhile childmolesters and meth cooks run rampant.

    Drug busts represent the largest source of unaccounted for “income” on the police department. I know, because my father was an undercover office for 15 years.

    Way to protect your community from the munchies… Or should I say way to protect your slush fund, Hypocrit!

  4. and in response to his “Gateway Drug” propaganda, I will quote my father…

    “I’ve never met a heroin addict who didn’t smoke pot before they tried Heroin. I’ve also never met one who didn’t drink MILK first. Why is MJ a gateway drug and Milk not? They are both mind altering substances that have both positive and negative effects on the body and mind.”

  5. Ah, big Al. Henry Anslinger would be proud of you. Single handedly you and you’re boys are wiping out the scurge weed, keeping it from our children and preventing countless of good people from passing through that gateway to hard drug hell. You and you’re boys deserve a budwieser my friend!

  6. As stated earlier- a change in marijuana laws would not make it legal to drive while impaired.

    What would be wrong with a peaceable, responsible adult growing a marijuana plant in the back yard? No selling, transporting, exposing to minors, etc.

    If it was legal there might be less mystique.

    More than a dozen states allow medical marijuana- since it’s already out there- how does law enforcement handle it in December 2009?

    We’re not really about freedom in this country- it’s just the way we try to justify our foreign policy.

  7. I appreciate Chief Townsend weighing in on this subject, but I can only give him the credit I give other posters on this site. Is he a sociologist, an anthropologist, does he have a juris doctorate or medical degree? Has he studied the effects of laws on society or the effects of marijuana on the human body? Is he speaking from the personal experience of a patrol officer?

    I’m curios what his bosses, our elected officials, think about this subject and whether Chief Townsend ran this e-mail by them before he sent it.

    Mayor Abel deferred to the Chief of Police as though he were her boss, rather than the other way around. It’s a dangerous abdication of responsibility.

  8. Short-n-sweet: A law ENFORCER should not be in any position to dictate what laws he enforces. That’s almost like saying “Well, murder is illegal..but I REALLY hated that guy, too…so we’ll just forget about this one, OK?!” Not such a good idea, is it?

    The fact that the officer buys into the known fallacy of “gateway drug theory” which has repeatedly been debunked around the world, and is almost universally understood to be a farce, and a direct result of nothing more than the PROHIBITION that the officer wishes to continue to enhance his job security.

    The world can no longer afford to keep wilfully ignorant people in the public employ. It’s time to either get honest, intelligent people into positions where true benefits to society result, or to at the very least get rid of those who haven’t sense enough to think for themselves, and to discern facts from 80-year-old propaganda.

    For that matter, if an officer of the law–with YOUR LIFE in his hands–can’t think straight enough to understand the difference between PROPAGANDA and the growing mountain of FACTUAL EVIDENCE in favour of cannabis re-legalization as a benefit to society as a whole…he shouldn’t be making any decision which may have any effect on any citizen.

    If he truly wants to see drugs off the local schoolyards, then he’s got to be honest with himself and understand that this will ONLY be accomplished by taking the drugs out of the hands of criminals, cartels, and foreign drug lords, and placing it back into the hands of responsible adults. It should have never left individual control from the outset…it’s just a damned shame that it’s taken 3/4 of a century for the public to wake up and realize this simple, but glaring fact.

    Aside: The “Capcha” words I am filling in to post this message just happen to be: “Refilled Department’s” Seems like I’m not the only one who noticed. ;)

  9. Thank you Chief Townsend for having the courage and taking the time to tell it like it is. Why would we want to add a third social drug to the two that kill more people and cost more than all the illegal drugs put together. No one has ever told me what those that support more freedom to abuse their drug of choice are going to do to “fix” the admitted harm they casually acknowledge. How do you “fix” people injured or killed by marijuana-intoxicated drivers? How do you repair children allowed by pot smoking parents to get high as young as 9 months old in the home, younger at concerts?

    I know first hand as a state police officer that worked undercover for almost 5 years. I saw this in dealer’s homes, bars, and other public hangouts. For over 41 years I witness first hand in domestic [family] abuse, traffic crashes, and criminal behavior the poor judgment caused by all substance abuse, including marijuana.

    Chief Townsend knows, as does any other professional enforcement officer, if substance abuse goes down, almost every area of crime we deal with would also decline.
    Ed Moses

  10. Someone younger than 9 months old is getting high at a concert? Something wrong with that statement.

    I appreciate Chief Townsend speaking out, still wondering what his bosses think. I appreciate your years of service with the WSP, I’m sure you’ve seen countless tragedies, on and off the highway. It can’t be an easy job. I do think law enforcement, in general, are usually on the extreme on this issue, the marijuana users on the other extreme.

    Keep in mind that 2/3 of America thinks the war on drugs is a colossal failure and over half want marijuana use legalized, or at least decriminalized.

    Most of us are in the middle of the two extremes. We would like to learn and discuss. We don’t want kids to lose their futures because they partake in something that is socially acceptable, especially poor, minority kids. We want the law to match society’s acceptance of the use of the pot.

    The link is to an article by another retired law enforcement official.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norm-stamper/420-thoughts-on-pot-vs-al_b_188627.html

  11. I really wish there were complete stats on how many fatal/injury crashes involve marijuana use. I do know that it has been a factor in many of the fatals and injury collisions in Kitsap over the past 5 years. Usually however if alcohol is also involved, prosecutors drop the marijuana evidence all together because there is no per se like there is for alcohol (.08) and it would be a battle of the experts to prosecute (and probably very expensive). Or they simply reduce charges in a plea deal to negligence or disregard. The person who killed my son smoked pot not more than 5 minutes before he drove – so please don’t tell me pot has never killed anyone. Yes alcohol was also involved, the drivier’s BAC was .04 In a study on druged driving done by the WSP tox lab in 2005, marijuana was the drug most often involved in fatal crashes. If I can find the link I will post it.

  12. PO Police Chief Townsend is just another talking head,
    a local government propaganda minister.
    If Marijuana was made legal, across the board, he would have to pursue violent criminals instead of the “easy busts.”
    Too bad, so sad.
    Townsend is soon going to have to do some REAL policework and go after REAL criminals! The tides, they are a changing!
    No more Donuts and Coffee all day, then bust some peaceful pot smokers in order(to meet the bust quota), to keep the cushy job going! Which makes a person wonder…why do cops love the munchies (donuts) so much?
    Raiding the evidence locker, huh? BUSTED!!!

  13. I have a JD and a MA in social sciences and criminal justice. I also know what’s going on in CA. Its a mess because of its poorly written medical MJ law. Any one can buy a recommendation from MDs who have sole practices of writing recommendations for 500 bucks a whack. MJ has taken over entire communities in Northern Cal counties. The growers outnumber everyone else. The growers evade taxes and the crime rates in those counties have escalated some close to 40 percent while the non pot counties crime rates have decreased by about 20 percent. In on pot county there are murders and home invasions on a weekly basis to steal money or MJ. The DAs look the other way to keep in office. Resource land is illegally cut up by dope llc’s set up to grow thousands of plants. Normal industry is pushed out because why work when you can hav an indoor grow and make 20k a month tax free. Trimmers can make 60k per growing cycles and there are 4 grow seasons per year. You folks should get real and look at California for why this is a very bad idea.

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