Colorado's been making lots of money from Amendment 64-the bill that legalized marijuana. While there are many in Colorado (and around the country) who looked favorably on the legislation, it's not popular with everyone.
Particularly among law enforcement agencies, legalization has inspired some mixed responses. The most outspoken of which has to be the group of sheriffs suing the state of Colorado.
The Sheriff's Problems with Marijuana
The sheriffs have filed a lawsuit with a federal court in Denver, claiming that the new law puts sheriffs in a conflicted position: choose state law, or choose the Constitution. Among their specific complaints:
A "Crisis of Conscience"
The sheriffs write that legalizing a drug that used to be illegal sends a dangerous message. To them, it's like giving up the fight against drug abuse. This, of course, sidesteps the fact that America outlawed alcohol in the 1920s before ultimately making that deadly illegal substance legal again in the early 30s.
Violating the Oaths of Police Officers
One of the main tenets of the police officer's oath is the pledge to uphold public safety at all times. The Colorado sheriffs claim that allowing a drug like marijuana to freely circulate endangers public safety. Yet in sharp contrast to their assertion, violent crime has actually decreased since pot legalization took place in Colorado.
Draining Other States' Resources
Apparently, Nebraska and Kansas are footing part of the bill for marijuana legalization. According to the Colorado sheriffs, the neighboring states are having to pay for more police overtime and more court fees because of marijuana legalization.
Endangering the Youths
Invoking the controversial "gateway drug" theory, the sheriffs claim that the more young people use marijuana, the more they'll grow up to use harder drugs like heroin and meth. In their opinion, it's a slippery slope for legalization.
The Fight Against Legalization?
Is the lawsuit a political move, or an honest plea for police values? USA Today writes, "Supporters of legalization criticize such lawsuits as last-ditch attempts by conservative politicians to derail states’ movement toward marijuana legalization." Whatever your politics, these aren’t issues to take lightly.