Indiana Police Head Supports Legalization of Marijuana

Indiana State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell surprised many when he added his voice to those supporting legalization of marijuana. Whitesell appears to support legislation that would decriminalize possession of marijuana.

Whitesell is joining over half of Americans in this view and an increasing number of states.

Whitesell’s comments came in a budget committee meeting when he disclosed that after 40 years of busting people for pot, he had had enough: “It’s here, it’s going to stay, there’s an awful lot of victimization that goes with it. If it were up to me, I do believe I would legalize it and tax it, particularly in sight of the fact that several other states have now come to that part of their legal system as well.”

That is certainly the view of states like Washington which estimate that hundreds of millions of dollars can be collected in taxes from the legalization of marijuana. However the voices of law enforcement officials is likely to resonate more loudly in the growing debate.

Source: WFPL

50 thoughts on “Indiana Police Head Supports Legalization of Marijuana

  1. So great to finally hear, for possibly the first time, a law enforcement official – one who is still in office- come out for marijuana legalization.

    This is a brave man. They usually wait until they retire to say such a thing.

  2. The money generated by regulation and taxes on legalizing marijuana, will overwhelm all 50 states. Wash and Col if they do it right, will soon have a new revenue stream that all other states will envy. The stoners and casual users will not protest (too much) a high tax if pot smoking becomes legal.

    It’s 4:20 somewhere.

  3. The first person I heard talking about the decriminalization of pot was a police officer about 20 years ago. Don’t remember if he was active or not. Certainly too young to be retired but old enough to have been around the block a few times.

  4. “The stoners and casual users will not protest (too much) a high tax if pot smoking becomes legal.”

    I’m sure there’s economic studies on this and perhaps I’m wrong, but I would think legal and taxed marijuana would be cheaper than illegal marijuana. In other words, any tax would be less than the increased cost caused by restricted supply, inefficient production and distribution, and the premium charged for the risk involved in growing and selling it.

  5. Taxes on pot are a good way to go. Better that it is a revenue stream than a revenue drain. Let us hear it for the reasonable man!

  6. The tax thing will have to be done properly. If it’s taxes too high a black market will start up. One has to be realistic. Also what about home growing for personal use?

  7. THose who have commented about the tax being higher than the black market price are correct. If the state taxes the maryjane too high the black market will become worse than it was before, because the users are not punished by the law so the disincentive to buy it is no longer a factor.

    The best thing they could do is make the maryjane cheaper than the black market price. The black market infrastructure and distribution is already in place and established and won’t go away if legal weed is too expensive.

    I worried that in WA the tax might be too high. it is excise taxed at 25% at all stages. 25% at the farmer, 25% at the processor, 25% at the distributor, and 25% at the retailer. With regard to WA privatizing liquor sales and raising fees which raised the price of booze to the consumer up to 30% and many people drove to Oregon or Idaho which reported sales of booze up 25 to 30 percent.

    There is a provision in the law here that gives the Liquor Control Board, which is charged with regulating and licensing the MJ sales, the authority to make policy changes that can address the tax if the black market returns due to the high tax issue. But, Washington is a kind of state that has stiff taxes and fees and loves this revenue more than anything (strangely we don’t have a state income tax) so I am concered it will not give up this tax even if the black market was still in play

  8. I’d love to see some good numbers on the cost to the nation of alcohol verses the revenue it generates. I suspect we will make the same sort of trade off with geef.

    Thats not to say it shouldn’t be legalized, taxed and regulated, only that the future will not be as rosy as supporters paint – it also will not be as dark as the detractors prophesy. The big advantage is it will stop making felons out of kids looking for a little party time.

  9. I am reminded of that John Wayne movie where he is once again being paid by some tobacco company. The Green Berets. He is leading his troops through the jungle in Nam and they stop for a break. “Smoke em if ya gottem”, he says with authority. Of course the ramificatins go beyond the fact that the Viet Cong always liked it when we smoked out in the jungle when we were trying to sneak up on them because then they were able to easily sneak up on us. The longer ramifications are that all those guys are suffering from lung cancer, heart disease and or stunted growth. Now, I am not advocating criminalizing tobacco smoking but the disconnect in this country between health and taxes is quite a stretch. They would tax gynocology if they could get away with it. None of this kind of stuff should be legal just because it can be taxed. Or taxed just because it is legal. So, put a tax on the faster version of suicide which involves pistols.

  10. Here are the lyrics to a song that provides the best argument for the legalization of pot. If you google Peter Tosh Bush Doctor Lyrics you can get the tune to download and hear it sung by The Man.

    “lyrics heBush Doctor
    Warning! The Surgeon General warns
    Cigarette smoking is dangerous, dangerous
    Hazard to your health
    Does that mean anything to you

    To legalize marijuana
    Right here in Jamaica
    I’m say it cure glaucoma
    I man a de Bush Doctor

    So there’ll be
    No more smokin and feelin tense
    When I see them a come
    I don’t have to jump no fence

    Legalize marijuana
    Down here in Jamaica
    Only cure for asthma
    I man a de Minister(of the Herb)

    So there’ll be no more
    Police brutality
    No more disrespect
    For humanity

    Legalize marijuana
    Down here in Jamaica
    It can build up your failing economy
    Eliminate the slavish mentality

    There’ll be no more
    Illegal humiliation
    And no more police

    Legalize marijuana
    Down here in sweet Jamaica
    Only cure for glaucoma
    I man a de Bush Doctor

    So there be
    No more need to smoke and hide
    When you know you’re takin
    Illegal ride

    Legalize marijuana
    Down here in Jamaica
    It the only cure for glaucoma
    I man a de Minister


    –Peter Tosh, Bush Doctor.

    So, the Chief is probably thinking that if this stuff is legalized then there will be no more police brutality and no more illegality.

    For some reason humanoids have this desire to ruin their lungs with dirt and die thereby whether the cause of death be labeled as cancer, heart disease or pistol whippin. When the autopsy is done, the schmuck in the white coat writes down the cause of death as lung cancer or heart attack and not death by smoking, i.e. suicide. The pistol whippin part comes about when the cops catch you with the wrong kind of weed that you are smoking.

  11. “Also what about home growing for personal use?”

    Dean Fox,

    I think there is a provision that allows people to brew beer at home and make wine in quantities that are for personal use and this would work well with pot.

    On the broader issue of decriminalization the tax argument is to me not a prime issue because one needs also to calculate the billion$ which would be saved by government via legalization. Around 15% of the people incarcerated in this country are for sale and/or use of marijuana. They are predominately poor and/or people of color. On the Federal level the cost of maintaining a prisoner for a years is about $30,000. On the State and local level the costs range up to $50,000 per year. It is estimated conservatively that this country spends about $63 billion per year on these arrests, prosecution and incarcerations. I think that is probably too low an estimate.

    The most telling argument against the entire “Drug War” is that the last nationwide effort, against one of the most humanly destructive drugs alcohol, was not only an abject failure, but bred a culture of crime that lasted far beyond the repeal of the Volstead Act. Humanity has used mood altering drugs for almost its entire history and why the hell not? Those opposed to these usages are generally opposed for reasons that stem for their need to exert social control over peoples’ lives. They equate this usage with immorality and sin. I some religions all stimulants are beyond the bounds ad sinful. From an economic standpoint many business people abjure recreational drug use by their employees because they feel, without evidence, that it interferes with efficiency. All together though the reality is that it is also about social control and the authoritarian mindset.

    As someone who has worked in the treatment and sobriety of addicts of all kids of addictions I am firmly convinced that our current drug laws breed far more addiction than we realize. Regarding marijuana specifically, many of my generation who came to power forget the reality of their own past. In NYC of the late 1960’s and through the 1970’s smoking marijuana (if you were white) was a public affair. It was smoked openly in movie theaters, concerts, bars and on the streets. The police looked the other way, if you were white. I openly smoked marijuana at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and other affairs. My aged relatives thought it was funny and in my rather straight-laced family o one chastised me. This was because it had become as common as drinking alcohol at these affairs. I was convinced back then that due to its widespread national usage it would shortly be legalized.

    What I didn’t take into account was the ascension of Ron and Nancy Reagan, who used a “War on Drugs” to mobilize the religious social control freaks to fight back against what they saw as the dread sexual revolution and the general decline in morality brought on by the 60’s generation. I also didn’t foresee that this business of criminal enforcement would directly lead to a burgeoning industry of “Drug War” forces who gained power and made their living in the battle. It was a victory of selective memory, false memes ad naked greed for power, that overwhelmed a populace that only wanted to “get high”, and through meme creation deemed this group almost satanic in their “perversity”. What a complete waste of many peoples lives has been made by the prosecution of the “War on Drugs” and yet despite recent gains I ca’t fully believe that it is coming to an end. There is far too much money being made by those who would continue to make it a issue of legality.

  12. “The tax thing will have to be done properly. If it’s taxes too high a black market will start up. One has to be realistic.”

    That’s definitely the case that at some point too high a tax leads to a black market. But, there’s got to be a lot of room for taxes before it would lead to a significant sized black market. For example, alcohol was prohibited and there was a massive black market in place. Now, it’s legalized and taxed at a much higher rate than ordinary goods, and compared to the volume sold legally, any black market is miniscule.

  13. “The truth shall make you free.” However, as raff said, he’s not going to get invited to any other police dept. Christmas parties.

  14. That makes a change: someone grew a pair and spoke in favour of legalization while IN office.

    Most of those who speak practice CYA until their political careers are over.

  15. Long overdue. Don’t tax it too high or you will have an underground supply chain that will continue the criminal element. A modest tax is all that should be put on it. It is long past time that our drug use in this country pours money into criminals hands and the result is 50,000+ dead in Mexico in 5 years. Enough.

  16. The American justice system is entirely too punitive, and legalizing pot is just one step in changing the way we view deviance. I would like to echo what Mike S. said as well, in that the greatest savings promised by legalization would come in the form of reigning in our burgeoning correctional costs. I am baffled that anyone believes we should be spending the kind of money we do to put stoners in prison.

  17. Seems like a good move. Here is an additional link to a Canadian study:

    Also, you may be aware (and loathe) one Steven Crowder. He just came out with a new Marijuana video:

    Almost ten minutes long, but the important stuff from it (my opinion):

    There is still no constitutional basis for the ban.

    There are documented medical problems with the brain from early age marijuana use.

    Getting tested for THC in your system is harder due to needing a blood or urine sample- fourth amendment protections.

    If it is legalized, legal purchasers will sell it to younguns. The crooked ones, anyway. There’s always a few. *This* should be where the police focus their new free time.

  18. All “heads”, including the Indiana Police Head, now do not run when demon pot is mentioned.

    Every police department will have a pot head now.😉

  19. Steg, the one model we have, Portugal, does not show increased drug use in any sector of the population. Drug use went down, crime went down, revenues came in. Alcohol prohibition is a good model in the USA. Changing to a medical model resulted in fewer deaths from drug abuse, fewer public health problems, etc.

    Look at the high penalty for selling in school zones, no legal seller would take that chance. My nephew was offered pot at school by another student when he was 12!

    Yes, the one bad testing result we have in regard to pot is a negative effect on childrens brains if they are chronic users. The black market cares not who buys the drug..
    If you have laws restricting childrens access, those laws will be enforced, just like selling cigarettes to kids or selling alcohol to kids.

    No sane legal seller will take the chance when they can sell legally to adults.

  20. Steg, Thanks, it was interesting. Crowder was good pointing out the flawed thinking via cannabis v Gig Gulp. He skewed his % of people in prison cleverly, using STATE prison stats. Hardly anyone is prosecuted for cannabis growth or distribution on a state level, it’s almost exclusively done on the Federal level. So, US Bureau of Prison % stats would have been much more edifying. Regarding the Prohibition era there are similarities and differences. Yes, La Cosa Nostra built an empire[as did the Kennedy clan] during Prohibition and that empire continued after Prohibition w/ gambling, prostitution and drugs. The current cartels will continue w/ meth, coke and heroin. But that’s tangential. His comparison that alcohol was legal prior doesn’t account for the fact that cannabis was also legal prior. Ironically, during Prohibition most people don’t realize one could get good distilled liquor w/ a prescription from a doc, just like cannabis users can in 17 states. Finally, the police hate to give up cannabis enforcement because it’s a helluva a lot easier to catch than coke, heroin, etc. It has to be shipped in large vehicles and you don’t even need a drug sniffing dog, you could have a cold and flu and still smell it from 50 feet! Bureaucrats love easy.

  21. One could also obtain wine during prohibition if you were a religious organization. That was another exception that was widely abused.

  22. “If it is legalized, legal purchasers will sell it to younguns. The crooked ones, anyway.”

    Almost every instance of banning a victim-less activity in this country has been put forth as protecting children. Some of the greatest literature was banned from distribution in the U.S. because it had sex in it. James Joyce’s “Ulysses” is one example. It seems to me a weak argument against it. As for protecting children I can remember that the first alcohol I ever drank was at age 11, with my family on the front porch and me supposedly asleep. My first cigarette was at age 13, when I stole it out of my father’s open cigarette pack. With pot legalized the effect on children will come down to their parents, as it usually does. A valid distributor under a legalized system will not the chance of selling it to minors. The probability of an efficient “black market” is not likely. Where the problem will be if the age is set at 21, like it is for liquor, that will no doubt create a black market.

    Now as for its’ effect on brain function, I’m sure there are people doing studies for vested interests and perhaps with vested results. The real question to be explored is why people like to get high, or buzzed by alcohol. Take away those with addictive personality disorders and the overwhelming majority of people do it because it is fun. Now I know there are many moralists, of all persuasions, that look upon having fun as a frivolous waste. They shouldn’t be allowed to dictate to the rest of us, because their need exposes their own pathology. As for those who have addictive disorders the sad truth is that their predisposition is such that they will always find something to be addicted to foolishly, that is the nature of the addict.

  23. What shano and Mike S. said. The legalizing of pot does not mean that kids will be running rampant with it in the streets. It is very easy for kids to get it now, but if you legalize it and restrict by age group, it will be relatively tough to get it. The benefits of taking away the pot criminality and the illegal pushers of it, and taxing it, far exceed the downsides of some minors getting their hands on it.

  24. What has happened with the war on drugs conflating marijuana with ‘hard’ drugs is this notion that is is addictive. Marijuana causes no physical withdrawal symptoms. Some people claim to be ‘psychologically’ addicted to pot. The fact remains that the body does not become ‘addicted’ to marijuana.

    Alcohol causes massive addiction problems, terrible physical withdrawal for addicts and damages internal organs and the brain. This is not the case with marijuana. Because of this fact, law enforcement always went with the “it is a gateway drug”. Gateway to harder drugs, which only is valid when you are talking about the black market. Some people who sell black market marijuana sell hard drugs, and that is the only connection- access.

    With the limited research on marijuana, we know it is has neuro generation properties (it encourages new neuron formation in the brain). So much so it is being investigated as a medication for Alzheimers patients. Doctors used to think that we were born with all the brain neurons we would ever have, but now know that we can and do create new neurons in our brain. The fact is, we all have cannabinoid receptors in every organ of our bodies including our brain.

  25. Here’s the best clinical study on the effects of cannabis by young people. A high % of young people growing up in the 60’s used cannabis regularly. And, they went on to become scientists, doctors, attorneys, electricians, politicians[inhalers and non inhalers]and PI’s. I live near the University of Wisconsin. They are perennially one of the top “party” schools. When I walk past parties prior to football games I see binging on not just beer but liquor. I never smell cannabis. They could use some cannabis and less booze. When I live in San Diego during the winter we have a good # of USD and UCSD students living in the area. They party but you always smell cannabis. I don’t see nearly as much booze and a lot more civil group. In Wisconsin I see a lot of stumbling and puking, very little in San Diego.

  26. An opinion. No expertise.

    Having done both alcohol and MJ, I can vouch that I did not do dumb or impulsive things on MJ as I too easily did when on alcohol. The Portugese figures support the implications of that.
    Of course, I was never stoned out of my mind on MJ either.

    MJ puts you there, you don’t really have any unfulfilled ambitions or drives to fulfill. You can do things, but you are not freed from restraints or driven by whatever unfulfilled need drives you.
    Again, that is my experience.

    We have two competing ideas:
    —-The assessment that legalization will be effectively stopped by vested interests.
    —-The assessment that the time has come for legalization, for a variety of reasons and a variety of supporters.

    I personally think that legalization can win if a balance point is reached such that the immorality of
    different laws will be obvious. You can have dry states, but not ones where you are put in for serious time for drinking some moonshie—to draw a parallel.

    To be stopped, it will require strong and immediate
    action by Obama and his AG (who? ev change).
    Otherwise the weed will spread or the horse is loose as you prefer.

  27. Shano,

    To assure understanding, I agree wholeheartedly with what you say.

    However you say:
    “Some people claim to be ‘psychologically’ addicted to pot.

    I don’t know what is meant by psychological addiction. It could have several meanings. Brain malfunctioning in different ways when deprived. Or simply the longing for the condition which the drug induces. Etc.

    But, one dilemma faced by this novice smoker, only one time please note, is the following question.

    Is the rat race worth all the effort required?
    I trust you know what I mean by this.

    Well, I was not man enough to face and answer the question for myself. I thought that I knew the rat race, but a new life through pot was not something that I was ready to consider or even experiment with.
    Nor dare to try integrating it into a rat race life.

    Now comments by others with more experience of living with it as a casual user would be interesting.

    I assume we have no Huster S Thompsons here, who made a career of it or in spite of it.

    PS More on canniboid receptors, please.

  28. Steve Jobs said his experiences with LSD made his career. Queen Victoria drank a marijuana tincture everyday for decades. I had a friend that smoked a joint everyday in college who then went on to become one of the best computer programers in the nation.

    I agree college kids may be safer smoking pot at a party rather than alcohol. Kids this age die from alcohol poisoning every year at drinking parties. At least with marijuana, there will be no death from overdose because there is no known amount you could ingest that could cause death. You college kid will make it home for the holidays.

    Colorado and Washington State have banned marijuana from all college campuses. I think this is reasonable since students could be subjected to second hand smoke and as with cigarettes, the fire danger in dorms.

  29. shano, Vaporizers virtually eliminate any dangers from carcinogens first or second hand. Edibles obviously take all “smoke” problems off the table. And, edibles are going to be the venue for more and more people who choose cannabis, that’s the new frontier in cannabis. Candles in dorms and apartments create an exponentially higher fire risk than cannabis.

  30. When I lived in Chicago back in the 80’s the largest lava light company was still in operation on Irving Park Road, just west of Ashland. It was a half block from Lakeview HS which was the setting for a good indy film, My Bodyguard. Maybe lava lights can make a comeback and reverse the fire hazard candle trend. Having investigated fires for decades, they are a huge fire hazard.

  31. Hey everyone, thank you for your fantastic responses and comments. I very much appreciate it.

    I’m not arguing ‘the children’ as any kind of leverage, but there always will be someone stupid enough somewhere to blatantly break the law in broad daylight.

    All in all I think it’s a step in the right direction.

    I think it was in ‘Your Brain On Music’ where I read our brains create a new neural pathway every time we learn something new, or create a new memory.

  32. idealist; people in the US are still afraid to talk about personal marijuana use. It is always on a ‘need to know’ basis.

    It is so ridiculous. Some people like Bill Maher can come out and talk about it openly, but do you imagine a casual user who is a successful lawyer or doctor could do the same?

    Not now unless they want to be boxed into an alternative economy.

  33. I think police officers are sick of busting people for recreational use of marijuana. I think they’d prefer to go after the real criminals instead. I think this is one controversial issue that finally someone had the guts to give his honest opinion about. Good for him!

  34. In my opinion, a person is sick police the Grand Slam marijuana for recreational purposes. In my opinion, they are more willing to go to the real criminals, rather than after. I think this is a controversial issue, someone finally has enough courage to his true thoughts.

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