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Why does the debate continue over marijuana legalization?

With the failure of California’s Proposition 19 — an attempt to legalize the possession and production of marijuana in the state — we see that even in one of the most liberal of states the people have spoken and are not in favor of it.

This is a highly debated topic, and it has even infiltrated the law enforcement community, whereas even some cops are speaking out in favor of legalization, a vast swing in thinking in law enforcement even from 10, 20 years ago.

We could use this time to argue both sides of the issue, but I’ll leave that to y’all to discuss at the water cooler. Whichever side you choose to support, I think the bell ringing loud and clear here is this: People see that there isn’t much upside to legalization. Crime will always be associated with drug use whether it’s legal or not. Driving under the influence, thefts, burglaries, and crimes against persons would continue to be related to people using and selling drugs.

In my opinion, if California had passed this into law it would be a matter of time before Mexican drug cartels controlled American production of the drug under legal circumstances. We can control the border violence as it is, what makes us think we could stop the Cartels from having a legitimized business front to control production in California.

Legalizing it in California would have spawned new and difficult hardships for law enforcement in the rest of the country. Interdiction seizures would have increased, but perhaps instead of finding 50 pounds of raw weed, the interdiction officer would be faced with finding 50 cartons of marijuana “cigarettes.”

People would begin taking “vacations” to Californian and airport security forces would see an increase in contraband discovery in other airports across the country, increasing their already heavy workload.

I believe that in my lifetime marijuana will be legal in the United States, but I don’t believe that it will solve any of the issues that it has caused over the years. I also do not believe it will put the cartels out of business. Perhaps we should focus on taking down the cartels — the violent organized crime units that are committing so much more crimes than just the smuggling of drugs.

Bureaucrats need to stop all the bullcrap discussions in Washington about “how” to protect our border and just do it. By the time they actually take the necessary action it’s going to be too late. We need armed troops — lots of them — addressing this issue. This is a war and until our “leaders” in Washington recognize this, the problem will only get worse. Americans are dying and law enforcement is drawing fire from weapons across the border. Violence has already spilled into our border states and is increasing, and unless we do something now it is only the beginning of what is to come.

We have the most powerful military in the world, and we are letting outlaw militias intimidate us on our southern border. Enough is enough.

Lt. Hawkes is a 23-year police veteran. In addition to his years of highway drug interdiction, Lt. Hawkes has worked in patrol, K9, investigations, narcotics, and administration. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Dallas Baptist University and is a graduate of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Justice Leadership and Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas. He has been the recipient of both State and Local awards, including the Medal of Valor. His book, Secrets of Successful Highway Interdiction, which can be purchased here, contains eleven chapters on Highway Drug Interdiction.