Job Security vs. Personal Freedoms: An Analysis of Priorities

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Trigger Warning: This article discusses a police raid.

I’ve been living my life inside a confirmation bias bubble for a few years now. The bubble has meandered a bit as I educated myself with the help of my hunni, my like-minded online community and Mr. Google. But for the most part, because of my own personal success story using Cannabis only for my mental illness, I’m a broken record of legalization raw raw raw’s.

I read re-affirming studies, articles, and anecdotal comments daily.
I post and write about persons healed to share the wonders of this plant.
I brain-storm and stew about situations within this cause.
I see the whole medical industry and much of public safety measures through eyes that simply see injustice and double-standards galore.

Until very recently, I used to tell strangers that legalization was nigh. Those of you who follow my blog can attest to that, but something happened recently that has me doubting the proximity of our goal. A mere month ago, I could be heard saying often:

“Justin Trudeau is going to legalize Cannabis and free personal choice!”.

But if I’m going to be honest with you, I’m no longer sure.

Someone I know recently got busted, we’ll call them Jane and John Doe. We live in a relative small city of about 170,000 people. My friend Jane ingests Cannabis for recreation. But as with most of us, it also eases or aids some other biological need I’m sure. John works a full time construction job and knows someone who knew someone, and he used to provision his girlfriend’s medicine in pound sized quantities. He occasionally helped friends out also cuz … hey you gotta get it somewhere.

In the essence of Sir William Shakespeare himself (who undoubted partook of the herb) I wish to add an “aside” here:

One argument for the legalization of Cannabis is that it will starve the black market criminals who currently profit from much of the Cannabis sold “on the street” everywhere. Why would we want to do that? Because they are the ones who use Cannabis as a means to an end, the “end” being the group with the biggest guns, the most ammo, the strongest reverse-engineered pharmaceuticals, and goddess knows what other new goodies their evil minds can engineer.

Jane and John Doe are not these people. If John makes any profit helping his friends out, he pays his rent or buys Jane dinner a few nights a week so she doesn’t have to cook while they try to conceive a child. Ya … we’re talking everyday people helping everyday people find relief from pain, relief from insomnia, and finding a few harmless giggles. Now … after you read the following, I ask you to comment with an answer to this question:

How long do you think the resource distribution in police services will hinder the realization of Cannabis legalization?

It happened late I think, as they vegged on their couches. They rent their apartment in a super quiet residential neighborhood. Their place is quite nice. Three incredibly loud bangs on the door drew their attention immediately, and then the door swung open and in came 10 bullet-proof vested, machine-gun wielding police officers who might as well have been SWAT for the effect they had.

The step-by-step details of what followed was never important to me. And … knowing and learning daily about PTSD and triggers, I never felt right asking the details. We are affected much more than any of us will ever know. I expect my friends to have side effects from this down the road. Jane already finds that sleep eludes her at times. I welcome any and all comments that will help me help them when this time comes. At times, it is those of you who live with those of us with mental illness and PTSD who can have the best advice on how to deal with it all.

I’m not even sure right now how long the “raid” lasted, but it sounded mentally scarring to say the least. I assume to these 10 law enforcement officers, this is just a normal day on the job. But for Jane, who had to strip in front of every single one of them, it will undoubtedly be imprinted in her mind as one of the worst days ever.

They mocked her tears, no doubt in an effort to lighten the mood so that words might slip. Who knows? I want to know something though … of all ten, how many felt ashamed and embarrassed as she took her clothes off so they could ensure she hadn’t been hiding anything … as she vegged on the couch late at night. I bet more than you’d think. What a waste of time and resources.

What I’ve learned is that they got a tip that there were other drugs there, which explains why they kept yelling “Where’s the rest, where’s the rest?” No doubt the officers see this all in micro view. Myself, I see it in one macro view; I’m sure there are many. I’ll suffice it to say that the accuracy of these “tip-offs” need to be evaluated further in my humble and uneducated opinion. You’ll see by the end of this post why this tip was likely bought, paid-for, or a mere plea in desperation by some other everyday person who got busted earlier that month for all we know!

It was nearing the end of the month when this all happened, so John had pulled out rent money from his bank account, which they took to be “proceeds of a crime.” But here’s the disturbing part, and the real root and instigation of this long-ass rant: the officer-in-charge assured them that they could get that cash back when they gave him a name. By the sounds of things, they weren’t even really picky about that name. I’m envisioning a room down in the PD with a huge ass cork board with pins and yarn and in Six Degrees of Separation style, a whole crazy maze of who-knows-who, who-sells-to-whom, and who buys what and where … out of all 170,000 of us. Gosh who knew W5 could look like that! But I digress.

So it occurred to me later upon hours of stewing about this, that every single person in my city who has ever been pinched aka caught selling Cannabis, is being pressured to give up a name. How is this NOT inciting terrorism on a small scale? No good can come of encouraging people to throw their fellow citizens under the bus to save their hide or some of their hard-earned money! These people are not the criminals you need to be after and if you think that this kind “mystery building” will lead you to the mothership of harmful narcotics, then I think you’ve been watching too much CSI: Miami. I dare ask you:

How much of this ridiculousness is just job security?

In researching this post, I couldn’t help but use my Google images to help give a scale of reference here. Personally, I think that ten Police officers with automatic weapons in that teeny tiny neighborhood of small war-time houses is more than a bit of overkill and much more dangerous than one pound of Cannabis.

So … as ever I am at this moment attempting to see this whole situation through the eyes of all of those involved … even the individual police officers. This is how they pay their rent or mortgage. I assume they have orders from above to scour the city for all dealers of illegal products. If the need for this “scouring” is removed, how will they be affected? Will hours be cut because they don’t have to “build the mystery” using everyday people to find the mothership?

Then I snap back into reality. My city alone is over-run with crystal meth. There is much to be done once this plant is legalized believe you me! If only I were running the show eh?!

All in all, this whole thing is a big ‘ol stinky buzz-kill and a bit of a slap in the face of my confirmation bias bubble. What a mess.

If one pound of Cannabis requires ten officers, what does a pound of heroin require? I mean, it’s actually harmful and highly addictive … unlike the plant.

I’m starting to see things clearly … and I feel no more sure.

But one thing is for sure:
“A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins.” ~Pharrell & Timberlake

I’ll be seeing this thing through 🙂

For previous articles from The Couch Activist, click here.

Photo Credit: Saperaud under (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons