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PHOTO: Utah State Capitol by Scott Catron
The cannabis movement is growing far and wide, including the most conservative of places: Utah, where another candidate who supports whole plant cannabis reform has come forward. Please take a moment to meet Bret Black, candidate for Utah House District 44 (Utah residents can find their home district here.)
Bret is a Former Deputy Constable who recently stated “I support full legalization. The drug war is a deceitful civil war.” He has also said, “I am in full opposition to the police state and prisons for profit” and “The more I learned, the more I realized the ‘Drug War’ was the true threat to our society.”
Bret is running against incumbent Tim Cosgrove (D – Minority Whip), Christine Passey, and Bruce Cutler, and is the only candidate to respond to multiple requests from Utah CARE – Cannabis Awareness, Reform and Education, for a personal opinion regarding the whole plant reform movement.
Bret Black is a local Utah boy, having attended Skyline and East High School, and graduated in 1992 in the top five of his class from Weber State University Police Academy. He served three years as a reserve officer in South Ogden City, Utah, and a year and a half in Davis County as a deputy constable, where he served warrants for Farmington Justice Court, 30%-40% of which were minor drug possession warrants.
According to his biography via the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) website,
Bret said he witnessed a drastic shift in law enforcement, from a community-based policing focus to prioritizing drug interdiction. The cost, to budgets and to society, is immense. Of the multitudes of harms, what stands out most for him are that citizens have lost their rights and police have lost the respect that was, before drug prohibition, synonymous with law enforcement. “If we ended the drug war,” he says, “we wouldn’t have a ever-increasing deficit. We wouldn’t be filling the prisons and destroying families”.
Bret recognized these cultural changes while on the job, but his son had a police encounter that truly opened his eyes to the extent of the damage done. When Bret’s son and his friend, who is African-American, were pulled over by police, the officers had already called for a drug dog. “Why would you already have a drug dog enroute to a scene while you pull someone over?” Bret asked. “That’s racial profiling.”
The police forced the boys to sit on the curb while they tore apart the car searching for drugs. None were found. Bret went to the police station and asked to see the incident report. He was told there was no paperwork.
“I found that hard to believe, considering the stop took an hour and a half and involved six officers and a drug dog,” Bret recalls. “The sergeant behind the counter told me they had probable cause because ‘the dog reacted and we don’t know if somebody, sometime, may have smoked something, somewhere and then ridden in the car.'”
“I was intimidated out of the County Sheriff’s Office. They abused my son’s rights. I am really angry and I don’t understand why every American isn’t.”
Bret has a long history of cannabis activism and spoken at the University of Utah as well as with Time 4 Hemp via American Freedom Radio.
Cannabis is by no means the sole focus or platform for his campaign. He also strongly believes and fights for equal rights and wants to put a spotlight on the problems with local Utah law enforcement, such as the lack of processing rape kits and prosecution of suspects. These kits have a typical turnaround time for 4-5 months and a huge backlog add to the stockpile in evidence rooms throughout the state, from cities such as West Valley and Salt Lake City to the State itself.
Bret is holding a mandatory training session for volunteers this Thursday evening (May 29) in Midvale at an event affectionately dubbed “Ride the Liberty Train,” where voters can meet Bret face to face and find out why it is so important to support his candidacy for Utah House District 44.
UtahCARE (Cannabis Awareness, Reform and Education), the Utah Cannabis Coalition and Utah Mommies for Cannabis are fully endorsing Candidate Black, and members look forward to working with his campaign.