Marijuana legalization advocates just got a surprising new ally in the fight to “legalize it.” Their unofficial spokesperson? Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland.
In a recent radio interview, McClelland took one of the boldest stands in the efforts to decriminalize casual use of pot that the country has seen, at least from the law enforcement community.
“We cannot criminalize such a large population of society that engage in casual marijuana use,” he admitted.
McClelland believes that enforcing marijuana laws is a waste of time “and other valuable resources,” notes Click2Houston.
“Taxpayers can’t afford to build jails and prisons to lock up everyone that commits a crime,” he added. “We must put more money into crime prevention, treatment, education, job training.”
The chief also stated that the war on drugs has been a negative for the law enforcement community, and society as a whole, particularly where it involves minorities.
“A lot of young men who are minorities, in their early 20s, have a felony conviction on their resume, and now they’re unemployable. And we wonder why they don’t have jobs, they’re not working, they’re not contributing to society in a productive way.”
While Chief McClelland stopped short of recommending full-on marijuana legalization, he is encouraged by a “pilot program” that his organization has been trying in Houston.
“I think we’re going to be able to make some good recommendations to our state lawmakers and other elected officials on where we need to go in the state of Texas,” he said.
McClelland closed by stating that the federal government needed to take the lead on the issue in the wake of changing opinions in many states across the country, and that federal law enforcement should soften its approach to dealing with offenders whose only felonies are marijuana possession and use.
Texas smoke shop owner John Sroujr applauded the Chief McClelland comments in an interview with KPRC.
“You can look to Colorado and it’s plain to see. It’s become a billion dollar industry, a multibillion dollar industry and I believe if we legalize in Texas it’s going to do good things for society.” Check out the full video from the news site below.
What do you think about Chief Charles McClelland, readers? Do his comments on marijuana legalization ring true, or should society continue to look at possession and use of pot as a felony?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.
[Image via ShutterStock]