Sunday, September 25, 2016

Policy Overseers: Marijuana Legalization Will Not Change Policing



npr |  Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., is a mecca for joggers and families out with their strollers. Along with the smell of sweat and goose poop, weed is an equally present aroma.

Police seemingly take a "light up and let live" attitude here. But Nashanta Williams, who's out walking her dog, says it's not like this in other parts of the city.

"I have been pulled over and been told that my car smells like marijuana and put on the sidewalk and had my vehicle searched," Williams says. "And I felt like they were fishing."

California is one of five states this year where marijuana legalization is on the ballot. Washington and Colorado paved the way for making recreational pot legal back in 2012. Since then marijuana arrests have plunged in Washington. They've also gone down in Colorado, but not by as much.

This raises the question, what is the effect of legalizing marijuana on policing?