Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Some police departments have too much time on their hands

A lot of stories have been written about the photo of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps smoking a bong at a November party at the University of South Carolina.
Enough already.
He fessed up and apologized. He called the behavior "regrettable," "inappropriate" and said it showed "bad judgment."
Now the Richland County, S.C., sheriff’s department is investigating the case to see if charges can be brought against Phelps.
Seriously? I can’t believe they’d waste their time investigating what is likely a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge.
Talk about demonstrating bad judgment. What’s going to be their evidence? A photo that could have been taken who knows where and who knows when. Maybe some eyewitness statements, if they’re lucky. Any hard evidence has gone up in smoke.
Doesn’t Richland County have any real criminals – murderers, rapists, pedophiles, burglars, thieves, robbers, scam artists and the like to track down? If not, I’d suggest that the department is overstaffed based on the crime rate and needs to be downsized.
The taxpayers in Richland County should be upset that the sheriff’s department is wasting resources on a nothing crime.
The time might be right to decriminalize marijuana. After all, we now have a president in Barack Obama who admits trying marijuana (and cocaine) in his teenage years. The so-called drug war has lasted decades and doesn’t have much to show for it, except overcrowded prisons.
If the government legalized marijuana, it could reap billions in taxes to help rebuild the country’s infrastructure. Tax dollars spent on law enforcement efforts to stop the cultivation and trafficking of marijuana could go to health care, including helping those people with addiction problems.
Legalizing marijuana should be seriously investigated and considered. But it would take some brave politicians to bring it up.

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