Should the government ban puppies instead?
In the state of Washington, the decriminalization of recreational marijuana means police budgets are taking a hit. Besides propping up Mexican drug cartels, the War on Drugs also funds drug task forces, who turn enormous profits commandeering cash, cars and houses from people they arrest. From 2002-2012, property seizures in marijuana cases accounted for $1 billion in police funding.
In Washington’s Snohomish County, legalization means that the local drug task force is faced with a 15% budget cut. The task force’s commander, Pat Slack, is an outspoken critic of legalization, which he says will mean less money for overtime, training and new equipment.
Law enforcement is an essential part of a functioning society. At first glance, then, some might be tempted to agree with Slack’s criticism of legalization.
Consider, however, that there are an estimated 167 million dogs in the US. A federal ban on puppies alone could more than offset the losses caused by marijuana legalization.
Imagine all the money police departments could make by seizing cash, cars and homes from the millions of Americans who own puppies. It might sound cruel, but remember: the law is the law.
My point, of course, is that a ban on virtually anything – be it chicken nuggets, high-end wine, or Kanye West albums – could mean huge profits in asset forfeitures. That doesn’t change the fact that all of these bans (with one possible exception) would be ridiculous and ultimately harmful both to law enforcement and society as a whole.