In recent events, nearly half of the United States has agreed on marijuana, while an additional half is still up in arms about legalizing the drug. Now, a recent report has revealed that Michigan and North Dakota may be joining the ranks of California and Washington as the next two states to fully legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older. While voters will have a chance to vote on the issue in the upcoming election, local law enforcement seems to be taking matters into their own hands, stirring up the pot as it were. A news report confirmed that Michigan police officers may have censored comments about marijuana on social media, and some people are calling this action a violation of “freedom of speech.” Let’s take a closer look and see what happened.
Last week, members of a police department in Norton Shores, Michigan were directly accused of deleting comments about legalized marijuana on their Facebook page. Members of the marijuana community were particularly concerned by the fact that a government-funded organization would block public opinions (just in time for the upcoming election on November 6).
Last week, Muskegon News initially reported that residents had been complaining about their comments (supporting the legalization of cannabis) had been disappearing (having been concealed from the main page). In response, a representative of the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists (MACRA) requested that the department provide the rationale behind their decision (based on the Freedom of Information Act). The MACRA official dubbed this incident an act of “censorship.” Later, on October 3, 2018, police allowed the comments to be visible to the public again.
In Our Police We Trust
Initially, the users posted these comments as direct responses to an article shared on the Norton Shores department’s Facebook page. Taken from the Alliance for Marijuana Prevention (AMP), the message reiterated that marijuana is a potentially dangerous drug that can severely impact the brain. Based on a section simply called “The Facts,” the police also shared that teens who consume weed have an IQ that is 8 times lower than their peers’.
The main issue with this comment is the simple fact that not enough research has been conducted on marijuana to prove this fact (not with the majority of people). Even more problematic, a nationwide survey revealed that 57% of the American public respects and trusts police officers and view law enforcement officials as influences for voting and political decisions. This incident could not have come at a worse time for the marijuana movement or police, in general.
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