Law enforcement officials often have mixed opinions on marijuana. While they usually acknowledge the drug is not that dangerous and they have greater priorities, they still very rarely come out and support legalization efforts. Well one police chief in Missouri is changing that.
Chris Hammann is the chief of police in Vandalia, Missouri. In an interview with KBIA radio, Hammann discussed his job and how the local economy of the town affects crime. He also made a somewhat surprising statement by calling on the state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.
"[Medical marijuana] is important for the people who deal with those illnesses every day," Hammann said. "I do support those individuals that are trying to pass [medicinal cannabis] legislation."
Hammann gave several reasons why he supports medical marijuana initiatives. Broadly, he believes legalization would lead to increased tax revenue that could be used to help solve some of the state's more pressing issues. He also said members of his family have suffered from severe pain and seen how it changed them, and that experience showed him how important something like medical marijuana could be to people with those conditions.
If it wasn't surprising enough that a chief of police would support medical marijuana, Hammann is also a Republican. He noted that many of his colleagues in the GOP are not very fond of cannabis, and he's found Democrats are more open to it. But he believes both parties will need to come together to make it work in Missouri.
Hammann also noted that Vandalia and surrounding areas are being ravaged by methamphetamine and similar drugs, and that those are the ones that need more resources than marijuana.
Now this is a guy who understands rational policy!