How drug decriminalization affects policing

In Politics by Michael Rae


In November 2014, police pulled over a disabled veteran in South Carolina for a minor traffic violation. After searching the veteran’s car, the police discovered small amounts of cannabis. Officers gave the veteran an ultimatum: help them or face stiff charges. Out of fear of criminal punishment, the veteran agreed to a controlled purchase of cannabis— roughly 100 dollars’ worth—from her friend, Julian, in Myrtle Beach. As a result, the police had enough information to establish probable cause to obtain a search warrant for Julian’s home.

A few months later, 12 officers from a multi-jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) prepared to