Cash-Strapped U.S. Police Departments Turn to More Marijuana Busts

Marijuana BustVia Fox News:

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, his budget under pressure in a weak economy, has laid off staff, reduced patrols and even released jail inmates. But there’s one mission on which he’s spending more than in recent years: pot busts, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

The reason is simple: If the California lawman steps up his pursuit of marijuana growers, his department is eligible for roughly half a million dollars a year in federal anti-drug funding, helping save some jobs. The majority of the funding would have to be used to fight pot. Marijuana may not be the county’s most pressing crime problem, the sheriff says, but “it’s where the money is.”

Washington has long allocated funds to help localities fight crime, influencing their priorities in the process. Today’s local budget squeezes are enhancing this effect, and the result is particularly striking in California, where many residents take a benign view of pot but federal dollars help keep law-enforcement focused on it.

To make sure his office gets the federal funds, Bosenko since last year has spent about $340,000 of his department’s shrinking resources, more than in past years, on a team that tramps through the woods looking for pot farms. Though the squad is mostly U.S.-funded, the federal grants don’t cover some of its needs, such as a team chief and certain equipment. So, Bosenko has to pay for those out of his regular budget.

Read More: Fox News

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13 Responses to Cash-Strapped U.S. Police Departments Turn to More Marijuana Busts

  1. Hadrian999 July 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    The pot money is “$340,000 I could use somewhere else in my organization,” he says. “That could fund three officers' salaries and benefits, and we could have them out on our streets doing patrol.”

    am i the only one that thinks cops making 100 grand a year might be part of the budget problem?

    • Haystack July 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

      According to wikipedia, it costs between $18,000 to $31,000 to incarcerate one prisoner annually. If they weren't spending so much money incarcerating marijuana growers in the first place, they'd have the money to pay for their precious patrols.

      As it stands, I'd rather have less police, if the police we have place the size of their budgets above the justice of their actions.

    • tonyviner July 4, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

      Cops making 100 grand a year might be part of a lot of problems.

      • Haystack July 4, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

        One thing I'll say for that, though, is that a well-paid police force is less susceptible to bribery.

        • Hadrian999 July 4, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

          or just hired thugs as opposed to people with a genuine desire to see justice done.

  2. hunter349 July 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm #

    Here are a few rough numbers:

    They said by cracking down on pot they can receive up to $500 thousand dollars from the Federal Government.

    Lets take the smallest amount Haystack gave for incarceration costs at $18,000 per person per year.

    Now we take that $18,000 and divide by 12 months making $1,500 a month (which seems extremely low but were going conservative with these estimates.)

    Now lets say that 1,000 people were incarcerated for only 1 month throughout the year. ( a very low number.)

    That is $1,500,000 or about a million dollars more a year spent than the maximum they could receive in aid. (The real number is probably much much much more.)

    That is math any 7th grader and some counting dogs could do.

  3. AdHomonym July 5, 2010 at 1:32 am #

    I wonder what they're going to do when California legalizes pot in November (which WILL happen!)

  4. Pete21 July 6, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    When seizing private property and incarcerating non-violent offenders seems more reasonable than legalizing and taxing it should be apparent how insane the drug war has become. Police should police based on community need, not based on how many assets they can seize.

  5. Bell End July 7, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    Holy shit that row of fascist muthafuckers in that picture just gave me a chill… look at them… what a bunch of fucking douchebags… aghh they've ruined my day.

  6. guest August 2, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    what kind of shit is this. “thats where the money is at” .. how can law enforcement NOT be corrupt when theres money to be made in a bad economy? im i the only one who sees innocent people go to jail on bullshit or trumped charges?

  7. guest August 2, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    what kind of shit is this. “thats where the money is at” .. how can law enforcement NOT be corrupt when theres money to be made in a bad economy? im i the only one who sees innocent people go to jail on bullshit or trumped charges?

  8. K2 smoke October 29, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    Look at them posing next to it all proud of themselves. It’s a PLANT. Go solve some real crime for once.

  9. K2 smoke October 29, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    Look at them posing next to it all proud of themselves. It’s a PLANT. Go solve some real crime for once.

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