In a small victory for a slightly more humane and sensible drug policy, Connecticut lawmakers recently approved a measure decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. State Sen. Toni Boucher, a Republican, isn’t happy, though. And she says that, rather than simply having honest disagreements on the best approach to dealing with pot, that Gov. Dannel Malloy has a “personal interest” in decriminalization: his son has been arrested for marijuana.
Boucher may have a point. When people in a position of power do something that’s not entirely awful, such as reduce penalties for possessing certain taboo plants, it’s often because they have been personally affected by the awful status quo. Disgraced San Diego Congressman Duke Cunningham, for instance, once a staunch advocate of “law and order,” is now a vocal advocate of prison reform — from his prison cell.
But what of the “personal interest” some have in maintaining the status quo? According to Sen. Boucher, she came to oppose reforming Connecticut’s marijuana laws after talking with (wait for it):
“a variety of people who work in drug treatment facilities, medical centers and police departments—’people that have to deal with the after-effects’ of the drug.”
In other words, Boucher allegedly reached her anti-reform position after speaking with those who directly profit from a system that incarcerates and/or mandates treatment for those who consume marijuana. But it’s those whose “personal interest” in the reform debate derives from their firsthand experience with the injustice of the criminal justice system that’s supposed to shock and scandalize.