On Friday, the Texas police department posted two pictures that included a boastful officer grinning as he held up a pound of seized cannabis and what amounted to $2,300 in cash. Deputy Steven Siracusa discovered the plants and currency during a traffic stop.
Though the 23-year-old driver of the vehicle was released on bail, he is charged with “Possession of Marijuana 4oz or greater but less than 5 pounds which is a State Jail Felony, punishable by 180 days to 2 years confinement in a TDCJ State Jail with a fine not to exceed $10,000,” according to police (cannabis is still illegal in Texas, though a severely restricted medical marijuana program was recently signed into law). They seized the cannabis, his cash, and his car.
By Wednesday, the post had racked up over 3,500 comments and 1,000 shares, largely because a popular libertarian meme page, Liberty Memes, shared it with their followers. Liberty Memes routinely shares posts from police departments around the country when they display what many Americans consider overreach — especially when it comes to the drug war and civil asset forfeiture.
So far, the Grimes County Sheriff’s page has allowed the original post and comments in response to remain intact, but we screenshotted the highlights (just in case).
The growing backlash against the war on drugs, particularly cannabis, comes in many forms, from downright trolling to thoughtful expressions of institutional hypocrisy and philosophical rejections of police officers’ authority.
First, the funny:
Some highlighted the war on drugs’ failure to stop drug use and tendency to ruin people’s lives, instead:
Still others pointed out the legality of alcohol, a dangerous drug, and that the time police spend busting cannabis users and sellers could be spent tackling far bigger problems:
A bulk of the comments went beyond hypocrisy and joking to question police officers’ fundamental authority. They expressed a refusal to grant officers an exception on morality simply because they work for the government:
Naturally, some commenters defended the police. They were met with swift responses:
Police departments continue to post proud pictures of their cannabis busts despite the backlash from commenters, but as the majority of the country moves toward tolerance and an increasing number of states legalize the plant, it’s seems inevitable that law enforcement’s days of bragging about weed confiscations will soon be over.