Those who claim cannabis is safe are sorely mistaken. As evidenced by an incident this month in Pennsylvania, cannabis can get you run over by a bulldozer.
Last month, a Game Commission employee called the police after seeing a car parked well off the road in public land, and the troopers stumbled upon Gregory Longenecker, David Light and 10 cannabis plants. The officers apprehended Light, but Longenecker took off running. The police dispatched a helicopter to pursue the 51-year-old by air, while a trooper (along with the operator) hunted him down on land using the bulldozer.
The police eventually caught up with Longenecker. Unfortunately, they found him on the bottom end of the bulldozer. The police may have labeled the death an accident, but it's yet another example of how the drug war has too much blood on its hands.
In response to the police crushing a non-violent cannabis offender with a bulldozer, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published an editorial titled "Another Needless Death in the Absurd War on Marijuana."
"The obvious question is whether the discovery of a small marijuana grow should have prompted the deployment of a police helicopter and the use of a bulldozer to pursue an unarmed suspect who didn't present imminent harm to anyone, especially in a state with liberalizing marijuana laws," wrote Reggie Shuford, Executive Director of the ACLU-Pennsylvania. "The answer clearly should be no."
Shuford went on to note that cannabis violations are at record highs in Pennsylvania, even though a majority of the state wants full legalization. Last year, the state charged 22,661 people with low-level cannabis possession, and both millennials and African-Americans bore "the brunt" of the arrests.
Growing cannabis is a felony offense in Pennsylvania, but state judges typically issue very short sentences or simply probation. And as pointed out by a defense lawyer, the police could have simply run the plates on the car or gotten his name from his fellow grower. Even a half-ass investigator could have put the pieces together.
Instead, the police acted like they were on a statewide manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and it resulted in a 51-year-old man being crushed to death under a bulldozer for merely growing a few plants on public land.
Photo credit: Wikipedia.