How Police Are Cashing in on Legalization

The Ontario Liberals are promising municipalities $40 million to cover cannabis law enforcement costs. Municipalities then contract policing services to the local monopoly, usually the OPP. But it’s still not enough, police say.

The Ontario Chiefs of Police are crying wolf. They feel federal funding for police won’t be adequate to cover, what they expect to be, increased costs of legalization. They’re not the only ones.

Ontario Provincial Police Chief Supt. Chuck Cox said he assumed impaired driving will increase under legalization, despite lack of comparative evidence from the US legal states, as well as the age-old axiom that cannabis doesn’t impair.

Unless, of course, your tolerance is low, you’ve eaten a 400 mg brownie, it’s dusk, you’re operating on 4 hours sleep, and you’re driving with noisy kids in the back. That will definitely impair you.
Nevertheless, the police believe they’ll need to train more officers to detect drug impairment. Of course, impairment should be obvious. No need to train for it. An impaired citizen wandering around is of no threat, while an impaired driver is obvious to not only police officers, but the average driver. Nevertheless, this is a classic example of bureaucracy.

Cox said more officers will need training in “drug recognition experts” and able to perform “standardized field sobriety tests.” An SFST requires a five-day in-class course, only 24 can take it at one time, and each class of 24 needs six instructors.

For DRE training, it’s a two-week course, essentially off-duty (away from “the front line.”) There’s also an option to send police to Jacksonville, Florida to a special facility where they can train alongside people actually under the influence of something.

Where there is no profit motive, we must adopt other principles.

Even the Chiefs of Police answer to somebody. What orders does this higher authority give? “Render useful services to the community?” What does that even mean?

Who, in government, is in a position to decide what good or service is useful? And how will they find out whether the services rendered are not too expensive? That is, are the factors of production absorbed by this service rendered more useful in other lines of production?

These aren’t the questions asked. But they need to be. With private enterprise, the problem is solved by the buying public.

The proof of usefulness of specific goods and services is that a sufficient number of people are willing to consensually pay the price asked.

In a free and fair market, production of popular goods and services expand until saturation is reached, that is until further expansion withdraw factors of production from other industries whose products are higher in demand.

Profits are a guide entrepreneurs use to satisfy consumer needs. The price structure of the market is a communication device.

Since the police are a government monopoly paid through taxes, the operational structure is quite different.

If government services are supposed to run deficits, then how do we find out whether the costs associated with those services are too large?

For example, one would think with legalization, we could cut police budgets or reallocate resources to more pressing crimes.

Y’know, the ones with actual victims.

But, to our dismay, police believe they actually need larger budgets to accommodate, what they expect to be, a larger policing problem with legalization than prohibition.

Unbelievable that there not only people making this argument but others that believe it.

A private business owner doesn’t have the luxury of operating at a loss. Unprofitability is proof consumers don’t like what you’re doing.

In “public” or state-owned enterprises, operating at a loss is not considered a failure. In fact, the whole idea is to operate on different principles.

But now we’re faced with the fact that every service can be improved by throwing money at it.

But resources are scarce and so is the government’s tax loot and borrowing abilities. Sure, we can throw everything we’ve got at the police to ensure we’re all safe and ready for legal “reefer madness.” But each dollar going into police budgets is one less dollar for hospitals or schools.

A good police bureaucrat takes the budget he or she has already been given and tries to make the services as good as possible. The police manager is not restrained by financial success, but the costs involved place a heavy burden on the public funds. So the difference between a good cop manager and a bad one depends on how responsible he or she is with taxpayers’ money.

But, as we are dealing with bureaucracy, the government has their hand to play in where and how these resources are distributed. The prohibition mindset from Canada’s police stations is reinforced by Ottawa.

“At any rate the manager is not a business executive but a bureaucrat, that is, an officer bound to abide by various instructions. The criterion of good management is not the approval of the customers resulting in an excess of revenue over costs but the strict obedience to a set of bureaucratic rules.”

Perhaps there is a remedy. Private roads and private police? Or decentralized control? Instead, the federal government promises to throw millions we can’t afford at a problem that doesn’t exist.