Top cop changes his mind
"Ike" McKinnon says it’s time to take a public stance
Published: November 2, 2011
"We are finding that, at least with marijuana, the majority of the people have moved their position," says LEAP's Franklin. "There was a time I thought like that. I arrested people. I led a drug unit. I supported prohibition probably stronger than most. It took me a few years to get to that point where I saw that it's not just marijuana; it's the policies for all drugs that are wrong. I guarantee you that if [McKinnon] were to continue look at this issue, if he were to continue educating himself on this issue and look at it from a global perspective, I'm almost certain he would arrive at the same point of view as I am."
McKinnon is certainly a guy who seeks education. He earned a master's degree and studied for his doctorate while serving on the police force. At this point, he's not interested in becoming an activist on this issue. It really only came up because Mike Whitty, an adjunct professor at UDM and a member of the advisory board for the Michigan Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, asked him about it one day.
"I've never spoken to anyone about this," McKinnon says. "Nobody ever asked me about it before."
That type of discussion will take place with the program "Should We End the War on Cannabis? A conversation with Ike McKinnon and Professor Mike Whitty" at 7 p.m. on Dec. 6, at the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham. This event has no affiliation with UDM.
"The goal is to try to elevate the topic to the level of a serious policy debate and to put the problems of cannabis closer to the public health arena," says Whitty.
McKinnon says that there are probably many other chiefs of police who agree with that, but can't say so because they are appointed officials who must support the policy of whatever politician appointed them. It's later, after retirement, that some perspective sets in and they also feel free to speak their own minds.
"When you think about it in terms of your health, if it brings relief, people are going to want to use that," McKinnon says. "I can't think of anybody who has died from marijuana."
McKinnon is only willing to go so far in his reassessment of marijuana law, but his voice, as an old anti-drug warrior, should be heard loud and clear. He more than most has seen how it is fought and the carnage it causes.
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