Prohibition crusaders find deep, satisfying enjoyment opening their mouths and letting lies someone else made up decades ago drool out. They’ll tell you marijuana is a gateway drug, they’ll tell you that stoned drivers will menace our roads, and plenty of other bullshit. The intention is to scare voters into funding prohibition enforcement and scare kids too young to vote into believing the propaganda. Some of this is good: no one wants to see a friend turn into a junkie, and stories about people who reclaim their lives from physical dependence are genuinely inspiring. Some of the stories end with a 23 year old girl dead because the drug war used her. You don’t hear those in a D.A.R.E. class.
Rachel Hoffman was caught with just under an ounce of pot on February 22, 2007 during a traffic stop. She was a student at Florida State University and would soon graduate. She had plans to attend culinary school after she got her degree. No one got hurt, she didn’t crash into a church bus with a blunt in her mouth, but she screwed up, got caught with pot, and she was placed under probation by the drug court in Tallahassee. In April of 2008 police decided to search her apartment, and Rachel had screwed up again. Police reportedly found over five ounces of marijuana and 2-4 ecstasy pills in her place. Again, she didn’t hurt anyone, but this was bad, bad news for her.
The Tallahassee cops brought her in and made her an offer: name some other marijuana users, and maybe we’ll take it easy on you. She refused, so they made her a second offer. They wanted her to wear a wire and buy 1,500 ecstasy pills, two ounces of cocaine and a handgun… or she would go to jail for a long, long time. Notice the police didn’t even think marijuana was important enough to include in the deal.
The narcotics officers set up a buy with two men she didn’t know and gave her no training before sending her on her way. The two cops were her only protection. The suppliers changed the location of the buy mid-operation, and the police lost both them and her. Rachel’s body was found two days later, murdered with the handgun she had be ordered to buy.
Deneilo R. Bradshaw, 23,and Andrea Jabbar Green, 25, were found guilty of first degree murder with robbery and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Justice is about balance, hence the symbol of the scales. It’s difficult to see how getting a few ounces of drugs and a single gun off the street balance out two life sentences and a life ended. Bradshaw and and Green were traffickers, they were losers who had just been fired from a tint shop.
This is a problem with the “Drug War” mindset: a smart girl with a promising future was caught with recreational amount of illicit substances and thrown into a situation where $13,000 worth of hard drugs and a firearm were presented as her only hope of salvation. This from people who tell us they’re here to make our lives safer.
Rachel Morningstar Hoffman was used like a disposable asset by an incompetent and overzealous police force. People who thought they were doing the right thing, that the imaginary evils of marijuana somehow justified the forfeit of a human life.
Ecstasy can be dangerous when the wrong people make it or the wrong dosage is taken, but so is a law based on falsehoods when it’s used to place people in the way of real harm. Sometimes the drugs aren’t the most dangerous part of the drug war.
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