Aspen Sheriff Candidate Supports Legalization For Personal Use

I've endorsed Joe DiSalvo for Pitkin County Sheriff several times over the past six months. Here's one more reason: Di Salvo supports the legalization of drugs for personal use:

DiSalvo, who is currently Pitkin County undersheriff, said he had no interest in whether people in their own homes “fire up a joint or do a line on [their] table.” That means no undercover work would be done by deputies under his command, DiSalvo said, calling the action too expensive and dangerous for law enforcement officers.

“I think adults should be able to do what they want in their own homes and do so safely,” DiSalvo said, adding that that attitude does not apply to children or people getting behind the wheel of automobiles.

Di Salvo shares the views of Aspen's retiring Sheriff (and my personal fave) Bob Braudis: [More...]

Drug use and addiction are health issues, not criminal issues, DiSalvo said, echoing the beliefs of Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis, who is retiring in January after 26 years at the helm of the sheriff’s office. And the best way to address the drug issue in society is legalization, DiSalvo said. It’s a more balanced policy that would end much of the violence surrounding the drug trade, he said.

Di Salvo likely is a shoo-in, but Aspenites still need to vote because Aspen isn't the only town in the County.

In the August primary, he collected 341 votes, or 12.1 percent, which was good enough to earn a right to face DiSalvo in the general election. DiSalvo posted a commanding win in August, claiming 2,186 votes, or 77.3 percent.

On a sidenote, I wonder how DiSalvo will get along with DA Martin Beeson, who I just criticized here.

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    undercover police work (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 11:16:07 PM EST
    is, for the most part (as near as i've seen), a revenue generator. the know they aren't going to put more than minor ding in the activity, but if they get the right people, the local police can make a big money score of their own.

    if the police departments would be honest about it, those participating in these undercover ops would, like pirates and crewmen in the old british navy, get a share of the booty, for a succesful raid.

    that is not true (none / 0) (#2)
    by nyjets on Sat Oct 23, 2010 at 07:27:09 AM EST
    Undercover work has brought down a number of criminal organizations. Whatever your feeling are concerning the drug war, undercover work is a necessary and useful tool for police officers.
    (Legalization of drug is a separatge issue)

    It's also dishonest... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Sat Oct 23, 2010 at 09:57:11 AM EST
    maybe you do need to be a thief to catch a thief, I'd hope not but who knows...but let not kid ourselves, undercover work is by nature perpetuating a fraud, a con, a hustle.  Call it justified if you must, but it sure ain't a righteous tactic.

    i disagree (none / 0) (#7)
    by nyjets on Sat Oct 23, 2010 at 01:22:04 PM EST
    There is nothing wrong with undercover work. Sometimes it is the only way to confirm illegal activity in an organization or to bring down an illegal operation.
    I will grant you that sometimes the exectution of undercover work is poorly done. But it is a valid tactic.

    you have now said that twice (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Oct 23, 2010 at 02:33:40 PM EST
    Enough. We get that you think this. This site does not support undercover work, so please don't keep repeating it. Keep in mind this is a criminal defense site and those with opposing views may state them but they are limited in the amount of times they can repeat their view. See the comment rules.

    Undercover Work has Also... (none / 0) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 09:46:49 AM EST
    ... let a lot of violent behavior go unchecked so that the identity of the officer isn't compromised.  It encourages cops to behave like their targets, and to me they should be above acting like criminals.  Not to mention the violence their very existence creates, in other words, how many people have been beaten or killed because they are suspected of being cops ?

    To me undercover work is somewhat equivalent of a parent going on Facebook and pretending to be someone they aren't so they can spy on their kid's behavior.  It might be legal, but it pathetic, and if caught, sure to only encourage bad behavior set by the very people they are suppose to look to for questions of integrity.


    One thing I haven't seen addressed is (none / 0) (#3)
    by Anne on Sat Oct 23, 2010 at 09:48:38 AM EST
    how the laws for sale and distribution would be changed if it became legal to use and possess drugs in one's homes - I mean, you'd still have to buy the drugs to be used at home, and so, would it not be a crime, then, to sell drugs in "personal use" amounts?  I don't see how you could give permission on the use end and not change the laws on the sale and distribution end.

    Would be interested in some opinions on this front.

    It is kinda silly... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Sat Oct 23, 2010 at 10:02:01 AM EST
    to allow personal use but not sales for personal use...like the old Marijuana Tax Stamp requirement when reefer prohibition first reared its ugly head, you had to have reefer to get the stamp, but to have the reefer without the stamp was a crime...you figure it out cuz I can't.

    But it's still worth doing, at least it gets the chains off the buyers half of the marketplace, if not sellers...half way to the ultimate goal of ending this stupid game once and for all.


    Right, but... (none / 0) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 09:33:02 AM EST
    It does nothing top address the real problem, violence.

    So the man comes to my door for my personal amount, I assume what he is carrying is more than a personal amount, am I still at risk should the government decide he needs to go down ?  Probably not, but they are still in my home asking me questions and hopefully the man hasn't decided my cushion is his new hiding spot.

    The Sheriff has his heart in the right place and maybe he realizes that 'personal amount' is as far as he can push the envelope.  But it's not practical and it's not going to change any of the truly ugly aspects of drugs, the violence created at upper management levels.  If anything, making personal amounts legal will drive the demand up and only increase the violence.


    It does change... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 10:00:50 AM EST
    one very ugly aspect for the better...chains and/or fines for users would no longer exist...ya can't call that anything but good.  

    Would removing chains/fines from the equation for buyers and sellers be better?  Oh hell yes...but it appears progress will have to be attained in babysteps...a frustrating reality after nearly a century of entrenched interests and propaganda to overcome.


    But it Doesn't... (none / 0) (#14)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 10:37:30 AM EST
    ... help the seller in the least.  At some point there still has to be a wholesaler, which is where all the public issues of illegal drugs arise.

    It's the same thing Mexico did, personal amounts are OK, and it took the 'chains' off the tourists, but it doesn't mean the cab driver is any less dangerous or in any less danger of actual chains or worse.

    I don't think it's a bad thing at all, my point was that it's impractical and won't address any of the real demons that go hand-and-hand with the drug trade.

    I get it, as a libertarian you are ecstatic about removing the fines from the equation and getting more personal liberty.  As a liberal, I am down with that, but I also want to address the problems that really effect the public, not just myself, because I for one have never had the unpleasantry of having a fine levied against me in 40 years, so to me it's not much of a benefit.


    I hear ya... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 11:15:18 AM EST
    the real misery caused by drug prohibition...violence, corruption, and imprisonment...will remain. Only potential criminal justice misery for users will cease.

    But as a user I can tell you it is no small thing to remove criminality from the user equation...it gives the user less reason to hate law enforcement and could foster more cooperation between law enforcement and the community in regards to real crimes.


    Go get 'em Joe.... (none / 0) (#6)
    by kdog on Sat Oct 23, 2010 at 10:07:58 AM EST
    it never ceases to amaze me how enlightened some Colorado lawmen are...can you send some Joe DiSalvo clones eastward?  Can we make him drug czar if we must have a drug czar?

    I do feel bad he will have to work with that Beeson character if elected, but it would be good for Aspen to have sanity at the enforcement level if not the prosecution level, that will save some lives some heartache.

    This Texan Totally Agrees (none / 0) (#12)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 10:01:48 AM EST
    A couple years ago the legislature changed the pot laws in such a way that possession wasn't necessarily a jailable offense, they could issue a ticket if inclined.

    The next day the Houston PD issued a statement that all people caught will be jailed.  In other words, 'To hell with legislature', which is humorous considering the cops are always claiming they don't make the laws, they just enforce them.

    It's almost like Colorado is an 'enlightened' county far, far away, yet they are only 35 miles from Texas.


    Some might chalk that up... (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 10:09:05 AM EST
    to crazy Texas-style justice...what is the supposedly tolerant & liberal New York City's excuse?  We still lock up for miniscule amounts too...its embarassing.

    It is Embarrasing... (none / 0) (#15)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 10:48:47 AM EST
    ... to read stuff like this.  I live in a city with daily violence that exceeds entire states, easily, yet the cops couldn't wait to proclaim they aren't going to follow the legislature's advise, and are intent on changing their tails.

    I would love to see a study that looks at people who have been caught and how effective the fine or incarceration was in their future usage, and if their usage was any different than users who aren't caught.  

    I doubt there would be any measurable differences, which would mean that enforcement has little effect on usage.  Just my opinion.


    As someone arrested... (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Mon Oct 25, 2010 at 11:17:20 AM EST
    for possesion I can tell you I lied through my teeth to the judge and went right back to my pursuit of happiness...with an extra chip on my shoulder and a new found libertarian streak:)