Victorian Deputy Police Commissioner Sir Ken Jones has profoundly influenced public drug policy, simply by enforcing the law today. In pulling off Operation Entity, the largest combined drug raids ever in the state, Sir Ken has adroitly laid a challenge for both parties in this Saturday’s election, without choosing sides.
The message is that police could fill the jails with traffickers and burn towering marijuana mountains each year. They could arrest hundreds of kids with a roach in their pockets every weekend. But without a comprehensive debate on drugs in this country, including the possible decriminalisation of marijuana, the effort would be in vain.
In a master stroke, Sir Ken has demonstrated to the electorate that cannabis, while it remains illicit, is a soft drug with hard links. It’s not news to police, but it’s a fact that has curiously not resonated widely.
Whether marijuana is a gateway for users to harder drugs, such as heroin, is arguable but almost irrelevant. The more pertinent truth for the community is that for organised crime the pot trade is a gateway to the heroin trade.
Victorian police will allege that proceeds from the hydroponic crops grown in suburban houses are used to organise large scale shipments of heroin into this country. That pot you bought yesterday helps buy smack tomorrow. They might not have caught all the Mr Bigs in the raids on 68 homes. Let’s see who turns up in court. Past history suggests that cops generally catch the numbskulls paid to “sit” the crops. The sitters are poorly paid because they run the risk of no more than 18 months jail.
But the business nexus between pot and heroin is clearly made. You have to admire Sir Ken’s contribution and how he made it. This is something even the dullest politician could get. Last month, Sir Ken suggested at a crime conference that there should be a public debate on legalisation of some drugs. When he spoke, he was no doubt poring over the finances of the gangs nailed today.
If Sir Ken were able to speak his mind, he might say decriminalising and regulating pot would leave the heroin business with a huge finance shortfall. The beauty of today’s triumph is that he doesn’t have to say a word. The evidence uncovered in what was just a beautiful operation will speak far more eloquently than Sir Ken ever could (with all due respect to his English diction). Decriminalisation of pot is a hot issue politically, but it’s effectively already happened. Police can issue 2 cautions for possession of up to 50 grams. While it’s not quite a shedload, 50gs a month is enough weed to sedate the average family of four.
P.S. But folks it’s not over yet. The cops are going to raid another 20 houses by Friday. Imagine all the stoners across Melbourne tonight wondering if their two scraggly plants in the cupboard under the stairs are part of Sir Ken’s Operation Entity. The fires of paranoia will burn bright all over the city tonight as evidence is disposed of. My tip is you’ll get high just walking the streets in some parts of Melbourne’s west this evening. 😉