"By far the most common crime associated with marijuana is simple possession. Prohibition creates crime and convictions ruin lives."
Rick Erickson spent 15 plus years as a police officer in three California police departments: Pismo Beach, Philmore and Lakeport. He spent 13 of those years at Lakeport, and says the small size of that police department gave him advantages as a patrolman not offered in larger divisions. In places like LA, the Major Crimes unit comes in and takes over at a crime scene. But in Lakeport, the officers handle each crime from start to finish - whether it's a burglary, rape or trespassing.
His experience policing in Lakeport convinced Rick of the futility of drug prohibition. "It was obvious," he says, "that everything we did, all of the people we arrested, didn't make a dent in the flow of drugs or the crime associated with drugs. It didn't even slow it down."
As Rick approached retirement, his doctor recommended medical marijuana for chronic back pain and an enlarged area of his heart. When the marijuana gave him relief, he focused his attention on his 33-year-old daughter who suffers severe, chronic pain from fibromyalgia. "She was taking the maximum dose of Soma," Rick recalls, "and two or three other pharmaceutical drugs, but they didn't help much. After she tried the marijuana, she was literally in tears of joy. She said for the first time in years she was able to bend over and pick up a penny without any pain." Medical marijuana not only brought Rick's daughter pain relief, but also reduced her need for the pharmaceutical drugs that were shutting down her kidneys and causing muscle paralysis.
Rick fully supports the legalization and taxation of all drugs, including marijuana. He says, "There are many advantages; the most important to me is to stop putting good, hard working people in jail. Legalization would also provide a good revenue source for the state and could solve a lot of economic issues."