War on drugs: Coming to a high school near you

Daniel Perret-Goluboff

Entrapment isn’t dead in this country, though it seems to have acquired a new target demographic for law enforcement officials in the past few years. By legal definition, entrapment is baiting someone into committing a crime so that individual can have charges brought against him or her.

One would think that our nation’s legal system has progressed enough to avoid such techniques, or at least to solely use them for large or violent crimes. This, however, is not the case.

In fact, Florida law enforcement used exactly this technique numerous times in the past year in an attempt to convict high school students of crimes as minimal as possession of marijuana.

Enter Justin, an 18-year-old honor student at a Florida high school when he became involved in this mess. Justin was a senior in his high school when he became smitten with the new girl in one his classes. Self-described as a “quieter” young man, Justin was ecstatic when the girl approached him at school, and they gradually became friends.

Justin and his new female friend spent weeks getting to know each other in school, through Facebook and other social mediums. They would exchange text messages constantly, and Justin quickly found himself falling for his new friend.

Given the happiness he felt at all of this, it is no surprise that — despite the fact that he himself did not use marijuana — he agreed to her request several weeks later to try and find her some weed.

Given that Justin was a bit more socially reserved, it took him several weeks to finally locate some pot for her.

Dear police, tracking the kid who needs several weeks to find a small amount of weed is a poor method for the “war” on drugs.

When he finally located the said marijuana, his female friend attempted to pay him $25 for it. Justin refused, insisting that it was ‘a gift’ for her. Not long after, his female friend — who turned out to be an undercover police officer — left the school.

The police swept the school and arrested 31 students for possession and distribution of marijuana to undercover officers, including Justin, who now has a felony charge hanging over his head.

This story is not unique in its ridiculous nature. In addition to the 31 students arrested in Florida, a quick Google search led me to the story of Mitchell Lawrence. Mitchell, also 18 at the time of his arrest several years ago, spent 2 years in prison for selling 1 joint to an undercover who had befriended him and his group of peers.

Why such a severe sentence, you might ask? Because the cop intentionally had Mitchell meet him within one thousand feet of a public school to make the transaction, it was a felony.

What can we take from all this? Primarily, that entrapment is still alive and well in this country. These officers should be stripped of their jobs and sent to prison for police misconduct.

These backwards cops have essentially ruined these young people’s chances at finding meaningful employment in life; what kind of background check can you pass with a distribution charge on your record?

We need to ask ourselves as a nation whether or not small, non-violent drug charges are worth the damage that these officers are causing to America’s youth.