BURLINGTON – Much praise was heaped on Burlington, VT’s police force last week at a town hall meeting to address the opioid crisis. With fewer arrests and more leniency towards people currently attempting recovery from opioid addiction, the city has been held up as an example for modern policing. But one startling piece of news that came out of the meeting was the previously unreported fact that no illegal drugs ever come across the Mexican border other than marijuana.
“[President Trump’s] wall would have almost zero impact on stopping drugs coming into the United States,” said Gil Kerlikowske, a panelist and ‘drug czar’ under Obama. “The only drug that comes across the border on the southern border is marijuana.”
This new information shocked many in attendance, as many had assumed that previous reports were true that showed over 5 tons of meth was seized last year at our southern border, and that cocaine, heroin and opioids in large quantities were also routinely seized. When Kerlikowske announced that Mexico only sends marijuana, a drug now legal to possess in Vermont, it caused an uproar at the meeting.
“So you’re saying all the meth, heroin, oxy, cocaine, and fentanyl, it’s all coming from Canada?!” shouted one angry resident. “Why can’t they be more like Mexico and only send us weed?!”
The crowd clearly agreed with the resident at the microphone, as people began to stand and shout along with her. A chant of “Canada kills! No more fentanyl!” rose up in City Hall, followed by “Canada is death! No more meth!” It took officers almost twenty minutes to restore order, and only then with the promise that the city would harshly condemn Canada for its actions. The resolution was quickly drafted and passed unanimously, despite the legal questions of legislating during a town hall meeting.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” said Burlington Police Chief Brandon Del Pozo. “We had been wasting a lot of time and money patrolling the southern borders of our city and state, but now that we know that the only thing coming up from the south is pot, we know where to focus our efforts. All I can say is, expect a lot of traffic stops if you’re coming from Winooski or Colchester. But South Burlington is probably fine. Traffic on Shelburne Road should flow just as well as it always has.”
Image Credits: VTDigger.