The popular notion of American democracy is that of a government “for, by, and of the people”. Tragically, this ideal has been substantially undermined by the emergence of the War on Drugs, and particularly through the widespread use of the practice of civil asset forfeiture. Under civil asset forfeiture, American law enforcement (federal, state, and local) has the ability to fund themselves without legislative appropriation or voter consent.
The consequences of the drug war reach out in many ways. It puts law enforcement into an altercation or arrest for drug crimes. It erodes the trust the public has in government because most people don’t feel drugs should be illegal. Police become viewed as an occupying force projecting morality onto the public. It creates an attitude of disrespect, and erodes the respect between police and the community. The drug war isn’t the only source [of distrust], but it is a major factor.