Arlington, TX — As the law enforcement arm of the justice system in America, police officers routinely kidnap and cage marijuana users, especially when they’re caught smoking in public. But one Texas police officer is being praised for giving a teenager an alternative to spending the night in jail.

Officer Eric Ball, of Arlington TX, encountered a teenager (minor whose name is withheld) smoking weed outside a local movie theater. Instead of hauling the teen to juvenile detention, which would have done nothing but ruin his life, Ball gave the kid an ultimatum. Do 200 push-ups, get fined, or go to lockup. The teen chose the push-ups.

Ball described the incident. “I asked him to come here…When he noticed I was an officer, he came walking toward me. But he dropped something in his hand,” he said. “You out here in front of the door smoking weed. What are you thinking? That was dumb,” the officer said. “So you’re going to go to jail for something dumb today.” But instead, the option was given to do the push-ups, a choice the teen readily accepted. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, you can do 200 push-ups or go to jail,'” the officer said describing his ultimatum.

In a video uploaded by CW33, the teen can be seen struggling through the ordeal of doing 200 push-ups. His mother was reportedly supportive of the officer’s alternative punishment even encouraging the teen to be forced to do more. Ball’s high school mentor was also a police officer.

“The officer who was my mentor, he looked out for me,” he said as he described his motivation for wanting to help the teen. “So I just wanted to do it as a learning tool,” Ball said justifying his actions for offering the teen an alternative to misdemeanor citation and fines for having drug paraphernalia. “It’s easy to arrest folks,” Ball said. “But it’s harder to change someone.”

The young Black teen gladly engaged in the physical activity while onlookers took notice.

While this officer definitely deserves commendation for refusing to kidnap and cage this teen for ingesting a plant, we must as the question, why is marijuana illegal in the first place while legal over-the-counter medications and prescription medicines kill nearly 50,000 Americans yearly? Marijuana kills no one.

As The Free Thought Project has reported, myths about marijuana are abundant. Medical marijuana advocates long for the day when cannabis use is seen in the same light as someone taking medicine for their overall well-being. As more research is done on a scientific level, the benefits of cannabis are becoming more apparent. For ADD/ADHD, autism, and epilepsy, marijuana is seen by users as a wonder drug, helping teenagers focus, helping autistic children and teens behave more normally, and practically curing epileptics of their seizures.

While we praise Officer Ball for showing mercy and grace toward the teenager, and for not starting him down the path of obtaining a criminal record, we question the severity of the punishment, and call attention to the fact that the teenager made a conscious decision to use a God-given natural remedy.

We salute you Officer Ball. At the same time, we call on lawmakers to end the war on marijuana and CBD and stop making criminals and scapegoats out of users of natural remedies.

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Jack Burns is an educator, journalist, investigative reporter, and advocate of natural medicine