Sheree M. Krider
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: LEAP’s Dispatches from the Front Line… July 2009
From: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Date: Sat, July 11, 2009 11:35 am
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition plays an important role in passing legislation. Our speakers work to lay a foundation of reform by sharing their experiences with local audiences, and lawmakers depend on LEAP to give expert testimony!
On June 17, Rhode Island became the third state in the country to allow the sale of marijuana for medical purposes. Previously, doctors were able to prescribe it for critically ill patients, but there was no legal way to buy it. On June 26, the Rhode Island Senate went even further by creating a "Marijuana Prohibition Study Commission" charged with doing a comprehensive study of the effects of policies forbidding the possession, cultivation and sale of marijuana in Rhode Island.
Elsewhere in New England, New Hampshire legislators voted to allow medical marijuana for chronically or terminally ill patients and to establish three nonprofit compassion centers licensed by the state. Although the Governor vetoed the bill, there is still a good chance the legislature will override the veto.
Our executive director, Jack Cole, testified before the Health and Human Services Committee of the New Hampshire Senate to support the bill, and traveled to Providence to speak to their Senate Judiciary Committee.
LEAP is helping the community in Oklahoma City have a conversation about the drug war. The unveiling of our billboard there on June 4 caught the attention of the Ada Evening News and The Oklahoman. Our message remains the same: "Drug Abuse is Bad. The Drug War is Worse."
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Here are just a few of the issues our speakers addressed in June. We hope you’ll share "Dispatches From the Front Line…" with a friend.
Drugs Won The War (From Nicholas Kristoff’s June 14, 2009 New York Times column)
This year marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s start of the war on drugs, and it now appears that drugs have won.
"We’ve spent a trillion dollars prosecuting the war on drugs," Norm Stamper, a former police chief of Seattle, told me. "What do we have to show for it? Drugs are more readily available, at lower prices and higher levels of potency. It’s a dismal failure." For that reason, he favors legalization of drugs, perhaps by the equivalent of state liquor stores or registered pharmacists. Other experts favor keeping drug production and sales illegal but decriminalizing possession, as some foreign countries have done.
Here in the United States, four decades of drug war have had three consequences…
To continue reading, please click here.
LEAP speaker Norm Stamper has also been featured prominently in the Washington Post, The Nation, and the Associated Press in recent weeks.
LEAP on the Road: The THC Expo- Los Angeles, CA
The Marijuana Industry on Display
The THC Expo was a high energy event, full of interesting people. Brian Roberts and Todd McCormick, the event organizers, brought together the international marijuana industry for a full weekend at the LA Convention Center June 12 and 13. The THC Expo was a marijuana merchandising event with people and businesses from across the continent as well as from overseas. There were hemp traders and artists, educators and innovators, patients and politicians. There were growers, patient unions, compassionate care givers, merchants, activists, and cops. There were the famous and the infamous…
A Drug War Truce? (Jack Cole and Judge Jim Gray were quoted in the June 25, 2009 issue of Rolling Stone)
Legalization is also backed by a growing number of veteran drug warriors. "The War on Drugs is a constantly expanding and self-perpetuating policy disaster," says Jack Cole, a former undercover narcotics agent who now serves as president of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which includes hundreds of former drug agents, police officers and judges. "If all drugs were legal and regulated we could have exactly the same demand for drugs in the U.S., but there wouldn’t be any killings. Mexico’s 7,500 deaths since the beginning of last year – all those murders just wouldn’t exist."
Read more here.
Prescription Drugs Are Legal, But Are Still Trafficked on the Street. How Would Legalizing Drugs Fix That?
There is no perfect system to control access to drugs; but, there are systems that are clearly and demonstrably worse, with highly destructive impacts on society. There are no benefits associated with the war on drugs, only costs (see Arthur Benavie’s new book Drugs: America’s Holy War for an economic and social analysis of the impacts). By any measure, prohibition is an ineffective, counterproductive and highly destructive policy.
There will always be a small segment of the population who circumvent any regulatory system. This happens to some degree with alcohol and tobacco products. However, because these substances are legally accessible, very few users are willing to take risks associated with using illegal purchased products (trafficking, adulteration, criminal networks, etc.). This may change for tobacco if prices continue to escalate sharply and create conditions that open space for a black market in lower priced tobacco.
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Despite marginal leakages in any regulatory system, there is far more control and far fewer adverse impacts associated with mechanisms that allow regulated legal access than under prohibition.
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Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is an ever-expanding group of criminal justice professionals and civilian supporters calling for an end to the war on drugs. Trained criminal justice professionals are available to speak to your club or association about their experiences in the drug war and the need to create drug policies that stand the test of reason. Invite a speaker to your town today.
You received this e-mail because you are a supporter of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. We need help growing our all-encompassing movement of citizens who want to end the failed "war on drugs," so please invite your family and friends to learn about LEAP.
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