with Just Cause
Here's a real
cowboy hero, riding for freedom to save justice in America. Howard Wooldridge,
from Ft. Worth originally, road his horses across the US. It took them three
years to cross the county as a promotional event for
He has received an award from the Long Rider's Assoc. for his effort. He
shares McCool's Rebel with Just Cause
Award for 2006 with Cindy Sheehan. This award honors true patriots,
those who stood for freedom and those still standing.
in Saddle, Preaching Drug Legalization
By COREY KILGANNON
Published: October 5, 2005 NYTimes
retired police officer warns, .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . "Drug prohibition causes more pain,
suffering and death than the drugs themselves." Seeing
the need to restore Justice, COP
was founded to provide YOUR VOICE
working daily in Washington, DC to repeal all drug prohibitions.
Howard received, "Misty at
Liberty" he said to McCool, "I am deeply touched. I look forward
to looking at it everyday. You captured the essence of the ride."
Voice in the United States Congress
from September 6th - November 1st, 2013
The enormity of AG Holders
decision, to respect
the 10th Amendment (States Rights) regarding Colorado and Washington
to regulate, sell and tax marijuana continues to roil, unsettle and stir up
DC. So many questions have been generated. Senator Leahy is going forward
with his hearing next Tuesday and some answers may be forth coming from the
US Justice Dept. Stay tuned.
Probably the hat:
At the Leadership Institutes (training ground for young conservatives)
monthly breakfast with about 70 attending, the reporter from the Washington
Times sat down across from me. We had a good chat on the topic and exchanged
Just shoot me now: I
met with a Senate office this week and the aide said one thing that was so
disheartening. I get most of my information from the DEA and what they
tell me is a lot different from what you just said. YIKES! Truly I am
a Lone Ranger + two.
The aide accepted that the
DEA is fighting for its very existence, paychecks, etc. and that reality might
alter what they tell Congressional offices. That COP does not ask for an appropriation/$$$
is still a powerful message in this town.
coming to more states;
article is a roadmap to where/when.
Several of you miss-read my Dear Boys and Girls part last week.
I am NOT returning to Texas anytime soon. My mission is still active and we
need to pass the repeal bill. Then I would consider leaving. Know I will work
at this drug prohibition (all of them) until they are in the history books
or I draw my last breath. (Continue)
ON THE HILL
justice in America; construct science based drug policies about saving and rehabilitating
instead of ruining lives. Support for the federal war on drugs is inconsistent
with support for individual freedom, constitutional government and the
teachings of Jesus.
James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution
of the United States, said this: "We have staked the whole future of
all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to
govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments."
"In the end, however, no constitution can be self enforcing....For the
Constitution will live only if it is alive in the hearts and minds of the
American people." Roger Pilon, senior fellow and director of CATO's Center
for Constitutional Studies.
The Cato Institute offers copies of its
popular Constitution booklet. Phone Order: 1-800-767-1241
SWISS HEROIN-ASSISTED TREATMENT 1994-
Overview: Due to the severe drug problem in
Switzerland in the early 1990s, (rising number of injection drug users, visibility
of open drug scenes, AIDS epidemic, rising number of drug related deaths,
poor physical health, high criminality) the Swiss made a fundamental shift
in approaching the problems caused by heroin addiction. The Swiss offer treatment-on-demand.
Of an estimated 22,000 addicts, 16,500 are in treatment and 92% are given
daily doses of methadone at conventional clinics. The Swiss treat about 1300
addicts with maintenance doses of heroin via 23 special clinics operating
in cities and two prisons. The Swiss approach has resulted in lower rates
of crime, death, disease, a drop in expected new users as well as an improvement
in mental and physical health, employment and housing. The program has been
copied by six countries: Germany, Holland, Belgium, England, Spain and Canada.
* To qualify for a heroin prescription: 1)
at least 18 years old; 2) been addicted (daily use) for at least two years;
3) present signs of poor health; 4) two or more failed attempts of conventional
treatment (methadone or other); 5) (Continue below)
those who serve in the War on Drugs
the Trenches to the Benches, Criminal Justice Professionals call for an end
(SWISS HEROIN-ASSISTED TREATMENT
Surrender drivers license; 6) Heroin can only
be obtained at the clinic and must be consumed on site (oral or injection).
(Note: Under strict control and specific criteria [for example full employment]
a few are allowed to take one oral dose daily away)
Patients can receive up to three doses of
heroin per day. 60% take the heroin via needle injection, the rest via pill.
The use of the oral pill is increasing.
Patients average about three (3) years in this plan. However, they may stay
in treatment indefinitely. 20% of original patients are still in the program.
The vast majority of patients are satisfied or very satisfied with the program.
Average age of patient: 38 years.
*Crime Issues: 60% drop in felony crimes by
patients. 82% drop in patients selling heroin.
*Death Rates: No one has died from a heroin
overdose since the inception of the program. The heroin used is inspected
for purity and strength by technicians.
*Disease Rates: New infections of Hepatitis
and HIV have been reduced for patients in the program.
*New Use Rates: Lower than expected. 1) As
reported in the Lancet June 3, 2006, the medicalisation of using heroin has
tarnished the image of heroin and made it unattractive to young people. 2)
Most new users are introduced to heroin by members of their social group and
50% of users also deal to support their habit. Therefore, with so many users/sellers
in treatment, non-users have fewer opportunities to be exposed to heroin,
especially in the rural areas.
*Cost Issues: 48 dollars/day: Patients pay
from zero to 12 per day depending on their ability. Note: About 30% of patients
work for a living and pay part of the costs. Note: The Swiss save about 30
dollars per day per patient mostly in lowered costs for court and police time,
due to less crime committed by the patients.
** This summary was taken from five published
reports. The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health reviewed and approved its
release. Additional questions should be directed to Dr. Dora Fitzli, the science
and health advisor to the Swiss Ambassador at the Embassy. Her English is
near native fluency. Tel: 202-745-7954
NOTE: This summary was researched and written
by Howard J. Wooldridge
Who Supports the Drug War?
Ossama Bin Laden, President George Bush, The
Ochoa Brothers, Congressman Mark Souder, Mexican Drug Cartels, DEA, FARC,
National Association of Narcotics Officers, Canadian Cannabis Growers Association,
Pharmaceutical Industry, Al Qaeda, Private Prison Association, Meth Makers
of Mexico Association, John Walters (USAs Drug Czar), MS-13 drug gang,
California Narcotic Officers Association, Crips & Bloods, Deputy
Chief Thomas Gorman of California, Pablo Escobars Amigos, Congressman
Duncan Hunter, Columbian Coca Growers Association, Senator John McCain et
al, Fundamentalist Christian Association, The Washington Post, The New York
Times, Newsweek, Time
See a pattern here? Ever wondered why it has
been so difficult to make even small changes in our policy of prohibition
AKA War on People? The 10 major organizations which are trying to end the
New Prohibition have a total budget of about 25 million dollars. The drug
companies which fear Gods medicine, AKA marijuana, put that much in
the freezers of politicians to stifle competition. Does Al Qaeda contribute
to the Republican Party? If opposition to the Drug War continues to grow,
Al Qaeda would be advised to funnel cash to prohibition politicians. Prohibition
puts 3 billion in OBLs hands every year. Putting 100,000 into a freezer
is chump change compared to losing billions.
The California Narcotic Officers Association
fears the loss of their paychecks, knowing that the sensible People of California
would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana the day after the feds end the
National Prohibition. Even if they did not lose their paychecks, they would
be reassigned to go after drunk drivers, child predators and other public
safety threats. That type of work is boring compared to kicking in a few doors
a week, waving their guns around and arresting people. Heaven forbid they
would have to take a stolen bicycle report!
MS-13 gang makes billions selling illegal
drugs in the USA. They would not be happy to see the end of Prohibition. They
would have to go back to landscape jobs! President Bush supports the Drug
War to keep his Pharma Industry lobbyists happy. He views the weekly deaths
of young teens who die selling these drugs on the sidewalk as Gods
Will. So no problem there. Mexican drug cartels enjoy the finest tequila
and tacos in Mexico on the money they are making. As a bonus, their narco-dollars
buy them influence at the Presidential Palace in Mexico City. The private
prisons in the USA lobby for more mandatory drug sentences in order to keep
their cash flow coming. The Meth Makers of Mexico make billions exporting
their product into the US and Canada.
Congressman Mark Souder supports the Drug
War because he uses it to get re-elected. I am getting tough on drugs!
He has convinced the voters in Indiana that the 2nd trillion dollars spent
on this policy will result in drugs being slightly less available to their
kids. Ditto Congressman Duncan Hunter who has convinced his California constituents
of the same thing. Our Drug Czar John Walters simply likes his government
job with all the perks of flying around the world saying how much progress
was made this year. He reminds me of General Westmoreland during the Vietnam
War and body counts.
The growers of BC Bud are making billions
exporting to the US the most potent pot on the continent. That industry now
employs more people in British Colombia than mining or forestry. The Crips
and Bloods make billions as a vertical monopoly buying in bulk and employing
their members for the retail sales. Experts say that the economy of several
large cities would collapse without the cash that the dealers generate for
their home neighborhoods. FARC (guerrillas of Colombia) have been making billions
protecting the Coca Growers of Colombia Association. FARC uses their profits
to wage war on the Bogotá government.
Fundamentalist Christians are adamant that
God believes the Drug War is just and righteous and that Jesus would also
support it. Right. Jesus would put a cocaine user in the hell hole of a Texas
prison for two years. NOT. But it is immoral to use these drugs
they say with indignation. When confronted with the fact that young teens
die every week because the policy employs a million teens, they usually blame
the parents for the deaths, not their support for the policy. Native Americans
have used mind-altering substances for centuries. Is the Christian religion
superior to their beliefs to the point that Indians should go to jail? NOT!
The Washington Post, the New York Times, Newsweek,
Time and US News & World Report all support prohibition. Could it be they
do not want to upset the drug makers who take out 3-4 full page ads for their
drugs? Money talks.
As you can see, the supporters of Prohibition
Two are numerous and well-funded. Nonetheless, I will use my one-eyed horse
Misty and my Stetson to promote the end of the most dysfunctional, immoral
policy since slavery until it is in the history books, or I draw my last breath.
written by Howard
Representative Barney Frank has reintroduced a bipartisan federal bill
to legalize "small amounts" of marijuana (cannabis) and make room
for serious criminals. Representative Ron Paul is a cosponsor. This Texas
straight talker says we are "politicizing
pain." "The Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults
Act of 2009"- H.R.
Patient Protection Act- H.R.
2835 which would allow the medical use of marijuana in states that
have chosen to make its use for medical purposes legal with a doctor's recommendation.
The debate over medical marijuana or cannabis is really a scandalous
controversy over whether this very safe, effective, easy-to-grow herb should
be allowed to compete
with expensive dangerous pharmaceuticals
the sick and dying is an un-American activity.
jury took just 11 minutes to acquit Tim Stevens, 53,.who uses medical marijuana
to treat the symptoms of HIV.
Art - Paintings and Sketches
upon a time you or someone you love was a shining star! Commission
a painting or sketch to commemorate that occasion! You can rest assured, it
will not be forgotten! "
We are witnessing a truly pivotal moment in
drug policy reform. In just a few short weeks, California voters will have
the opportunity to vote for Proposition 19: The Regulate, Tax and Control
Cannabis Act of 2010. Prop 19 will put police priorities back where they belong
by allowing law enforcers to do their jobs more effectively, ending the arrest
of nonviolent marijuana users and making the streets safer for everyone. Whether
you are a resident of California or not, Prop 19 affects all of us. The passage
of this initiative would be a major victory for the drug policy movement and
will impact every state, laying the groundwork for future reform and serving
as a model for legalized regulation.
LEAPs speakers, particularly those based
in California, have been hard at work to support Prop 19. On September 13,
held a press conference, which received significant media coverage, to
announce our endorsement of the initiative. Since then, our speakers have
been in high demand in the national and local California press to discuss
Prop 19 from a law enforcement perspective. LEAP has also partnered with the
Just Say Now campaign calling on President (Continue)
To make a contribution to LEAP,
please click here. Read on for more about what our speakers have been
doing in support of Proposition 19
Please view The
New Slaverya video
LEAP Administrative Director Bill Fried which
makes a dramatic link between
slavery and the war on drugs. The video is
featured on our website
and on You
Kyle Kazan and Judge Jim Gray on CNN
Retired Maryland State Police
Major and executive director of LEAP Neill Franklin, former Torrance, CA police
officer Kyle Kazan, and retired Orange County Superior Court Judge James Gray
on CNN to discuss the urgent need for legalization and regulation.
and Norm Stamper on CBS Evening News and Fox News Channel
Former San Jose, California Police Chief
Joseph McNamara and former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper who spent
28 years of his law enforcement career with the San Diego Police Department
appeared on CBS Evening News in support of Proposition 19.
Chief McNamara also
appeared on Fox News Channels Fox and Friends to talk about why
its time to legalize marijuana.
Stephen Downing on MSNBC
Retired Los Angeles Police Department Deputy
Chief Stephen Downing presents the case for legalization on MSNBC.please
LEAP in the News in California
Retired Our speakers have been making waves
in the local California media, and as election day approaches, LEAP's visibility
continues to increase. Among the many news features on LEAP were Leo Laurence,
a former deputy sheriff, recently featured
on NBC News 11 as he spoke to students at Imperial Valley College in Imperial,
CA, and former Sutter County, CA deputy sheriff Nate Bradley appearing
on CBS 5 News.
To view more videos featuring LEAP speakers,
please visit our YouTube channel at
host Drug Sense
E-mail us at email@example.com
LEAP is a nonprofit educational organization
with Tax Exempt Status under United States tax code 501(c)3, Federal EIN:
from the Front-line Continues
ON THE HILL
A friend of yours & a friend of mine:
Ben Droz, lobbyist for www.votehemp.com
put together a briefing on industrial hemp for House staffers this week. A
packed room heard support from Congressmen Massie (R-KY) and Polis (D-CO)
extol the virtues of industrial hemp. Of note, KY Ag commissioner stated that
due to the Holder memo of August 29, farmers in Kentucky WILL be putting seed
in the ground next spring. KY is one of three states that have in place the
rules/regs for growing hemp.
After the meeting I had an excellent six minute
chat with Congressman Massie, giving him & Ag Comm. James Comer the full
COP rationale of ending fed, MJ prohibition and why legalize/regulate/tax
the entire green plant. Such opportunities are rare. Thanks Ben for the invite.
Senator Leahys hearing on marijuana
was a snoozer: = Perfect. It was
a whos who of the drug reform/marijuana reform movement on hand Tuesday
for the first ever Senate hearing on marijuana prohibition. Essentially the
Dept. of Justice did not back down an inch from the Holder memo of two weeks
ago. The sheriff of King County (Seattle, WA) testified like a LEAP speaker,
not just defending the voters decision but actually promoting legalize/regulate/tax
marijuana. It was a wonderful moment in my eight years on the Hill.
Due to the Holder amendment, I am doing a thorough, top to bottom, critical
analysis of how COP should proceed in this new environment. I am speaking
to staffers I trust, mentors, drug reform experts, etc. As part of that, I
analyzed where the legislative aides are on the issue. In particular one Democratic,
Ohio office went from an aide who believed in prohibition (she left) to one
who will help pass HR 1523. In the entire House I can count on two hands how
many aides are believers in MJ prohibition. I wish I had kept my first spreadsheets
from 06, 07 to see concretely the difference.
Hell froze over this week:
Senator John McCain said the time may have come to legalize marijuana. I
will respect the will of the people. Recall his former aide (and probably
the Senator) thought the solution was to kill any and all who sell drugs.
Very first day with signs in San Jose, CA
Leaving home: note new signs on back of pick
Leaving Maryland: the trailer generated a
solid 100 honks and thumbs up across America
Restore Sanity Rally
Karen and I got away for a week to Puerto
The Insanity of Marijuana
Prohibition in one foto!
ON THE HILL
See it in their eyes: I
spent two long days attending the annual Congressional Black Caucus Leadership
Conference (5,000 or so attending). For the first time I had zero push back
on the shirt/message. I also modified my answer to start with: To eliminate
the job option of selling marijuana which causes teens to be shot on a regular
basis. Then I finished with: Catch more pedophiles and others hurting
On a number of persons who heard that, you
could see in their faces a wince, a personal connection to a teen being shot/shot
dead. And still the leadership at the conference had no sessions on the War
on Drugs/Drug Prohibition (as a policy), even as EVERYONE recognized the harms
done to people of color. See me shaking my head.
PS.. I asked several and they all had the
same answer. It is redundant and unnecessary to point out the horrific racism
of drug policy to a person of color.
? Can I take some credit? This
week Republican, freshman Congressman Steve Stockman became a co-sponsor of
HR 1523 the repeal federal prohibition of marijuana act. When I met
with that offices legislative assistant back in January, his boss (legislative
director) and another LA sat in on the 30 minute meeting. During August recess
I emailed the LD to remind him of our chat and HR 1523. A week after the return
of the Member, they are now on the bill. Either way
you sent your Congressman a letter in support of HR 1523?
Few dare tell the truth about
Salt Lake City Tribune editorial for May 13
"You ask any DEA man, hell say,
Theres nothing we can do." Glenn Frey, "Smugglers
Imagine a world where doctors were the only
people who were not allowed to offer their opinions on medicine. Or where
what farmers thought about agriculture was left unsaid for fear of public
That, more or less, is the situation for law
enforcement officers when it comes to any real conversation about how the
United States deals with the problems associated with drug abuse. The ones
who know from personal, and sometimes heart-breaking, experience just how
futile the whole sad enterprise is are the ones who dare not speak out for
fear of being seen as soft on crime.
There are, luckily, exceptions. One of them
rode through Salt Lake City the other day, on his bicycle and on a lonely
mission to show the American people just how wrong we are to continue to insist
on taking a law enforcement hammer to a public health nail.
Howard Wooldridge is a retired Michigan police
officer and a co-founder of the national organization Law Enforcement Against
As he explained to The Salt Lake Tribune the other day and to many
others along his ride from Oregon to Georgia the problems we associate
with drug use are not caused by users.
They are caused by the laws, law enforcement
officers, judges and, mostly, craven politicians who dare not see or tell
the truth about how the ongoing prohibition of drugs is nearly as destructive
and just as futile as was the prohibition of alcohol early in the last century.
LEAP favors the legalization, regulation and
taxation of now-illegal drugs, along the same model as alcohol and tobacco.
That may be too drastic for our culture to embrace all in one go. But even
moving toward a decriminalization approach, which stresses education and treatment
over arrest and incarceration, would be a huge improvement.
Alcohol and tobacco, of course,
create a long list of serious social and health problems. But heavily armed
drug lords and the destruction of civil society in parts of Mexico, clogged
courts and packed prisons in the United States and street violence of the
kind that claimed the life of an Ogden police officer only a few months ago
are not among them..
If we took the undeniably huge
problem of drug abuse away from the police and gave it to the doctors, where
it by all logic and humanity belongs, we could save billions in law enforcement
costs, spend millions on treatment, and take a huge step toward real national
ON THE HILL
Hat trick: Besides
5 regular presentations on Thursday, I bumped into three Congressman for short
chats. I simply mentioned how the Holder decision for CO and WA had made my
job/life a bit easier.
I reported many years ago (yikes!!), I have my hair cut in the House Barber
Shop. Joe has been cutting hair there since the 60s. On the walls of the shop
hang the fotos of about 35 famous Congressmen thru the ages whose hair he
cut. He asked for my foto which now hangs in a prominent spot on his wall.
He insisted the horse be included, naturally.
Adjust the sails: After
discussing this with a lot of smart folks, I have made the following changes
in how I approach Congress: A. for the rest of this session I will focus almost
exclusively on Republican offices. As Dan Riffle (MPP.org) said, we need more
Rs on the Rohrabacher bill to balance out the Dems. Besides the general R
offices, I will make sure every Judiciary Member has been educated to the
BTW, if you have not emailed your Congressman
to support HR 1523
pls. do so ASAP.
Senate candidate whispered:
At Grovers was a person seeking the R party nomination for US Senate
we had a brief chat. I agree was the response to ending
federal drug prohibition. Small steps.
Spreading the message: Congresswoman
Duckworth in her wheel chair (war vet w/o legs) paused after she paid for
lunch to read my COP jacket which was hung over a chair for all to read. She
nodded and kept going.
Worth 3 minutes: Why
are so many violent criminals going free?
One R office sent a letter explaining why
he could not meet this week. Shut down related. NOTE: almost all offices stayed
open and staff was working.
Solid week on the Hill w/ a total of 15 presentations.
Missed the shuttle, missed the first bus
= Perfect timing: Most of this week
was spent in Denver for the bi-annual DPA (Drug Policy Alliance) conference.
The Ramada Inn was 40% of the price of the venue hotel, so you know where
Arriving almost late, I was reviewing some
literature at a table, when the gentleman asked if I would mind being interviewed.
He was from Canada NPR Quebec
Naturellement we spoke français
the next 10 minutes.. All those hours on Saturday I spend at a café
chatting in French with others paid off again. 7 hours later the French reporter
for Le Monde and I did a 40 minute interview.
Since Colorado has legal marijuana, I exited
the plane with my all drugs shirt on (see below)
wearing it for the first
time in four (4) years. It felt really good, knowing that the effort that
Misty and I made last fall bore real fruit. The conference was great for networking,
chatting with many about current and future strategies at the local, state
and national levels.
have finished my review of COP strategies in light of the August 2013 decision
by AG Holder. Near unanimous opinion of my peers in DC that I should make
no changes for at least a year. And so it will be.
New Strategy: I
have presented to all but 100 offices in the House and 32 in the Senate. The
holdouts refuse to acknowledge my email and phone requests for a meeting.
This translates to me walking into those offices and asking for an impromptu
meeting. This method has a rate of return of about 5% = Yuk. If you have ever
been in sales, you know what I am talking about.
So, for the next two months I am contacting
the Health legislative assistant of the hold out offices to make
a presentation. I will emphasize two points to reduce death, disease, crime
and drug use via making drugs a medical issue: 1) The Good Samaritan (drug
overdose) Law. 2) The Swiss Heroin Assisted Treatment Program
I have my first health presentation this coming week.
At a minimum I inform the offices of the existence of two groups of law enforcement
professionals (COP & LEAP) who oppose current policy which is a major
component of each chat.
Insider View: The legislative director of
Congressman Rohrabacher shared his offices Dear Colleague Letter
regarding their signature bill: HR 1523 (repeal federal, marijuana prohibition
bill) See below.
Not routine: Grover Norquist requested &
I presented to his group this week. I gave them the latest info in general
and Colorado stores in particular. It is always a hoot to stand up in front
of the 150 attendees and inform them of our march to repeal.
COP stats since
inception: August 2009
46 chats with other elected
officials, state reps, senators, VIPs, etc. 00 this week
35 Radio Interviews.. 00 this week (NPR Canada)
23 published interviews in major (daily)newspapers or magazine
64 interviews and reports in minor media = blogs, cable TV, weekly papers,
etc.. 00 this week
46 brief chats with Members of Congress.. 00 this week
16 major conferences attended.. this week (CPAC, LULAC, NRA, CBC, ASA, DPA,
Dem & Repub. Presidential conventions. etc) this week
34 Appearances on major TV networks..this week(Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision)
72 published letters to the editor (value per MAPINC in free publicity: $70,000)
2 editorials in daily papers mentioning Howards efforts & in support
of COP position
Permanent invitation to Grover Norquists Wednesday brunch attended by
150 conservative leaders. Named the Grand Central Station of the Conservative
being a member of COP at $30.00 or more per year. All contributions
are tax-deductible. Law Enforcements voice in opposition to current
policy is vital on the Hill to achieve a repeal of federal prohibition. COP
provides that voice. If you agree that Modern Prohibition/War on Drugs is
the most destructive, dysfunctional and immoral policy since slavery &
Jim Crow and want to be a part of the solution
and click on Donate/Join by credit card or send a check to:
Citizens Opposing Prohibition POB 543 Buckeystown, MD 21717
If you have questions or comments, please
send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
is a summary of the Holder memo!
industry eager to pay taxes and cash in on deductions
"As Congress wrestles with big budget
cuts, marijuana businesses want to help out the federal government with a
novel message: Tax us, please. Pot advocates say legalizing the drug and taxing
it like alcohol would add billions to the federal treasury, McClatchy Newspapers
report. Some analysts dismiss a pot tax bonanza as far-fetched. Still, the
idea is stirring serious debate on Capitol Hill.
The Senate Finance Committee included marijuana
taxes in an options paper on possible new revenue sources. In the House, one
proposal would legalize pot, tax it, and regulate it nationally. The less
ambitious Small Business Tax Equity Act would allow the Internal Revenue Service
to give breaks on federal income taxes for marijuana businesses. Noting that
pot remains a banned substance, Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron said, "If
they dont like the fact that they cant take certain tax deductions
because theyre in an illegal business, then they should go in some other
business where they can take tax deductions."
The United Nations NGO Conference
- Rod Skager_________LEAP - Jack Cole
to join the debate about legalizing and regulating marijuana. To make your voice
heard, please sign
the petition here.
As Election Day draws closer, Proposition
19 has a majority of support in the polls, but the vote will be close. If
you are a resident of California, please VOTE, and remind everyone you know
to vote. Today, October 18, is the deadline for voter registration in California.
LEAP is at the forefront of drug policy reform,
and our speakers have a credibility that cannot be ignored. Your genorosity
sustains our work.
first-ever billboard, unveiled on July 15, 2008 in Omaha, Nebraska
To view Jack Coles blog on the United
Nations Conference in its entirety, including photos from the conference,
from the Front line....
By Kathleen Parker
Friday, February 13, 2009
Drink and drive and it's grrrrrrrr-eat! Smoke
pot and your flakes are frosted, dude. So seems the message from Kellogg's,
which has decided not to renew its sponsorship contract with Michael Phelps
after the Olympian was photographed smoking marijuana at a party in South
That's showbiz, of course, but the cereal
and munchie company had no problem signing Phelps despite an alcohol-related
arrest. In 2004, Phelps was fined and sentenced to 18 months probation and
community service after pleading guilty to driving while impaired. The silliness
of our laws -- and the hypocrisy of our selective attitudes toward mood enhancers
-- needs no further elaboration. Even so, things are getting sillier by the
Sheriff Leon Lott in South Carolina's Richland
County has now made eight pot-related arrests based on the snap that shot
around the world. Seven were for possession and one for distribution, after
deputies used warrants to enter the house where Phelps allegedly was photographed.
Phelps may be next.
In an earlier column, I gave Lott the benefit
of the doubt, suggesting that his hands were tied given the laws of the land
and South Carolina's political climate. I retract the benefit.
Sheriffs, though elected and therefore political,
have great latitude as to what crimes they pursue. In a state that recently
ranked among the most dangerous in the nation, one would think South Carolina's
law enforcement officials have better things to do.
Indeed, they do. In our peculiar obsession
to track down the Willie Nelsons, the Rush Limbaughs and now the Michael Phelpses
of society -- nonviolent, victimless imbibers of drugs -- we've actually made
society less safe. That's the conclusion of 10,000 cops, prosecutors, judges
and others who make up the membership of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
Howard Wooldridge, LEAP's Washington representative,
is a former cop and detective who lectures civic clubs and congressional staffers
on the futility of drug laws that reduce public safety by wasting time and
money. He points to child pornography as just one example.
As of last April, he says, law enforcement
had identified 623,000 computers containing child pornography, including downloadable
video of child rape. Only a fraction of those have been pursued with search
warrants, thanks to limited resources and staff shortages. What's worse, Wooldridge
says, is that three times out of five a search warrant also produces a child
victim on the premises.
Another example: Last year, Human Rights Watch
reported that as many as 400,000 rape kits containing evidence were sitting
unopened in criminal labs and storage facilities. Between the Los Angeles
Police Department and the L.A. County sheriff's office, nearly 12,000 kits
were unopened, according to an NPR report in December.
Arguments against prohibition should be obvious.
When you eliminate the victimless "crime" of drug use, you disempower
the criminal element. Neutering drug gangs and cartels, not to mention the
Taliban, would be no small byproduct of decriminalization. Not only would
state regulation minimize toxic concoctions common on the black market, but
also taxation would be a windfall in a hurting economy.
No one's saying that drugs aren't dangerous.
Alcohol and tobacco are also dangerous.
And no one thinks children should have access
to harmful substances, though they already do. Parents who recoil because
their child became an addict should note that prohibition didn't help.
What prohibition did was criminalize what
is essentially a health problem -- and overcrowd prisons. In 2007, there were
872,720 marijuana arrests in the United States. Of those, 775,137 were for
possession. South Carolina just added eight to this year's roster.
The greatest obstacle to drug law reform is
public fear and politics, says Wooldridge, as he set off to give eight presentations
on Capitol Hill yesterday. "I've had staffers tell me that to even call
a hearing will get you un-elected."
Which, perhaps, explains why Sen. Jim Webb
(D-Va.) -- the only member of Congress to even approach the subject recently
-- has tackled the drug problem through the issue of prison overcrowding.
Webb has held two hearings before the Joint Economic Committee on U.S. drug
policy and incarceration costs. This year, he has promised to push for a blue-ribbon
commission to study why the United States has more people in jail than any
other country. The answer -- and the solution -- seems clear.
I'm not convinced that all drugs should be
legalized, but we should at least put prohibition on the table to take another
look. In the meantime, Sheriff Lott has some 'splainin' do to.
Voice in the United States Congress
Bonnie Colleen McCool ©