C . A . G . E .
Citizens Against Government Encroachment -- Citoyens Anti Gouvernement Envahissant





On one hand, addictive drugs have caused the ruin of countless lives in North America. The pain is not limited to those who have allowed their lives to spiral into the abyss of drug addiction, but rather is shared by the family, friends and loved ones who lives are also affected. It is hard to counter the popular contention that drug abuse is an area in which their should be government intervention.

On the other hand, the freedom to choose one’s own destiny is an important aspect of our personal freedoms. Any government laws or interventions that in any way limit these freedoms must be justified by the highest test of minimizing the encroachment and maximizing the benefit. It appears that government laws of prohibition are as disastrous a failure with respect to drugs as they were with alcohol.

For an excellent economic analysis, we would refer you to the case study (étude de cas) on our French site. For our English readers, we are proud to announce that C.A.G.E. has decided to support LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. The U.S.-based LEAP consists of a large and dedicated group of active and retired police officers who have extensive experience in fighting the war on narcotics, and who are committed to repealing the states laws of prohibition.

About LEAP

After nearly four decades of fueling the U.S. policy of a war on drugs with over a trillion tax dollars and increasingly punitive policies, our confined population has quadrupled over a 20 years period making building prisons this nation's fastest growing industry. More than 2.2 million of our citizens are currently incarcerated and in the last five years we have arrested 9 million people for nonviolent drug offenses-far more per capita than any country in the world. The United States has 4.6 percent of the population of the world but 22.5 percent of the world's prisoners. Every year we choose to continue this war will cost the United States another 69 billion dollars. But despite all the lives we have destroyed and all the money so ill spent, today illicit drugs are cheaper, more potent, and much easier to get than they were 36 years ago at the beginning of the war on drugs. Meanwhile, people continue dying in our streets while drug barons and terrorists continue to grow richer than ever before. We would suggest that this scenario must be the very definition of a failed public policy. This madness must cease!

The stated U.S. drug policy goals of lessening the incidents of crime, drug addiction, and juvenile drug use, while stemming the flow of illegal drugs into this country, have not been achieved. This failed policy of fighting a war on drugs has only magnified our problems but the U.S. still insists on continuing the war and pressuring other governments to perpetuate these same unworkable policies.

With this in mind, current and former members of law enforcement have created a drug-policy-reform group called LEAP. The membership of LEAP believe that to save lives and lower the rates of disease, crime and addiction, as well as to conserve tax dollars, we must end drug prohibition. LEAP believes a system of regulation and control is far more effective than one of prohibition.

The mission of LEAP is to reduce the multitude of harms resulting from fighting the war on drugs and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ultimately ending drug prohibition.

LEAP's goals are: (1) To educate the public, the media, and policy makers, to the failure of current drug policy by presenting a true picture of the history, causes and effects of drug use and the elevated crime rates-more properly related to drug prohibition than to drug pharmacology-and (2) To restore the public's respect for police, which has been greatly diminished by law enforcement's involvement in imposing drug prohibition.

LEAP's main strategy for accomplishing these goals is to create a constantly enlarging speakers bureau staffed with knowledgeable and articulate former drug-warriors who describe the impact of current drug policies on: police/community relations; the safety of law enforcement officers and suspects; police corruption and misconduct; and the excessive financial and human costs associated with current drug policies.

LEAP is a tax exempt, international, nonprofit, educational entity based in the United States that was modeled after "Vietnam Veterans Against the War." They had an unassailable credibility when speaking out to end that terrible war and LEAP has the same credibility when its current and former drug-warriors speak out about the horrors of the war on drugs. LEAP's message both catches the attention of the media and rings true to many other drug warriors who are questioning current U.S. drug policies.

LEAP's Board of Directors is made up of Jack Cole, who retired as a lieutenant after 26 years in the New Jersey state police-14 years in their narcotic bureau; Jerry Cameron, a retired Chief of two Florida towns; Peter Christ a retired police captain from Tonawanda, New York; Edward Ellison, a retired detective chief superintendent in the London Metropolitan Police Department in England, who was the operational head of drug task forces for Scotland Yard; John Gayder a currently serving police officer with a department in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada; Eleanor Schockett, a retired Florida Circuit Court Judge; and Howard Wooldridge a former police detective from a department in Michigan.

The LEAP Advisory Board is composed of the esteemed and respected, current and former members of law enforcement listed on the LEAP masthead.

Membership in LEAP is open to anyone who has been formally trained in methods of law enforcement, crime prevention or detection, and given the authority to maintain the peace, safety, and order of the community by any national, state, or local government agency (this includes but is not limited to local, state, and federal police, prosecutors, and judges, as well as corrections, probation, and parole officers).

In addition, the category, "Friends of LEAP," was created for those who have never been part of law enforcement but who wish to support our work of ending prohibition. However, only current and former members of law enforcement can be speakers for LEAP.

In three years we went from five founders to a membership of over 3,500. We are no longer just police. Now LEAP is made up of police, parole, probation and corrections officers, judges, and prosecutors. We even have prison wardens, former FBI and and DEA agents who are part of the 95 speakers in our bureau. LEAP has members and supporters across the United States and in forty-nine other countries, which is fitting since U.S. drug policy has ramifications that affect the entire world. All LEAP speakers are former drug-warriors.

LEAP presents to civic, professional, educational, and religious organizations, as well as at public forums but we target civic groups; Chambers of Commerce, Rotaries, Lions and Kiwanis Clubs, etc. The people in these organizations are conservative folks who mostly agree with the drug-warriors that we must continue the war on drugs at any cost. They are also very solid members of their communities; people who belong to civic organizations because they want the best for their locales. Every one of them will be voting in every election. Many are policy-makers and if they are not, they are the people who can pull the coat tails of policy-makers and say, "We have someone you must hear talk about drug policy."

After making more than twelve hundred presentations where LEAP calls for the government to "end prohibition and legalize all drugs-legalize them so we can control and regulate them and keep them out of the hands of our children," we have discovered that the vast majority of participants in those audiences agree with us. Even more amazing is that we are now attending national and international law-enforcement conventions where we keep track of all those we speak with at our exhibit booth; After we talk with them, only 6% want to continue the war on drugs, 14% are undecided, and an astounding 80% agree with LEAP that we must end drug prohibition. The most interesting thing about this statistic is that only a small number of that 80% realized any others in law enforcement felt the same.

LEAP's immediate goal is to achieve a large membership of law enforcement officials representing all of the many countries detrimentally affected by current drug policies. The impact on the media and policymakers will be enormous when thousands of members of law enforcement band together to demand an end to drug prohibition.

At LEAP, we understand that advocating changes to current drug laws may expose members of law enforcement to social discomfort from your peers and possibly discipline or other censure from your employer. When you choose to support LEAP, you must also decide if you want others to know about your support. If you wish to remain an anonymous supporter of LEAP, rest assured that we will never "out" you to your employer or anybody else. We will never make your name and address available to any advertiser or other organization. We employ strict measures to ensure your support of LEAP remains confidential.

On the other hand, if you wish to participate actively and publicly in drug policy reform, we are in need of people around the globe who will spread our message and help recruit more members. If you choose to be a LEAP local representative your name and contact information will appear on our website and publications. There is strength in numbers and by publicly declaring your advocacy for using common sense in formulating drug policy you will encourage others to do the same. Before long, people who share our desire for change will be contacting you to form local networks and alliances.

Please consider "going public.

For direct contact with LEAP:

Mike Smithson;  Speakers Bureau Coordinator;  Law Enforcement Against Prohibition ; 131 Flint Path, Syracuse, New York 13219-3403     

speakers@leap.cc http://www.leap.cc   Cell: 315-243-5844 Fax: 315-488-3630

"First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing. Then came the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did little. Then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me." German Protestant Pastor Martin Niemöller 1892-1984




In Montreal from May 8 - 11th, the United States' Drug Enforcement Administration holds its 24th annual International Drug Enforcement Conference, the first convened north of Miami, Florida.

These conferences are one of the vehicles by which the US influences the policies of governments throughout the world.

Examples of US hegemonic efforts include:

* Commencing December 31, 2006, travelers between Canada and the United States as well as Mexico and the United States will be required to use passports.

* The extradition case of Canadian seed merchant Marc Emery, which is a priority for the American drug agency.

* The US is a frequent critic of programs which are proven effective at reducing the spread of AIDS, including syringe exchanges and safe injection facilities, such as those operating in British Columbia.

* Opposition to public health initiatives intended to reduce the harms from drug use includes pressuring international organizations, such as the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, to oppose syringe exchange.

* The US is a leader in medical innovation, yet its takes an absolute stance against medical use of cannabis in the USA and internationally.

* US anti-drug assistance to Eastern European countries tends to be primarily in counter-narcotics enforcement rather than education, prevention, and treatment.

* The DEA's emphasis in Asia has been on plant eradication. In Laos, success in eradication has been accompanied by massive displacement of indigenous peoples, and a mortality rate from diseases among the displaced of more than three times the national average.

* Success in eradication is often illusory. Evidence shows when poppies are successfully eradicated in one country (e.g. Laos), other countries (Afghanistan, Colombia) step into the openings in the market.

* In Afghanistan, the government is being pressured to pursue the unpopular policy of poppy eradication while failing to assist farmers in developing adequate alternative crops.

* In Bolivia, indigenous cultures have used the coca leaf for centuries. Massive U.S. - led plant eradication efforts have strongly impacted local culture and lead to the backlash election of Evo Morales, a coca leaf grower.

* The U.S. provides assistance and trains military personnel in Colombia. Though officially part of its attempt to eradicate coca leaf production and cocaine refining, in so doing the US has become a participant in Colombia's decades-old civil war.

* United State government agencies provide training throughout Brazil in a wide variety of law enforcement areas, including combating money laundering, airport interdiction, community policing, container security, counter narcotics SWAT operations, and demand reduction programs.

* The US foregoes development and economic alternatives in South America and instead focuses on law-enforcement and eradication. The U.S. promotes a paramilitary anti-drug strategy in nations such as Colombia, Peru, Mexico, and Bolivia at the expense of alternative crops and developmental aid.

It is the prerogative of the United States government to decide its own drug control policies, even if those policies have been shown to be neither effective nor appropriate. But to exert political, economic and military pressure on other nations to follow US drug policies is not appropriate, and is a source of growing international resentment and resistance.


And now for the GOOD news:  The mainstream media is finally beginning to catch on to this important message.  LEAP was featured on a one-hour television special in Januar 2007, and more and more articles like the following one are beginning to appear:

 February 18, 2007

Drug Profits and the Big Picture

Winnipeg Sun

By John Gleeson, Editorial Page Editor

Winnipeg Sun columnist Robert Marshall’s Valentine’s Day column was almost worth a news story.

Because in that column, Marshall, a retired and highly respected veteran of the Winnipeg Police Service, added his name to the growing list of credible cops from across North America who are arguing that the war against drugs is a folly of monumental proportions.

How monumental?

How does $400 billion a year sound?

That’s the estimated annual profit to organized crime from the drug trade worldwide. That means each year, as long as drug prohibition continues to be enforced as the law of the land, organized crime grows $400 billion richer, $400 billion stronger.

Law enforcement can’t compete with that kind of money stacked up against it. The only way society can win this war is to remove those profits. And, as Marshall wrote, “that can only be done by legalizing drugs. By making it a governmental responsibility to regulate, control and most importantly to keep them out of the hands of children.”

It’s the same conclusion reached by the Fraser Institute in a ground-breaking report several years ago, yet it’s one the Conservative party of Stephen Harper seems to stubbornly and emphatically ignore.

Many Conservative voters see drug legalization as another left-wing cause that would erode Canada’s social fabric — and Harper’s unequivocal position no doubt reflects that thinking.

Legalization, however, does not mean condoning drug use. It means, first of all, striking the hardest blow possible against organized crime.

Isn’t that the theme of Harper’s “law and order” stance?

Second, it means taking control over a substance far too dangerous to leave in the hands of criminals. In his column, Marshall cited retired Lieut. Jack Cole of the New Jersey State Police, a former undercover officer who says drug prohibition “has given criminals the opportunity to supply drugs and to decide which ones. It’s then left to the criminal to say how they’ll be produced, how potent they’ll be, what age levels they’ll sell to and where they’re going to sell.

“If they decide to sell to 10-year-olds on our playgrounds then that’s where they’ll be sold,” Cole says.

Finally, legalization will shift drug abuse from a criminal to a clinical matter. As Marshall put it so well, “In Winnipeg, if an addict needing a fix could turn to Health Canada instead of the Hells Angels, violence and crime would plummet.”

There are also fringe benefits, including huge tax revenues that would help pay for medical services and billions of policing dollars that could be diverted into more worthwhile forms of crime fighting.

But the big reason is to hit organized crime where it hurts most — in the pocketbook.

It must be extremely difficult for veteran cops like Marshall to condemn the war against drugs. All their training, all their years on the streets go against it. But they see the big picture. They know who the good guys and bad guys are and they know who is winning the real war.

If the Conservatives want to make the kind of dent in crime that they claim to, they can no longer afford to ignore this option.