LEGALIZATION OF DRUGS
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.
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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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