Pubdate: Wed, 17 Jul 2002
Source: Zephyr, The (IL)
Copyright: 2002, The Zephyr
Author: Jack A. Cole, Executive Director, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition



Executive members of a unique drug-policy organization will be gathering in 
Niagara Falls, Ontario this weekend to discuss strategies for ending the 
"War on Drugs."

The advisory board for the organization is made up of: Honorable Warren W. 
Eginton, Judge, US District Court, Bridgeport, Connecticut; Honorable Gary 
E. Johnson, Governor of the State of New Mexico; Honorable John L. Kane, 
Judge, US District Court, Denver, Colorado; Sheriff Bill Masters, Sheriff 
of San Miguel County, Colorado; Mr. Joseph McNamara, former Chief of San 
Jose, California Police Department; Mr. Patrick V. Murphy, former Police 
Commissioner, New York City Police Department; Mr. Nick Pastore, former 
Chief of New Haven, Connecticut Police Department; and Honorable Robert W. 
Sweet, Judge, US District Court, New York City, New York.

But what makes this newly formed international group so unique is that its 
membership consists of current and former drug-warriors who believe the 
drug policies of the United States have failed in their intended goals of 
reducing drug use, addiction and crime. Fighting a war on drugs has only 
expanded and intensified the drug problems of the United States and many 
other countries. Modeled after "Vietnam Veterans Against the War," the 
membership of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition believes a system of 
regulation rather than prohibition is more effective in lowering the 
incidence of crime, death, disease, and addiction.

I was a member of the New Jersey State Police for 26 years and served in 
their narcotic bureau for over twelve years, mostly as an undercover agent. 
I can bear witness to the abject failure of the war on drugs. After three 
decades of fueling the war with over half a trillion tax dollars and 
increasingly punitive policies, illicit drugs are easier to get, cheaper, 
and more potent than they were 30 years ago. While our court system is 
choked with ever-increasing drug prosecutions our quadrupled prison 
population has made building prisons this nation's fastest growing 
industry. With two million people incarcerated -- more per capita than any 
country in the world -- innocent victims still die in our streets while 
drug barons and terrorists grow richer every day.

The message LEAP hopes to send is not about glorifying or promoting drug 
use. However, to continue treating drug use as a law enforcement issue 
rather than a medical one is folly.

It is poignant that LEAP is meeting in Niagara Falls two weeks before the 
Hells Angels hold their national convention there. The anticipated spread 
of this group into Ontario has caused great concern to both the citizens of 
the region and the policing authorities. Although this is an entirely 
legitimate concern, a policy of continuing to use the same old law 
enforcement tactics against them is doomed to fail.

We must attack criminal and terrorist organizations where we can have the 
greatest effect -- removing their sources of funding. Over $400 billion is 
spent on illegal drugs each year and organizations such as the Hells Angels 
make obscene profits from the sale of some of those drugs. LEAP maintains 
that if we remove those profits their activities will be severely 
curtailed. End drug prohibition today and tomorrow no criminal or terrorist 
will make a single dollar from selling drugs.

Jack A. Cole, Executive Director,

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Medford, Mass.
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