Wednesday, September 30, 2009

LEAP speakers write about gangs, violence, children and drugs

LEAP speakers have published a couple of op-ed pieces recently. First, Jim Gierach has a guest column in the Southtown Star:
Al Capone-style bootlegging, hijacking, gang-banging, shooting and corrupting have Americans, their neighborhoods, their children and their lives by the throats, and nothing short of another Wickersham Commission can save them. The Wickersham Commission was created amid the violence of Prohibition, and it astutely recommended an end to Prohibition to stop the violence.

Judge James Gray organized a top ten list of drug policy goals and published it in the Daily Pilot.

Also, I have an article titled "The Failure of Drug Prohibition - A Law Enforcement Perspective." It was published in the June / July 2009 edition of Blue Line, which is Canada's national law enforcement magazine. (Note that the graph looked OK in print but it's blurry in the online version.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

LEAP Video

For all the new people who have joined our blog over the last six weeks, I would like to share this thirteen minute video introduction to LEAP. This is a powerful video. Watching it helped convince me to join the Speakers Bureau. Please take a moment today and forward this link to a friend, family member or co-worker who doesn't know about LEAP yet.

On futility...

"If the government can't keep drugs away from inmates who are locked in steel cages, surrounded by barbed wire, watched by armed guards, drug-tested, strip-searched, X-rayed, and videotaped – how can it possibly stop the flow of drugs to an entire nation?"

– Ron Crickenberger

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Heroin Addicts

“Believe it or not, as a high school teenager, [heroine] was easier for us to get than alcohol,” he said. “It’s cheaper than anything out there.”
That's because alcohol is legal and restricted and heroin is prohibited and unrestricted.

But I guess it's only newsworthy when rich white kids get hooked.

Here's the story in the New York Times.

[from Peter Moskos's Cop in the Hood]

A day for remembrance

Today is Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial Day in Canada. Let's put aside drug policy for a moment, and take time to think about the officers who gave their lives to uphold the law, preserve the peace and protect life and property across Canada. Approximately 700 officers have given their lives in the performance of their duties. In thinking of them I would like to echo the words inscribed on the memorial in Ottawa:

"They are our heroes. We shall not forget them."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tony Smith's Demockracy blog

No, that's not a typo in the title. LEAP speaker Tony Smith has his own blog over at He writes about a variety of topics, but I would like to draw your attention to part one and part two of his essay, "A Police Officer’s View on Drugs."

Friday, September 25, 2009

PATRIOT Act used for drugs, not terrorists

Ryan Grim reports in the Huffington Post that only 3 of 763 "sneak and peek" requests involved terrorism cases. A sneak and peak is when the government searches your home or office without telling you. It was supposed to keep us safe from terrorists.

But most sneak and peaks, not surprisingly, were for drugs. Also worrisome, only three requests were denied.

[from Peter Moskos's Cop in the Hood]

Should LEAP publish a book?

At the Netroots Nation convention in August, I was lucky enough to be given a new copy of Marijuana is Safer by Steve Fox, Paul Armentano and Mason Tvert.

Browsing through this book got me wondering: should LEAP publish its own book? What I have in mind is a collection of essays written by LEAP speakers. Perhaps one third of the book could contain essays already published, like Jack Cole's End Prohibition Now. The remaining two thirds could focus on new content.

On the "yes" side: it would help raise money, which is important because we are a non-profit organization. It would provide a new medium for spreading LEAP's message, particularly if we could get the book into libraries and bookstores around the world. Some people may perceive LEAP to be more credible and well rounded if we had our own book. It also would provide a chance for unpublished speakers, like myself, to put our ideas and experiences into print.

On the "no" side: it takes a lot of time and effort to publish a book. Also, as Peter Moskos explains, most books don't make a lot of money. Publishing a book might distract LEAP at a critical point in our growth. (Also: does anyone actually reads books anymore?)

There is no shortage of authors at LEAP. Norm Stamper wrote Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing. Judge Jim Gray wrote Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs. Moskos published Cop in the Hood. Many other speakers have published articles and research papers (see, for example, Hon. Maria Lucia Karam's excellent essay Prohibition Causes Most of the Harms Associated to Drugs.

It seems as though many drug policy organizations are publishing books as a means of fostering awareness about drug prohibition. Members of SAFER, as mentioned earlier, recently published Marijuana is Safer. Transform is about to release the third book in its trilogy about drug policy, titled After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for a Regulated Market.

What do you think? Should LEAP publish a book?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tousaw Law blog

Kirk Tousaw has started blogging again, after a six week hiatus over the summer. The blog focuses mostly on Canadian drug policy, although his clear and cogent arguments will be appreciated by many outside the country as well.

The Day the Police Came Crashing Through His Door

In the Washington Post, Cheye Calvo, the mayor of Berwyn Heights, MD, writes about his experience:
I remember thinking, as I kneeled at gunpoint with my hands bound on my living room floor, that there had been a terrible, terrible mistake.
In the words of Prince George's County Sheriff Michael Jackson, whose deputies carried out the assault, "the guys did what they were supposed to do" -- acknowledging, almost as an afterthought, that terrorizing innocent citizens in Prince George's is standard fare. The only difference this time seems to be that the victim was a clean-cut white mayor with community support, resources and a story to tell the media.

What confounds me is the unmitigated refusal of county leaders to challenge law enforcement and to demand better -- as if civil rights are somehow rendered secondary by the war on drugs.
As an imperfect elected official myself, I can understand a mistake -- even a terrible one. But a pattern and practice of police abuse treated with utter indifference rips at the fabric of our social compact and virtually guarantees more of the same.
You know what they say: a liberal is a conservative who's been raided (actually I just made that one up).

[from Peter Moskos's Cop in the Hood]

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Late last year, Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, wrote a blog entry in which he mentioned drug prohibition. Right at the end of the post he mentioned the need to legalize drugs due to the financial costs of enforcing drug laws:

"Likewise, the future includes legalized (de facto or literally) drugs and prostitution, out of budget necessity. There simply won't be enough tax money to chase that sort of perp. And say goodbye to speed limits in all but the most dangerous roads."

If you've never read Adam's blog yet, check it out. It's always thought provoking, that's for sure.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Conference in El Paso

LEAP is in Texas this week. Terry Nelson is at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he is participating in "A Global Public Policy Forum" about drug prohibition. The description of the conference is compelling:

Along the border the drug war has reached our backyard and our neighborhoods. Yet we continue our bi-national way of life. A public evaluation of the successes and failures of the policy is long overdue. However, such an evaluation should shift from a Washington D.C.-centered policy analysis, to where the drug war is happening now: in our border community.

The Newspaper Tree, El Paso's online newspaper, quotes Nelson from his panel yesterday:

He spoke about the root of crime in countries affected by the drug war. “Prohibition of drugs causes crime. The drug use doesn’t. It’s a bad choice. It’s a bad decision.” He continued: “Drugs and illegal trafficking corrupts everything they touch. All the countries in Central America have deaths because of the drug war. We can’t think of it as just an American solution or American problem. It’s a global problem.”

P.S. I'm going offline for about a week, so a few of the other folks at LEAP will be handling the blog for the next few days. I have written some posts which will appear automatically, but I won't be responding to any comments or emails until the end of the month. After working hard on the blog for over a month, I'm going to enjoy some downtime in the "real" world.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Retired chief constable Tom Lloyd

Tom Lloyd, former chief constable of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary in the UK, has written an opinion piece about the failure of the War on Drugs:
Several generations have now lived under the shadow of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, including police officers like me who became increasingly disillusioned with its effects. Despite all the money and effort poured into the so-called "war on drugs", the inexorable spread of drugs and the accompanying damage is powerful testament to failure. What we are doing is not only very expensive and misdirected activity, but actively counterproductive and harmful.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brazil: Death in the favelas

Retired Brazilian Judge Maria Lucia Karam wrote this post about the favelas, or "shanty towns," in Brazil:

Rio de Janeiro, September 16th, 2009: four people died in a drug-related police operation in the favela called Juramento.

Rio de Janeiro, September 18th, 2009: one more person died in another drug-related police operation in the favela called Mangueira.

In the news we cannot find the names of the five victims. They were poor people; they lived in slums; maybe they really worked in the illegal drug market. Most people in Brazil do not pay attention to this news. Deaths of favelas' inhabitants during police operations have become a routine. People killed there do not count. They are just the drug dealers; the “bad ones”; or the “enemies."

In Brazil, in the city of Rio de Janeiro alone in one year (2008), 2,757 homicides were registered. A report released on September 15th, 2008 by U.N. special envoy on extra-judicial killings, Philip Alston, referring to the year of 2007, showed that Brazilian police murdered three people a day on average in Rio de Janeiro, making them responsible for one in five killings in the city. In fact, at least in the last ten years, 20% of all murders in Rio de Janeiro have been summary executions that happen during police operations against drug dealers in the favelas.

This is Brazil's own war on drugs. This is one of the most tragic results of drug prohibition. To put an end to prohibition-related acts of violence in Rio de Janeiro, or in anywhere else, is one of the main reasons to urgently legalize the production, supply and consumption of all drugs.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Misha Glenny on the Drug War

Misha Glenny, author of McMafia, has a great op-ed piece in the New York Times about the need to end the War on Drugs. I particularly like how he frames the argument in terms of national security:
Two significant developments are contributing to the sudden surge in calls for reconsidering prohibition. The first is that drugs are now damaging long-term Western security interests, especially in Afghanistan and Mexico. The second is that production is migrating away from its traditional homes like Colombia and the Golden Triangle and moving into the heart of Western consumer areas like Canada, the Netherlands and Britain.

The problem is becoming so dramatic that elder statesmen, senior law enforcement officers, intellectuals and philanthropists the world over are speaking out loud and clear: The “War on Drugs” is a disastrous policy that achieves none of its aims and inflicts huge damage on global security and governance wherever it is prosecuted.

The whole essay is worth reading (and he has some very kind words about LEAP).

Correction: This did not appear in the NY Times. It was printed in the weekend edition of the International Herald Tribune, which is owned by the Times Company (so that's why it is hosted on

Friday, September 18, 2009

LEAP Dispatches from the Front Line...

A reader pointed out to me that LEAP's monthly newsletter should also get posted to the blog. He's absolutely right. Please enjoy our September issue below. You can sign up here to receive the newsletter by email.

The walls are beginning to crumble. In recent weeks, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico have all taken steps to decriminalize drug possession and treat drug abuse as a health issue, not a legal problem. In August, Mexico decriminalized the "personal use" of drugs including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Those caught with amounts under the designated limit will be encouraged to seek treatment, with treatment mandatory only for those caught three times. Five days later, Argentina's Supreme Court decriminalized the possession of marijuana intended for personal consumption, and this month, the Colombian Supreme Court also ruled that possession of illegal drugs for personal use should not be treated as a criminal offense.

These new policies attempt to distinguish between drug users and violent traffickers. But while it is certainly a step in the right direction to treat drug addiction with rehabilitation rather than incarceration, decriminalization efforts do little to stop the violent crime resulting from the War on Drugs. The cartels can only be eradicated through legalization. LEAP speakers Maria Lucia Karam and Walter McKay spoke to the U.K.'s The Guardian, and Judge Karam clearly articulates that while she welcomes the move toward decriminalization, "Unfortunately the 'war on drugs' mentality is still the dominant policy approach in Latin America. The only way to reduce violence in Mexico, Brazil or anywhere else is to legalize the production, supply and consumption of all drugs."

Here are just a few of the issues our speakers addressed in August. We hope you'll share "Dispatches from the Front Line…" with a friend.


A Radical Solution to the Drug War - Legalize Everything ( political columnist John H. Richardson interviews Neill Franklin)

We've heard a lot about the terrible death toll Mexico has suffered during the drug war - over 11,000 souls so far. This helps to account for the startling lack of controversy that greeted last week's news that Mexico had suddenly decriminalized drugs - not just marijuana but also cocaine, LSD, and heroin. In place of the outrage and threats that U.S. officials expressed when Mexico tried to decriminalize in 2006 was a mild statement, from our new drug czar, that we are going to take a "wait and see" approach.

Still, we've heard nothing about the American death toll. Isn't that strange? So far as I can tell, nobody has even tried to come up with a number. Until now. I've done some rough math, and this is what I found: 6,487.

To repeat, that's 6,487 dead Americans. Throw in overdoses and the cost of this country's paralyzing drug laws is closer to 15,000 lives.

I'm basing these numbers on an interview with a high-ranking former narcotics officer named Neill Franklin. A member of the Maryland State Police for 32 years, Franklin eventually rose to the position of commander in Maryland's Bureau of Drug Enforcement. As he puts it, he was a classic "good soldier" in the drug war.
Franklin's turning point came in October of 2000…

To continue reading, please click here.


Drug War Fail (Norm Stamper's Letter to the Editor appeared in the September/October 2009 issue of Mother Jones)

Your articles about drug war failures were most refreshing. However, as a cop on the front lines for 34 years, I take issue with your editorial claim that a "fact-based drug policy...would likely leave in place the prohibition on 'hard' drugs." Until we legalize and effectively regulate all drugs, criminals will continue to gun down rival traffickers, police officers, and innocent bystanders. And as long as we incarcerate so many people on possession charges, we won't have enough resources to tackle substance abuse.

Norm Stamper will be on the road quite a bit this fall, with tours planned in San Francisco in September and Australia in October. For more information on upcoming LEAP presentations, please see our events calendar.


LEAP Speakers Bureau Report

How do you stop the international drug cartels? LEAP Executive Director Jack Cole presented our answer - legalization - in Cambridge, England at the 21st International Symposium on Economic Crime in early September, which boasted nearly a thousand attendees from 90 countries. During his visit to the United Kingdom, Jack also visited TRANSFORM: Drug Policy Foundation, LEAP's sister organization. TRANSFORM is preparing to release After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for a Regulated Market, the final book in its trilogy, in November 2009. As recent decriminalization laws from abroad make news, LEAP continues to expand our already substantial international presence. During his trip, Jack met with several of our speakers and volunteers from England, the Netherlands, and Germany and received invitations to speak from five countries, including Brazil and Japan.

Our speakers also made a splash domestically this past month. Russ Jones, a former narcotics detective, toured California, making more than a dozen presentations, signing up new members and educating people about the need for change in drug policy. Retired police captain and LEAP co-founder Peter Christ appeared on radio shows from Lakeport, California to El Paso, Texas to Chicago, IL, and covered plenty of ground in between. Jack Cole and active duty Canadian beat cop David Bratzer attended the Netroots Nation Conference in Pittsburg, where they recruited new members and strategized the role of technology with progressive voices from all over the country.


It's Time to Legalize Drugs

Undercover Baltimore police officer Dante Arthur was doing what he does well, arresting drug dealers, when he approached a group in January. What he didn't know was that one of suspects knew from a previous arrest that Arthur was police. Arthur was shot twice in the face. In the gunfight that ensued, Arthur's partner returned fire and shot one of the suspects, three of whom were later arrested.

In many ways, Dante Arthur was lucky. He lived. Nationwide, a police officer dies on duty nearly every other day. Too often a flag-draped casket is followed by miles of flashing red and blue lights. Even more officers are shot and wounded, too many fighting the war on drugs. The prohibition on drugs leads to unregulated, and often violent, public drug dealing. Perhaps counter-intuitively, better police training and bigger guns are not the answer…

To continue reading Moskos and Franklin's Washington Post Op-Ed, please click here. To view their interview on MSNBC, please click here.


Please join LEAP at the 2009 International Drug Policy Reform Conference November 12-14.


Correction: In the August issue of Dispatches from the Front Line... we erroneously referred to Joseph Brooks as Deputy Chief, when in fact his rank was Senior Captain. We apologize for the error.


All of this work happens because of generous donations from our supporters. Your gift to LEAP is tax-deductible. Donate now to show your commitment to ending the War on Drugs.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Australia and New Zealand

Yesterday one of our readers, Kosmos, asked a question in the comments section: "Not sure if you can help me here, but do you know if there is an Australian branch of LEAP? Or even a New Zealand one?"

This is a timely question as LEAP is touring Australia from October 2nd to the 27th. We don't have any speakers in Australia right now, but after the tour that should change. In the meantime, LEAP supporters can look to Alex Wodak as a leading drug policy reformer who lives in Australia but is known worldwide for his efforts to end prohibition. In addition to being a medical doctor he is the Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, as well as a board member of the International Harm Reduction Assocation.

In a recent op-ed piece published in The Sydney Morning Herald, Dr. Wodak offered hope to Australians who are frustrated with lack of change in their country:

"It is now clear that support for a drug policy heavily reliant on law enforcement is dwindling in Western Europe, the US and South America, while support for harm reduction and drug law reform is growing. Sooner or later this debate will start again in Australia."

As for law enforcement, there are some promising signs. In March of this year, the police commissioner in Victoria stated he was open to decriminalization if it was supported by scientific evidence:

New Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland says he would support decriminalising a range of drugs if the benefits outweighed the risks. In an interview with The Weekend Australian, he said he was "cautiously agnostic" about decriminalising drugs. He said police could not win the war on drugs. But while he supported harm minimisation approaches for users, dealers should face the full force of the law.

"For the people who are making lots of money out of it, I am absolutely in favour of throwing everything at them and locking them away," Mr Overland said. "But at the lower end, people who are users and, in a sense, victims themselves, then I think it's actually about finding effective interventions. I would be prepared to try decriminalisation of some drugs if there was evidence that was the best way to go. I'd need to be convinced. For instance, things like cannabis, if there was evidence that that was the approach that would lead to the least harm, I would support it, but you'd want to see the evidence."

Mr. Overland, who succeeded Christine Nixon this week, said he was yet to see such evidence but he was willing to be convinced about various drugs. "That applies right across the board," he said. "If you could convince me that legalising heroin ... if there was evidence that says that was the way to go, that that would lead to lesser harm to individuals and lesser harm to the community, I would be prepared to back it and try it. But I think you would want ... to be really certain about the outcomes, and you would want rigorous evaluation and be really clear that this is achieving what you think it is going to."

He acknowledged the political barriers to decriminalisation, but said he did not believe it was impossible to achieve.

In 2007, the first (and now retired) head of the Australian National Crime Authority, Don Stewart, admitted that drug prohibition does not work. He compared it to the American experiment with alcohol prohibition:

Damien Carrick: Don Stewart, when you were head of the NCA and you were investigating all sorts of people, you lived in an area where there were a lot of junkies who'd shoot up, and I believe you and your security guards would occasionally don rubber gloves, scoop the syringes into a box and send them to the New South Wales Police Commissioner asking him to do something about that problem. You were investigating drugs, you were investigating their corrosive effects on our institutions, especially our police force. But does prohibition work? I mean does our crime fighting approach work?

Don Stewart: I don't think so. There was a period, as we all know, when there was a total prohibition on the consumption of alcoholic liquor in the United States, and it did not work. There were bootleggers, it created corruption on a large scale, and it was a terrific failure, and it was always going to be a failure.

Clearly there is some support for reform amongst law enforcement in Australia.

As for New Zealand, the NZ Drug Foundation is probably your best bet.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One month!

Today is the one month anniversary of the new blog. We're growing quickly thanks to an awesome group of readers who are visiting daily, posting comments and sharing the blog with others.

Our first post was on August 16th, and since then we've published a total of 42 posts. Over 1700 unique visitors checked out the the blog in the first month. Traffic increased substantially during the last two days, in large part due to a LEAP news release.

What do you think of the layout? Are there any topics you'd like to see discussed? What features would you like to see added? Let me know, and I'll do my best to make it happen.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

LEAP in the Christian Science Monitor

After seeing our press release from yesterday about the FBI's new 2008 arrest data, Christian Science Monitor reporter Patrik Jonsson called LEAP and ended up quoting two of our speakers and our media relations director in this great piece.
Every 18 seconds, an American is busted for drug possession, according to Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) crime statistics released Monday.

The new statistics point to a continued emphasis on drug interdiction – otherwise known as the "war on drugs" – that more and more law enforcement officers are now questioning. While many experts hold the anti-drug campaign to be the key reason for the decline in the crime rate in the US, especially violent crime, since the 1990s, these police officers, as well as current and retired judges and prosecutors see, instead, thousands of American lives ruined for small drug infractions in a costly and possibly unwinnable "war."

"Not only do these officers see the terrible results that their work has had on individuals' lives, but a lot of what I hear from beat officers and undercover narcotics agents is they've seen colleagues die in the line of fire trying to enforce laws that have no positive impacts," says Tom Angell, a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) in Washington. "For a lot of them, this is about trying to keep good cops alive by repealing stupid prohibition laws."

Read the whole thing here.

"We're inundated with sexual assault cases"

From LEAP staff member Charmie Gholson:
That's Captain Terry of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office, lamenting about how stretched thin his staff is, regarding both registered sexual offenders and those that haven't yet been caught. He needs more money, I'd bet, and manpower to really police the situation.

Where-oh-where might they get more money?

The trillion dollars spent on the "war on drugs" since 1970 has brought us 35 million arrests and done nothing to eliminate drugs from society. We need to be using that money in better ways, and the horrific nightmare that has been the last 18 years of Jaycee Dugard's life illustrates how we could better use police resources.

The speakers at LEAP want to restore the publics faith in police and also be allowed to do real police work instead of constant, resource sucking drug interdiction. I can't help but wonder if the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office would have been able to recognize this man for the insane, dangerous monster he is if they had been fully present.

This article in the Mercury News offers more details of how ill prepared the county is when dealing with registered sex offenders. From the news article:

The Megan's Law (registered offenders) database has grown by about three percent since December, to more than 65,000 names of those living in California communities. For law enforcement, the numbers are overwhelming, said Contra Costa County sheriff's Capt. Daniel Terry. He said about 1,700 registered sex offenders now live in the county — up nearly 50 percent in a decade. About 350 live in unincorporated pockets countywide.

"That's 349 more than detectives I have to monitor these people," said Terry. "And as dangerous as these people are, for every one of them that's been through the criminal justice system, there's a handful that are just as dangerous and haven't been caught yet. We're inundated with sexual assault cases."

A task force including the sheriff's office and local police visited Garrido's house during a July 2008 sweep to check on compliance — that he lived where he said he did, said Terry. They entered the house and walked through, noticed nothing unusual and left.

"There was no evidence to support any type of foul pay or illicit activity that would violate his position as a (Megan's Law) registrant," he said. "Did we go into his backyard and climb the 8-foot wall into the compound that for 17 years nobody knew he was using? No, we did not."

Contra Costa County sheriff's Capt. Daniel Terry appears to be incorrect when he says that no one knew Garrido was using the backyard. A neighbor called 911 and reported "suspicious circumstances involving young children in the backyard" in 2006. Sheriff Warren Rupf has since apologized for the department's response to that call and the missed opportunity to rescue Jaycee Dugard.

That same year, the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office assisted the feds in conducting a four month wiretap surveillance of suspected drug-dealers. They conducted subsequent raids in March of 2006. How much time and money did this raid consume? Could those resources have been better used in this community? Some may think not. Some folks may think arresting drug dealers will keep us safer.

The article reports the arrest of prominent gang suspects, subordinates and street-level drug-dealing suspects. And do you know what those arrests created? Job openings. In the next 12 or 18 months you'll read about another fantastical drug bust that's really cleaned up the place.

"All of the violence we've seen in North Richmond lately, we want it to end," said Contra Costa sheriff's Lt. Kitty Parker of the investigation and raid. "The violence is there because of the drugs. Everything stems from the drugs."

No it doesn't, Lt. Parker. Drugs aren’t the problem. Our drug policy is.

Sure, sometimes addicts do violent things, but a majority of our community violence is due to petty thugs fighting over the unregulated drug market. Just like during alcohol prohibition. When the St. Valentines day massacre went down, nobody said, “lets keep chasing these guys.” They said, this is crazy. Kids are dying from bath tub gin, we’re spending too much money fighting these criminals and this whole idea of keeping folks from drinking isn’t working.

They re-legalized and regulated alcohol. They took back their streets. Now those guys selling alcohol settle differences in court, not on the streets with guns. The Budweiser driver and Petron delivery driver never shoot at each other to gain control of a neighborhood.

It's too late for Jaycee to have been saved sooner than later. But we can refocus our (limited) law enforcement resources into area's that will actually keep communities safer.

Legalize and regulate drugs. All of them.

Monday, September 14, 2009



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A group of police and judges who want to legalize drugs pointed to new FBI numbers released today as evidence that the "war on drugs" is a failure that can never be won. The data, from the FBI's "Crime in the United States" report, shows that in 2008 there were 1,702,537 arrests for drug law violations, or one drug arrest every 18 seconds.

"In our current economic climate, we simply cannot afford to keep arresting more than three people every minute in the failed 'war on drugs,'" said Jack Cole, a retired undercover narcotics detective who now heads the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). "Plus, if we legalized and taxed drug sales, we could actually create new revenue in addition to the money we'd save from ending the cruel policy of arresting users."

Last December, LEAP commissioned a report by a Harvard University economist which found that legalizing and regulating drugs would inject $77 billion a year into the struggling U.S. economy.

Today's FBI report, which can be found at, shows that 82.3 percent of all drug arrests in 2008 were for possession only, and 44.3 percent of drug arrests were for possession of marijuana.

Pointing to the collateral consequences that often follow drug arrests, LEAP's Cole continued, "You can get over an addiction, but you will never get over a conviction."

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is a 13,000-member organization representing cops, judges, prosecutors, prison wardens and others who now want to legalize and regulate all drugs after witnessing horrors and injustices fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs."

More info online at

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2009
CONTACT: Tom Angell - (202) 557-4979 or

# # #

Job opportunity

LEAP is hiring a Development Director.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Regular readers should note that my scheduled blog posts are moving from 4:00 AM to 2:00 PM Pacific Time. Since this is a group blog, I want to give the other LEAP speakers an opportunity to post first should they become inspired to write something. If they do, I'll bump my scheduled post to the next day. If they don't, well... you'll be stuck with me.
Yesterday I emailed both the DEA and Parternship for a Drug Free America about Dean Becker's challenge. No response yet.
Click here to see a scary robot.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Throwing down the gauntlet!

Below is a challenge to the prohibitionists from Dean Becker. My challenge for you is to share Dean's post with any drug warriors you know who may be wiling to go on his radio show.

As a speaker for LEAP and as host of weekly radio shows broadcast on 68 affiliate stations in the US and Canada I have for years sought the input of public officials to the simple question: "Can you name the number one success of the drug war?"

There is not one person in public office willing to answer such a basic question. More than one hundred years after the passage of the Opium Exclusion Act, (the first federal anti-drug law); after the arrest of more than 37 million, non-violent drug users and after the expenditure of more than one trillion dollars trying to stop the flow of drugs there is not one cop, police chief, DEA agent, drug czar or elected official willing to spend 30 minutes on the airwaves, defending this policy.

Whether they acknowledge the facts or are even aware that their collusion or their silence in this regard, the "drug warriors" stand in support of ever escalating drug war and thus eternal support of Osama bin Laden, the barbarous cartels and the violent US gangs. Worldwide, criminals are able, because of drug warrior belief in prohibition, to profit enormously and eternally from the sale of weeds, flowers and their extracts.

When the death toll from Aspirin and Tylenol rivals that of all the "recreational" drugs including Heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine which are made by untrained chemists, brought north and then "cut" with various household products including Levamisole, a de-worming agent that can cause cancer and which has been found in significant amounts of cocaine seized by law enforcement, where is the logic to be found in support of continuing this policy? Before drug prohibition, Bayer Heroin sold next to Bayer Aspirin on the grocers shelf at the very same price. Then as now, Aspirin is as often a killer drug.

By what right, logic or scientific understanding do we allow this drug war to devour generations of our children's futures? That's the real question, where is the sense, where is the benefit, the rationale by which we allow this 100 year war to continue?

Drug czars come and go, police chiefs move from city to city and cops on the beat continue their eternal "slog" in waging the drug war but not one of them dares to visit my radio shows to defend the policy of everlasting, ever escalating drug war. Their beliefs are superstition and their faith comprised of air.

This post is another of my ongoing challenges to the drug czar, the DEA, the task force leaders, to judges, district attorney's and to cops on the beat, guards behind the walls and to criminal justice drug warriors everywhere to submit to an interview on the Drug Truth Network radio programs.

They often speak at treatment centers and junior high school classes but they have thus far refused to defend this policy over the airwaves. Surely they are not cowards or allies of the drug barons, perhaps they have other, unspoken reasons in fighting an eternal war against man's free will. If so, please contact Dean Becker, host of Century of Lies, Cultural Baggage and the 4:20 Drug War News:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Border Czar Says Legalizers Want Cartels to Win

U.S. "Border Czar" Alan Bersin says in this video on The New Republic's website that folks who advocate drug legalization want to "throw up [our] hands and give up" in the fight against drug abuse and "let [cartels]"

Good for TNR reporter Ben Eisler for actually following up -- unlike many other journalists we've seen -- and clarifying that that's not what anti-prohibitionists say we want to do at all.

Tribute to a fallen officer

Today marks the 8th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed over 3000 people and injured 6000 more in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

John Perry died that morning. He was a New York city police officer, a Libertarian and an ACLU activist who called for an end to the War on Drugs. From his dedication page on the LEAP web site:

"On that morning, John Perry was at One Police Plaza in lower Manhattan filing his retirement papers when he heard that the first plane had hit the World Trade Center. Without hesitation, he asked for his badge back, promising that he'd return later to finish filling out the papers and he went to help. He lost his life that day, rescuing others. He was on the first mezzanine of Tower One with some of his buddies, when it collapsed. Some of his buddies made it out, John did not."

In his memory, the John W. Perry Fund awards scholarships to students denied federal financial aid due to drug convictions. Please visit the site to apply for a scholarship or to make a donation to the fund yourself. Perhaps Congressman Jim McDermott said it best:

"It's really just stupid and laughable. You want to deny a kid access to higher education and condemn him to a life of poverty and minimum wage jobs for the rest of his life? Is that what John Perry would have wanted? John Perry didn't stand around at the World Trade Center asking people if they had a drug conviction!"

In life we never know when we will be called upon to meet an extraordinary challenge. On this day eight years ago, Officer Perry rose to the occasion and in doing so he became an American hero.

May he rest in peace.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Very British Dude

That's the name of a long established blog in the UK. Their slogan is "moderate opinions, immoderately put" meaning they say what they think and don't hold back. One of the main authors, Jackart, wrote a post about Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and linked to our new blog. Thanks Jackart!

It's awesome to make these connections. A lot of people think LEAP is a U.S. organization but really we're international, with members in over eighty countries.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Upcoming events for September

If you would like to book a speaker for an event in your area, simply fill out our speaker request form and someone from LEAP will be touch soon. Our 70+ speakers will go nearly anywhere to speak about the failed policies of drug prohibition. Here are some of the upcoming public events where you'll find LEAP:

September 12: Isom Pope will be speaking at the Cannabis Revival in Joplin, Missouri.

September 15: Peter Christ will presenting to the Guelph Wellington Men's Club in Ontario, Canada.

September 16: David Doddridge is at the Las Vegas Rotary Club in Nevada and Tony Smith is speaking to the Rotary of Langley Sunrise in British Columbia.

September 22: James Gray will be at a drug policy conference at the University of Texas at El Paso. Joe Brooks will be at the Rotary of Manchester in Connecticut.

September 26: Norm Stamper will be speaking at the NORML annual conference in San Francisco, California.

My dream gig would be for LEAP to present at TED. If you could choose one event for LEAP to go to, what would it be?

Deep Undercover

Kristina Goetz of the Memphis Commercial Appeal has this story about an officer doing "deep undercover."
She also had to restrain her police instincts to break up a fight at a convenience store or call social services if she saw a dealer hit his child because being caught would compromise the larger goal.
And what larger goal was more important than preventing physical child abuse? I would sue the police department if I were an assault victim and a police officer present did nothing.

But such is the nature of the war on drugs. Locking up a drug dealer (not preventing drug use) is more important than preventing injury or the beating of a child.

All the evils she saw? Those weren't caused by drugs. They were caused by bad people in bad conditions. And people who commit bad crimes should get locked up.

So let me get this right. All the crimes you saw, the poverty, the desperation, the tricks, the violence, the child abuse? You saw people in f*cked up situations doing bad sh*t. And you were a police officer and you let it happen. You let all that slide because you were fighting some bigger fight. You rationalized that you needed to let some crimes slide so that you could go "up the ladder" and maybe even lock up some "kingpins" and win the war on drugs?

Did you?

In a year's time, this officer's work "resulted in more that 280 arrests -- from low-level drug peddlers to big-name dealers." And is Memphis safer? Have murders gone down? Has drug use gone down? By being "deep undercover," you ignored your oath as a police officer to defend the laws and the Constitution of our land.

Look, it's not like this officer didn't give her all. So did LEAP founder Jack Cole. They just gave it for the wrong reasons. Like Jack Cole, perhaps she too will speak out against the war on drugs. Maybe she'll wonder if some of the people she locked up weren't really that bad. Maybe she'll feel bad that some people are in prison because they were in bad situations and they trusted her. They thought she was their friend. And for all I know, she might have been their friend. And then she ratted them out.

That would be a heavy weight on my shoulders.

[from Peter Moskos's Cop in the Hood]

Alaskan Privacy

I've been a little fuzzy on the topic. But thanks to a reader, I've learned a bit.

Remember when marijuana used to be legal in Alaska? What ever happened to that?

Well here's the story, best I understand it.

In May, 1975, in Ravin v. State, the Alaska State Supreme Court ruled that possession of weed by an adult, at home (in small quantities) is protected under the a privacy clause of the state constitution.
It appears that the use of marijuana, as it is presently used in the United States today, does not constitute a public health problem of any significant dimension... It appears that effects of marijuana on the individual are not serious enough to justify widespread concern, at least as compared with the far more dangerous effects of alcohol, barbituates, and amphetamines.
The Alaska state troopers said the ruling was "horrendous" and vowed to keep enforcing drug laws under federal statutes.

Of course the sky didn't fall.

But in politically conservative Alaska, where alcoholism, "creeping" and incest are more major problems, the legislature re-outlawed marijuana in 2006. Of course you can't "outlaw" a supreme-court-decided right any more than you can legislate for slavery or against the First Amendment. Here's to the right of privacy! I wish it were in the Bill of Rights.

So more recently the 2006 Alaska law was appealed... but without a victim (has nobody in Alaska been arrested for such a crime?). It's a rare legal strategy, but one that makes sense to me. Why should you have to arrested before the court decides a law is unconstitutional? But no matter. The Alaska Supreme Court punted the decision on the grounds that it isn't "ripe." But regardless, the Ravin case decriminalizing marijuana still stands.

Scott Christiansen of the Anchorage Press writes:
The Alaska Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the Ravin decision, even to the point of limiting a law passed by a vote of the people, instead of the state legislature. In a 2004 case, Noy v State, the court explained that even though ballot initiatives can make law, those laws are on par with laws made by the legislative branch and still subject to constitutional tests in court. (And a collective, “Well, duh” was heard throughout the north.)
[from Peter Moskos's Cop in the Hood]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

DEA Fact #1

This is part one of a multi-part effort to examine the "facts" presented in the DEA guide to "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization."

Fact #1 states, "We have made significant progress in fighting drug use and drug trafficking in America. Now is not the time to abandon our efforts."

The data and statistics supporting a fact like this should be accurate and credible. Yet a discrepancy quickly arises. Page four of the document states:

"To put things in perspective, less than 5 percent of the population uses illegal drugs of any kind. Think about that: More than 95 percent of Americans do not use drugs. How could anyone but the most hardened pessimist call this a losing struggle?"

On the next page, the following graph is presented:

Clearly, this leaves the reader confused as to whether 5% or 7% of Americans use drugs - a difference which would translate into millions of more drug users. This document is six years old, and it's been reviewed by many others, so if I am missing something obvious that makes both statistics valid then please correct me. Interestingly, Josh from further deconstructs the accuracy of the 95% number and suggests the actual drug use rate is much higher.

From LEAP's perspective, it is misleading to suggest that "now is not the time to abandon our efforts." A shift in drug policy would not mean the effort and energy put into reducing drug use would disappear. The effort from law enforcement would still be there. But it would be focused in a more humane, more productive and less harmful direction.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Let's close our eyes, cover our ears and shout "Lalalalala!" At least, that's the reaction of one moderator over at regarding a forum member who supports marijuana decriminalization.

Pete Guither has the full write-up on his blog, so I won't duplicate his efforts here. I felt bad for the original poster, who appears to be a college student with a strong interest in policing. I registered an account and sent him a private message to let him know that not all officers are so close minded.

I've certainly taken my fair share of abuse on a similar police forum. These forums represent a small minority of police officers but their hostility likely deters other officers from joining LEAP.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I spent a good chunk of time yesterday reaching out to various groups and letting people know about the new LEAP blog. If you're visiting from Netroots Nation, Eurasian Harm Reduction Network, Stop The Drug War, Everyday Citizen, NORML Canada, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Christians Against Prohibition - or another group that I've missed here - then welcome to our blog!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A barrier to recovery

On Wednesday night, Mexico's drug prohibition war spilled into a treatment clinic in Ciudad Juarez. From the article:

"The deed was stomach-turning: Hooded gunmen burst into a Ciudad Juarez drug treatment center, gathered together those inside and lined them up before opening fire with semiautomatic weapons. When the shooting was over, 18 people were dead."

Apparently these clinics have become recruiting centres for organized crime groups:

"Drug-treatment centres in Mexico draw some clients from street gangs that serve as foot soldiers for drug cartels. Gangs often use the facilities as recruiting grounds, creating potential targets for enemies."

The Yahoo! article states this is the third attack on an addiction clinic in Ciudad Juarez.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Would Jaycee Dugard have been saved earlier if there had been marijuana growing in that back yard?

Charmie Gholson, a LEAP staff member, was kind enough to share the following post:

Police continue to seek answers to how a convicted sexual predator was able to kidnap a young girl and keep her, along with the two children she bore him, in captivity for nearly two decades.

I honestly have compassion for Sheriff Warren Rupf and the department he oversees. This Contra Costa sheriffs department in the San Francisco Bay area is going to have some tough questions to answer in the upcoming weeks.

In the past few years, authorities had several chances to uncover the ramshackle backyard compound where Dugard and her children were kept, a missed opportunity that Sheriff Warren Rupf said was unacceptable. He also promised changes.

In 2006 a neighbor called 911 to report "suspicious circumstances involving young children” in the home's backyard, and had said Garrido was psychotic and had a sex addiction. The deputy spent about 30 minutes interviewing Garrido on the front porch and left after warning him that people living outdoors on the property could be a code violation. From the Contra Costa Times:

"We missed an opportunity to bring earlier closure to this situation," Rupf said. "I cannot change the course of events but we are beating ourselves up over this." Rupf added, "I offer my apologies to the victims and accept responsibility for having missed a chance to rescue Jaycee."

Sheriff Warren attributed the shortcoming to the deputy's lack of ready access to a database containing information about sex offenders in the county:

"We should have been inquisitive, more curious, and turned over a rock or two," Rupf said. "There are no excuses."

If I lived in California, I would want to know why the Costa County Sherifs department hasn’t allocated funding to ensure police had access to the sexual offender database. I might also ask why they didn’t use their new armored vehicle, that can rescue hostages and withstand snipers' bullets, to help rescue Jaycee Dugard. From the article in the Oakland Tribune:

The Lenco BearCat -- purchased with a federal Homeland Security grant of $243,000 -- can detect poisonous gases, travels as fast as 85 mph and has gunports for 10 rifles. While the intent of the BearCat purchase is to better prepare deputies for response to a terrorist attack, the county reports that the vehicle will probably be used more for protecting hostages, driving through gunfire and raiding drug houses.

Retired Police Chief Joseph McNamara commented on the acquisition:

"When the funny money comes in from the federal government, it's presented in a way that a sheriff would be anti-patriotic not to take it," said former San Jose police Chief Joseph McNamara, a criminal justice expert at Stanford's Hoover Institution. "If we were talking about getting this armored car versus after-school programs for kids, the armored car wouldn't compete well."

But let's get back to Jaycee Dugard, who was able to attend school after being kidnapped in 1991, but was instead raped repeatedly by Garrido and held captive for 18 years.

Miss Dugard was 11 when she was kidnapped. She was waiting at a bus stop near her stepfather who watched in horror as she was snatched up and driven away in a car. He chased on a bicycle but was unable to catch up. Authorities have been unable to locate her until August 26, when 58 year old Phillip Garrido came into his parole agent's office in the San Francisco Bay area and turned himself in.

Why did Garrido turn himself in?

Two members of the UC Berkeley police force, Lisa Campbell and Ally Jacobs interacted with Garrido and both of his “daughters” when he came to inquire about holding a campus event related to a group called "God's Desire." His insane rantings and the fearful demeanor of the girls alarmed the two women, so Jacobs ran a background check and discovered he was a registered sex offender on federal parole for kidnapping and rape. After a second meeting with Garrido the next day, she called his parole officer in Concord, who seemed surprised to hear about the girls. He asserted Garrido didn’t have any daughters.

From what I can glean from news reports, that parole officer did nothing more than request Garrido come into his office. That’s when this lunatic showed up with his wife, Miss. Dugard and her daughters, and turned himself in.

Jacobs called her ability to assess the situation a combination of police intuition combined with mothers intuition.

Garrido confessed to the kidnapping and was arrested along with his wife. Authorities allege Miss. Dugard was held as a prisoner in the backyard encampment all these years and gave birth to two daughters, ages 11 and 15, who were fathered by Phillip Garrido. Both Garrido and his wife have entered not guilty pleas.

In addition to the 911 call in 2006, July 2008 a task force composed of East Contra County police agencies, spearheaded by the Sheriff's Office, conducted a sweep of registered sex offenders to confirm they were living at the address they gave authorities. The visits included a stop at Garrido's home but the responding officer wasn’t aware that he was a registered sex offender. He left after talking with Garrido in front of the house.

Garrido's parole agent also made visits to the Antioch home but never saw Dugard or her children.

Let me state something clearly here: Law Enforcers aren't to blame for this. Our laws are.

Until we reprioritze our laws, until we end the drug war legalizing and regulating drugs as we do tobacco and alcohol, our police will have to continue to enforce the laws as they are written. And we will continue to have funding and resources diverted to a war that we cannot, and are not, winning.

Our law enforcers will continue to be distracted.

A quick internet search produces an article reporting that on Mar. 15 of 2006--the same year the neighbors reported children living in Garridos backyard--authorities "completed a four-month wiretap surveillance of prominent North Richmond drug-dealing suspects with a massive raid of at least 12 homes in Contra Costa and Solano counties. " Some may argue that eliminating drugs and drug dealers from community is as important as apprehending monsters like Garrido. But do you really think that March 15 drug bust will do that? Is the drug problem solved? No. Investigations, arrests, prosecutions and incarcerations will not put eliminate drugs from Costa County or anywhere else in the U.S.

The longer we execute the “War on Drugs,” the more we see proof of how this policy has failed. The trillion dollars spent since 1970 has brought us 35 million arrests and done nothing to eliminate drugs from society.

Legalizing and regulating drugs will eliminate the ongoing meth problem that takes up so much time and resources of Costa County law enforcers. California accounts for 85 percent of total U.S. methamphetamine production and Contra Costa County has become a hotbed of meth production in Northern California, with more than 100 labs seized each year since 1998.

LEAP - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - works to educate the public about the failure of our $69 billion-a-year War on Drugs. They also say that law enforcers want to be able to do their sworn duty of keeping society safe instead of enforcing this failed policy.

Phillip Garrido is clearly a menace to society:

In 1977 Garrido was sentenced for a sex attack on a 25-year-old casino worker and 50 years for kidnapping her. He was granted parole in 1988, three years before Miss Dugard vanished.

What do you think that Costa County officer would have done, what actions do you think the county sheriffs department or the parole officer would have taken if the Garridos neighbor had reported to say that a convicted sex offender was growing marijuana in his back yard?

The FBI reports in its Uniform Crime Reporting Program that Contra Costa county completed 6,436 total drug violation arrests out of 34, 377 arrests in 2000. The number for sex offenses? 265. Offenses against family and child: eight.

California citizens should all be asking these questions of the Contra Costa sheriff's department: What's the ratio of narcotics officers compared to those assigned to the sexual assault unit -- and what hours do they work? Or the child abuse unit? Is there a child abuse unit? What are the budgets for these units? What is the budget for the narcotics unit? How many narcotics raids did the department conduct while Miss Dugan was being raped and help prisoner by Phillip Garrido?

I can assure you of this—had that neighbor called the Sheriffs department to report Garrido was growing marijuana or cooking meth, those officers would have gone further than the front porch.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Join the Speakers Bureau

The following is from Shaleen Title, who is the new Speakers Bureau Director for LEAP:

There are so many worthwhile drug policy reform organizations out there, but what makes LEAP different is our Speakers Bureau of credible witnesses to the War on Drugs. We currently have over 70 active Speakers, comprised of current and former police officers, narcotics officers, DEA agents, prosecutors, judges, and other criminal justice professionals who are speaking out about the failure of the War on Drugs.

And now we are recruiting new speakers! LEAP is growing fast - we have three new staff members and dozens of new volunteers who have offered to help book speakers. The support for new speakers is already in place. If you are a current or former criminal justice professional and you agree with LEAP's mission, please help us toward our goals of educating the public, media, and policymakers on the failure of current drug policy and restoring the public's respect for law enforcement!

To apply to become a new speaker, there are only four requirements:

1. That they are current or former members of law enforcement;

2. That they believe the US war on drugs was, is, and forever will be, a failure;

3. That they wish to support alternative policies that will lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ultimately ending prohibition;

4. That they always give the appearance of a professional speaker.

Because LEAP relies on the credibility of its speakers in everything we do and every bit of progress we make, we do hold our speakers to the highest standard of professionalism. We also ask our speakers to complete one "LEAP action" a month - this can range anywhere from 2 minutes (commenting on a story online and mentioning LEAP) to a couple hours (writing an Op-Ed) to a weekend (attending a conference on behalf of LEAP).

Since starting with LEAP last month, I've had an amazing time working with our talented speakers. Thank you to everyone for such a warm welcome. For the past eight years, I've been working with Students for Sensible Drug Policy and other organizations as a student leader and volunteer in Illinois. After a little time in the corporate world, I realized I needed to devote all my effort to helping this cause. The passion that LEAP members have is incredible - I'm thrilled by the outpouring of support we received this weekend after putting out a call for volunteers. We are seeking to grow our Speakers Bureau and have it represent the diversity of the criminal justice and law enforcement communities -- so spread the word that we are recruiting!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Commissioner Julian Fantino

Shaleen Title has written a guest post for tomorrow that encourages current and former law enforcement officers to join our Speakers Bureau. First, however, I wanted to share this quotation with you:

"If the writer can, as he should, feel that he has the constitutional entitlement to free speech, he also needs to realize that my rights and those of police officers in this country are no less and he needs to come to terms with the fact that when we picked up our badge to serve the citizens of Canada, we did not at the same time surrender our rights to speak and be heard about issues that not only impact on our safety as police officers, but equally so on the safety of all Canadians."

This quotation is from Commissioner Julian Fantino, published March 2nd, 2009 in a letter to the editor for the Owen Sound Sun Times.  As Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police - the second largest police force in Canada - he is in charge of 5600+ officers.

He was writing about the debate over conducted energy weapons (eg. Tasers) and not the legalization and regulation of drugs. But the principle is similar and the Commissioner's meaning is clear: police officers should not be afraid to speak publicly on issues that affect officer and citizen safety.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Drug War Kills 15,000 Americans a Year

We've been watching as the official death toll in Mexico's drug war ticks up and up each and every day. But would you believe that there's no similar official tally here in the U.S.?

Thankfully, Baltimore narc (and LEAP member) Neill Franklin and Esquire columnist John H. Richardson teamed up and did some math.
One cop straight out of The Wire crunches the numbers with's political columnist to discover that America's prohibition of narcotics may be costing more lives than Mexico's — and nearly enough dollars for universal health care.
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