Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Black Government Employees Call for End to Racially Biased “War on Drugs”

Group Joins Police Officers in Calling for Move Toward Legalization

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Blacks in Government (BIG), a group representing the interests of African-American government employees at the federal, state, county and municipal levels, overwhelmingly passed a resolution at its national delegates meeting last week calling for an end to the failed and racially biased “war on drugs.” The resolution, which will be delivered to President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, calls for “alternatives to incarceration that may, in part, include a model to regulate and control the distribution of some drugs.”

The resolution pointed to the words of Maryland State Police Major Neill Franklin and U.S. Marshal Matthew Fogg, both members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of police, judges, prosecutors and prison wardens who support legalizing and regulating drugs. BIG and LEAP have noted that African Americans constitute 53.5 percent of all persons who entered prison because of a drug conviction despite the fact that blacks are no more likely than whites to use drugs.

“I personally witnessed racially biased enforcement procedures when I ran a joint DEA task force,” said Fogg, a former U.S. marshal and a past BIG national first vice president. “When I requested equal enforcement of upscale suburban areas, I met internal resistance.”

The BIG resolution calls for “a federal investigation for solutions to eliminate the pretense and continued arrest and incarceration of African Americans at extraordinarily disparate rates for drug related charges.”

In passing the anti-drug-war resolution, BIG joins other African-American groups that have taken similar positions, such as the NAACP, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators and the National Black Police Association.

“The war on drugs has put blacks behind bars for drug offenses at more than ten times the rate of whites, even though the evidence consistently shows that blacks are no more likely to use or sell currently illicit drugs than whites are,” Fogg added. “It is time to end this virtual race war.”

The full text of the BIG resolution can be seen at

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents, U.S. marshals and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. Info at

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CONTACT: Tom Angell – (202) 557-4979 or

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Opium Wars

Carel Edwards is the former head of the European Commission's Anti-Drug Policy Coordination Unit. His insightful blog - Opium Wars - is focused on the politics of the global drug war. Here is an except from his latest post:

How long will it take for our feeble and election-hungry politicians to take their eyes off the economy and to recognise that the bells are tolling for traditional prohibition of drugs and for the UN Conventions on drugs, at least in their present form. If they persist in "fighting" rather than regulating and reducing the side effects, we should expect a gradual slide into a form of society in which organised crime plays a major part in mainstream politics and in ordinary people's lives. Try to explain that to your children.

LEAP is fortunate to have him as a member of our advisory board!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Colorado Cop and Judge Collect Signatures for 2012 Marijuana Legalization Initiative

 Former Law Enforcers Say Marijuana Prohibition Has Failed and Harms Public Safety

 DENVER, CO --  Police officers, judges and other criminal justice professionals who once enforced Colorado's marijuana prohibition laws are now helping to get an initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana onto the state's 2012 ballot. This Wednesday a former Denver cop and a former Lafayette judge will participate in a signature gathering drive to support the new initiative by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

"During my 36 years as a Denver cop I arrested more people for marijuana than I care to remember, but it didn't amount to one bit of good for our citizens," said Tony Ryan, a former officer with the Denver Police Department and a board member for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "Keeping marijuana illegal doesn't do anything to reduce marijuana use, but it does benefit the gangs and cartels who control the currently illegal marijuana trade."

WHO: Cop and judge who support legalizing marijuana
WHAT: Signature gathering effort for 2012 marijuana initiative
WHEN: Wednesday, August 3 at 1:00 PM MT
WHERE: In front of the Denver City and County building, 1437 Bannock St., Denver

Another member of LEAP, former Lafayette judge Leonard Frieling, added, "When so many murders, rapes and robberies go unsolved, it makes absolutely no sense to keep taking up space in our courtrooms and jails with people arrested for marijuana possession. And even on the distribution end, no matter how many drug cartels and gangs we bust, there are always more criminals willing to step up and risk their lives and freedom for a chance at lucrative black market profits. Our state's voters have the power to strike a bigger blow against organized crime with this initiative to treat marijuana like alcohol than any amount of skill and dedication in the criminal justice system ever can."

The anti-prohibition law enforcers are just a few members of a huge statewide effort to collect signatures to place the marijuana legalization initiative on next year's ballot. More information about the initiative and details about how to get involved in the signature gathering drive can be found at

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, prison wardens, federal agents and others who want to legalize and regulate marijuana after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learning firsthand that prohibition is not only ineffective but causes violence and crime. More info is available at

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NEWS ADVISORY: August 2, 2011
CONTACT: Tom Angell, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - (202) 557-4979 or
                 Mason Tvert, initiative proponent  - (720) 255-4340 or
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