Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Press Release: Maryland Senator Corrects Police Chief in Marijuana Legalization Hearing

February 25, 2014
Contact: Darby Beck: darby.beck@leap.cc 415.823.5496


Anti-Legalize-and-Regulate Cops Accidentally Highlight Own Ignorance of Drug War Issues

Pro-Legalize-and-Regulate Cops Guardedly Optimistic About Future of Law Enforcement

ANNAPOLIS, MD–The oppositional side of the hearing on legalization and regulation of marijuana in the Maryland Senate today turned into a comedy of errors courtesy of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and Maryland Sheriffs’ Association. Amongst other items, the gallery erupted in laughter and outrage after Annapolis Chief of Police Michael Pristoop cited a hoax story about deaths attributed to marijuana overdose in Colorado. He was publicly corrected by one of the presiding senators, who pulled up the hoax on his phone and explained the story was a joke.

Other questionable statements included Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis’s point that marijuana shouldn’t be legalized because police would have to retrain expensive drug-sniffing police dogs, an officer making light of the dangers of alcohol use, a DA asserting “no one goes to jail for marijuana,” and comments on how absent (constitutionally required) probable cause other than the supposed smell of marijuana, police would be less able to conduct pretextual stops such as stop-and-frisk.

At one point, Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-MD 20) questioned this power, repeatedly cited by criminal justice policy experts as a primary cause for racial inequities in arrest rates, asking Sheriff Lewis about his own ability to distinguish good guys from bad. He then cited a 1999 New York Times article that said of the sheriff, “Black, black, black, black. It is what Mike Lewis sees.”

“The official testimony of the Chiefs’ Association saddens me as a police commander. My motto has always been ‘Respect the police. Demand reform,’” commented Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) board member Captain Leigh Maddox (Ret.). “Today many police gave testimony that was so clearly flawed it no doubt caused a lot of people to lose respect for a profession of which I am proud to have been a part. I continue to remain hopeful they will come around.”

“I’m not going to get into the safety or danger of marijuana–the destructive policy of prohibition is what we’re discussing here today. But any college student can tell you no person has ever died of a marijuana overdose. If police don’t bother to educate themselves before testifying before the state senate in the issue, how is anyone supposed to take seriously their commitment to establishing the best marijuana policy–not for the funding it brings their departments in asset forfeiture and federal grant revenue–but for the people of Maryland?” asked LEAP executive director Major Neill Franklin (Ret.).



  1. Reading this makes me want to cry... after coming "of age in the 1970's", this kind of sincerely has been so lacking from then, when I became aware of the politics around me, and how insidious it can be ".Qouted from the article this is golden:..commented Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) board member Captain Leigh Maddox (Ret.). “Today many police gave testimony that was so clearly flawed it no doubt caused a lot of people to lose respect for a profession of which I am proud to have been a part. I continue to remain hopeful they will come around.”

    Until now I would consider this statement to be dis-ingenuine, a ploy, something not to be trusted. But how can it, this, this statement be anything but a sincere recognition of the facts? Wow, almost 60 and having lived my whole life under the guise of a lie. The truth is finally coming out. And just as well late, then never, though the truth is hard to conceal for long, it's simply a measure of "long..."

    75+ years... that's a long time!

  2. It should read that those chiefs and sheriffs took time out of their schedules to attend something so important to them. To bring together a collection of executives for this purpose should shed light on the passion and dedication they possess for the profession and problem. They bring experience and expertise from what they have seen in the front lines from the entire departments. Attacking the Chief for his efforts does nothing for LEAP. If you are trying to recruit LE support don't attack the same member pool?
    LEAP leaves many unanswered questions? This issue is wide and deep and after 25 years of law enforcement I don't agree legalization will be answer.

    1. Chief of Police Michael Pristoop should be fired. Shame on you for defending this complete moron! Teenagers know that it's impossible to OD on pot. And this piece of garbage makes $147,000 a year! Again, SHAME ON YOU JOE ALLEN. Then again, you're probably related to him or something. The entire city of Annapolis should be ashamed and their citizens should demand he be fired.

  3. Dear Joe Allen, Please ask the questions you think are unanswered. Thank you, Drew.

  4. To Joe Allen... what has criminalization of a plant that has many benefits accomplished? What is more important in the schedules of LE that "Serve and Protect" the people was "interrupted" by this assembly of chiefs? In the scheme of life in America, have you considered what is legal, the consequences and how society copes with those legal products without intimidation, without arrests, without SWAT Raids, without shooting people or family pets, without breaking up families and ending brilliant potential careers has failed to do in controlling addictions and crime when you believe so firmly that for marijuana we MUST PROHIBIT??? Why?

    For 75 years + the political mantra in this country has been to fabricate, lie, cheat, elaborate, and incite a demonic, deadly and insane policy of Reefer is Madness! How is it any more madness than alcoholic fueled violence, cancer and heart-attacks from cancer for tobacco, potential mental retardation from mercury dental fillings, insanity derived from once illegal "dirty books" by Henry Miller, Norman Mailer, Huxley, Anais Nin, Lawrence?

    What is the purpose and goal of prohibition and when does it become worst than the crime? The answer? When authority has to make things up to demonstrate a need.

    Joe, those Chiefs and Sheriffs work for the American people to serve and protect them. When doing so means destroying those people they serve and vowed to protect is based on fantasy and fabrication, don't you think a few minutes to meet and discuss it is worth the time?

    After 40 years of lies, deceit, political gerrymandering I believe it's well past time to legalize! Your 25 years in LE taught you that pot users are evil people like child rapists, murderers, terrorists... I understand that... it's like being taught spiders are bad, step on them.

    I haven't stepped on a spider in 40 years since I realized they have as much right to live as i do, and if they bite me, I see a doctor. I don't call the police. They have bigger fish to fry! Namely, child rapists, kidnappers, murderers and thieves.


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