Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Former Indiana Corrections Officer Testifies for Marijuana Legalization

 Study Committee Weighs Overhaul of Indiana's Marijuana Laws at Thursday Hearing

 INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- A former officer with the Indiana Department of Corrections will testify in favor of legalizing marijuana before a special study committee of the state legislature on Thursday. The study committee will be evaluating the state's marijuana laws and considering alternatives such as legalization with taxation, decriminalization and medical marijuana.

Chad Padgett, a former corrections and youth services officer from Walton, will testify that, "Marijuana prohibition does not work and never has. As alcohol prohibition showed, making a drug illegal is the single most effective way to put it in control of violent gangs and drug cartels. By prohibiting marijuana, government gives up the right to control and regulate its production, distribution, and consumption. If marijuana was brought above-ground as a legal industry, we could regain control over it."

WHO: Former corrections officer who supports marijuana legalization, other advocates
WHAT: Hearing of Indiana Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee
WHEN: Thursday, July 28 at 1:00 PM
WHERE: Room 431, State House, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, Indiana

Padgett is speaker for the organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), an international group of police officers, judges, corrections officials, border agents and other criminal justice professionals who have witnessed the failures of the so-called "war on drugs" firsthand.

"We can have safe streets or marijuana prohibition, but not both," Padgett will testify. "We can prioritize violent crime and reserve horribly expensive and limited prison space for those who injure, kill, steal and cheat others, or we can continue to prioritize a war on drugs which has not succeeded by any measure."

Ceasing to arrest people for marijuana and regulating and taxing its sales could lead to more than $182 million a year in law enforcement savings and new revenue for Indiana, according to Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron.

"We have limited amounts of tax dollars, and the public has told us stop spending money," Sen. Karen Tallian, a leading champion for reevaluating the state's marijuana laws, told the Associated Press earlier this year. "So I think we need to examine now if we want to spend our tax dollars on marijuana arrests or on public education. Do we want to spend it on marijuana arrests or infrastructure?"

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, prison wardens, federal agents 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. More info at

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NEWS ADVISORY: July 27, 2011
CONTACT: Tom Angell - (202) 557-4979 or

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NAACP says end the "war on drugs"

The NAACP has just joined the list of prominent organizations and individuals calling for a major paradigm shift away from the failed and punitive "war on drugs" and toward a health-based approach with a resolution passed today at the organization's national conference in Los Angeles.

Neill Franklin, an African American former narcotics cop from Baltimore and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, presented on the need to end the "war on drugs" at the NAACP conference yesterday, and had this to say about the passage of the resolution:
"The NAACP has been on the forefront of the struggle for civil rights and social justice in this country for over a century. The fact that these leaders are joining others like the National Black Police Association in calling for an end to the 'war on drugs' should be a wake up call to those politicians - including and especially President Obama - who still have not come to terms with the devastation that the 'drug war' causes in our society and especially in communities of color."
Here's video of Neill presenting at an NAACP criminal justice summit in March:

NAACP's official press release follows.


President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous: Major step towards equity, justice, effective law enforcement

Contact: Ben Wrobel

(917) 846-0658

(Los Angeles, CA) – Today the NAACP passed a historic resolution calling for an end to the war on drugs.  The resolution was voted on by a majority of delegates at the 102nd NAACP Annual Convention in Los Angeles, CA.  The overall message of the resolution is captured by its title: A Call to End the War on Drugs, Allocate Funding to Investigate Substance Abuse Treatment, Education, and Opportunities in Communities of Color for A Better Tomorrow. 

“Today the NAACP has taken a major step towards equity, justice and effective law enforcement,” stated Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP.  “These flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African American communities must be stopped and replaced with evidenced-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America.” 

The resolution outlines the facts about the failed drug war, highlighting that the U.S. spends over $40 billion annually on the war on drugs, locking up low-level drug offenders – mostly from communities of color.  African Americans are in fact 13 times more likely to go to jail for the same drug-related offense than their white counterparts.

“Studies show that all racial groups abuse drugs at similar rates, but the numbers also show that African Americans, Hispanics and other people of color are stopped, searched, arrested, charged, convicted, and sent to prison for drug-related charges at a much higher rate,” stated Alice Huffman, President of the California State Conference of the NAACP.  “This dual system of drug law enforcement that serves to keep African-Americans and other minorities under lock and key and in prison must be exposed and eradiated.

”Instead of sending drug offenders to prison, the resolution calls for the creation and expansion of rehabilitation and treatment programs, methadone clinics, and other treatment protocols that have been proven effective.

“We know that the war on drugs has been a complete failure because in the forty years that we’ve been waging this war, drug use and abuse has not gone down,” stated Robert Rooks, Director of the NAACP Criminal Justice Program. “The only thing we’ve accomplished is becoming the world’s largest incarcerator, sending people with mental health and addiction issues to prison, and creating a system of racial disparities that rivals Jim Crow policies of the 1960’s.”

Once ratified by the board of directors in October, the resolution will encourage the more than 1200 active NAACP units across the country to organize campaigns to advocate for the end of the war on drugs. 

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private

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