Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Law Enforcement Leaders Ask Department of Justice to Respect State Marijuana Laws

 Group Cites Public Safety Concerns Created by Illegal Marketplace

 Teleconference With Colorado and Washington Law Enforcers at 12:00 PM ET

 WASHINGTON, DC – This morning a former narcotics cop delivered a letter signed by 73 current and former police officers, judges, prosecutors and federal agents to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him not to interfere with the wishes of the voters of Colorado and Washington State to legalize and regulate marijuana.

"We seem to be at a turning point in how our society deals with marijuana," said Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the group that authored the letter. "The war on marijuana has funded the expansion of drug cartels, it has destroyed community-police relations and it has fostered teenage use by creating an unregulated market where anyone has easy access. Prohibition has failed. Pretty much everyone knows it, especially those of us who dedicated our lives to enforcing it. The election results show that the people are ready to try something different. The opportunity clearly exists for President Obama and Attorney General Holder to do the right thing and respect the will of the voters."

Neill Franklin delivers a letter to the Department of Justice
There will be a teleconference for reporters interested in speaking with Mr. Franklin and other law enforcement signatories of the letter, as well as an NAACP leader, today at 12:00 PM ET. Please call 1-800-311-9403 (Passcode: "Marijuana"). Individual interviews are also available. The text of the letter delivered today to Eric Holder is online at http://www.leap.cc/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/leap-letter-to-doj.pdf

The signatories of the letter collectively represent more than 1,100 years of experience in law enforcement.  

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is a group of police, judges, prosecutors, corrections officials and federal agents who, after witnessing the harms of the drug war firsthand, are now devoted to ending that war. More info at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeMarijuana.com.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 20, 2012
CONTACT: Tom Angell -- (202) 557-4979 or media@leap.cc
                    Darby Beck -- (415) 823-5496 or darby.beck@leap.cc

November 20, 2012

The Honorable Eric Holder
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Mr. Attorney General and Our Colleagues in the Department of Justice,

As fellow law enforcement and criminal justice professionals we respectfully call upon you to respect and abide by the democratically enacted laws to regulate marijuana in Colorado and Washington. This is not a challenge to you, but an invitation – an invitation to help return our profession to the principles that made us enter law enforcement in the first place.

We went into law enforcement, despite its long hours and constant frustrations, because we wanted to serve our communities. We wanted to save people, to protect them, and there are few more selfless and noble callings on this earth. But the second we overthrow the will of the people, we fail to live up to the promise of that calling.

The great American political writings upon which this country was founded were based in John Locke’s concept of the social contract, which recognizes that the authority of police, and of all government, is derived from the people. And the people have spoken. To disregard the fact is to undermine the legitimacy of the ideas for which our forefathers fought and died.

This is not merely an academic argument. August Vollmer, father of professional policing and primary author of the Wickersham Commission report that served to bring an end to the prohibition of alcohol, opposed the enforcement of drug laws, saying that they "engender disrespect both for law and for the agents of law enforcement." His words ring as true today as they did in 1929. After 40 years of the drug war, people no longer look upon law enforcement as heroes but as people to be feared. This is particularly true in poor neighborhoods and in those of people of color, and it impacts our ability to fight real crime.

One day the decision you are about to make about whether or not to respect the people’s will may well come to be the one for which you are known. The war on marijuana has contributed to tens of thousands of deaths both here and south of the border, it has empowered and expanded criminal networks and it has destroyed the mutual feeling of respect once enjoyed between citizens and police. It has not, however, reduced the supply or the demand of the drug and has only served to further alienate – through arrest and imprisonment – those who consume it.

At every crucial moment in history, there comes a time when those who derive their power from the public trust forge a new path by disavowing their expected function in the name of the greater good.  This is your moment. As fellow officers who have seen the destruction the war on marijuana has wrought on our communities, on our police forces, on our lives, we hope that you will join us in seeking a better world.


Executive Director Stanford “Neill” Franklin, Baltimore, MD
Retired State Police Major (34 years law enforcement experience)

Board and Advisory Board Members

Jack A. Cole, Medford, MA
Retired Police Detective Lieutenant, New Jersey State (26 years)

Peter Christ, Syracuse, NY
Retired Police Captain (20 years)

Stephen Downing, Los Angeles, CA
Retired Deputy Chief of Police (20 years)

James E. Gierach, Chicago, IL
Former Drug Prosecutor (12 years)

Leigh Maddox, Esq., Baltimore, MD
Retired Police Captain (17 years)

Joseph McNamara, Stanford, CA
Retired Chief of Police, Kansas City, MO and San Jose, CA (35 years)

Terry Nelson, Granbury, TX
Retired Customs and Border Protection Aviation/Marine Group Supervisor in Texas, Florida and Latin America (32 years)

Tony Ryan, Sioux Falls, SD
Retired Lieutenant Police Officer, Denver PD (36 years)

Richard Van Wickler, Stoddard, NH
Superintendent, Department of Corrections (25 years)


MacKenzie Allen, Santa Fe, NM
Former Master Police Officer and Drug Detective in Seattle and Los Angeles (15 years)

Daniel-Paul Alva, Philadelphia, PA
Former Assistant District Attorney (2 years)

John Amabile, Brockton, MA
Former Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General (4 years)

James Anthony, Oakland, CA
Former Community Prosecutor (3 years)

Dean Becker, Houston, TX
Former Air Force Security Police Officer (3 years)

Nate Bradley, Sheridan, CA
Former Deputy Sheriff, Wheatland PD (5 years)

Arnold J. “Jim” Byron, Burlington, WA
Retired United States Customs Inspector in Minnesota and Washington State (31 years)

Jerry Cameron, Saint Augustine, FL
Retired Chief of Police (17 years)

George T. Cole, Chicago, IL
Retired Senior Special Agent (26 years)

Beth Comery, Providence, RI
Former Police Officer (5 years)

William John Cox, Long Beach, CA
Retired Police Officer and Prosecutor in Los Angeles and San Diego (40 years)

Richard F. Craig, Travelers Rest, SC
Former Lieutenant Police Officer, Rockland, MA PD (33 years)

Tim Datig, Egg Harbor, NJ
Retired Police Chief, St. Aldans Police Department, Vermont (28 years)

John Delaney, Bryan, TX
Retired District Court Judge, State of Texas (29 years)

Det. David Doddridge, St. George, UT
Retired Military Police Officer and Narcotics Detective, LAPD (21 years)

James A. Doherty, Seattle, WA
Former Corrections Officer and Prosecutor (7 years)

Sean Dunagan, Washington, DC
Former DEA Senior Intelligence Research Specialist (13 years)

Richard E. Erickson, Lakeport, CA
Retired Patrolman (22 years)

Jay Fleming, Mohave Valley, AZ
Former Narcotics Investigator, Spokane, WA (15 years)

Shelley Fox-Loken, Portland, OR
Retired Probation & Parole Officer (19 years)

Leonard I. Frieling, Boulder, CO
Former Judge (8 years)

Michael J. Gilbert, Ph. D., San Antonio, TX
Former Corrections Practitioner (12 years)

Diane M. Goldstein, Santa Ana, CA
Retired Lieutenant Police Officer (21 years)

Judge James P. Gray, Santa Ana, CA
Retired Superior Court Judge (32 years)

Jamie Haase, Greenville, SC
Former Special Agent and Customs Inspector, Baltimore and Laredo (10 years)

Karen E. Hawkes, Boston, MA
Retired State Trooper, First Class (13 years)

Patrick Heintz, Agawam, MA
Retired Correctional Officer/Counselor (20 years)

Wesley E. Johnson, J.D., Tulsa, OK
Former Police Officer (5 years)

Russell Jones, New Braunfels, TX
Former Narcotics Detective (10 years)

Jeff Kaufman, New York, NY
Former Police Officer, Special Assignment (8 years)

Kyle Kazan, Long Beach, CA
Retired Police Officer (5 years)

Leo E. Laurence, J.D., San Diego, CA
Former Deputy Sheriff

David M. Long, J.D., San Francisco, CA
Former Special Agent in Florida and California (9 years)

John Lorenzo, Southbury, CT
Retired Chief of Marine Police (20 years)

Paul R. MacLean, Concord, NH
Retired State Trooper (20 years)

Sean McAllister, Denver, CO
Former Assistant Attorney General of Colorado (3 years)

M. P. McCally, Renton, WA
Former Probation Counselor (7 years)

James W.F.E. Mooney, Washington County, UT
Retired Former Narcotics Undercover Agent and Corrections Official (10 Years)

Peter Moskos, New York, NY
Former Baltimore City Police Officer (2 years)

Richard D. Newton, Aviation Interdiction Agent, El Paso, TX
Retired US Customs & Border Protection in Florida, Puerto Rico and elsewhere (30 years)

Patrick K. Nightingale, Esquire, Pittsburgh, PA
Former Assistant District Attorney (6 years)

James J. Nolan - Morgantown, WV
Former Police Lieutenant and FBI Unit Chief, Wilmington, DE (13 years)

Nick Novello, Dallas, TX
Police Officer (30 years)

John O’ Brien, Fullerton, CA
Former Sheriff, Genessee County, MI (12 years)

Chad Padgett, Walton, IN
Former Correctional Officer (6 years)

James S. Peet, Ph.D., CFE, Sumner, WA
Former National Park Service Ranger, Police Officer, Alexandria, VA (6 years)

Titus Peterson, Denver, CO
Former Deputy District Attorney (5 years)

Howard L. Rahtz, Cincinnatti, OH
Retired Police Captain (30 years)

Richard Renfro, Detroit, MI
Retired Special Agent/Financial Criminal Investigator/Supervisor (25 years)

Charles M. Rowland II, Beavercreek, OH
Former Special Prosecutor (3 years)

Bob Scott, Franklin, NC
Retired Executive Officer (15 years)

Dwayne Sessom, Lawton, OK
Former Deputy Sheriff (3 years)

Carol Ruth Silver, San Francisco, CA
Retired Sheriff’s Department Prisoner Legal Services Director (1 year)

Ethan Simon, Albuquerque, NM
Former Assistant District Attorney (6 years)

Norm Stamper, Seattle, WA
Retired Chief of Police, San Diego and Seattle (34 years)

Eric E. Sterling, Washington, DC
Former Counsel to the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary (10 years)

Thomas P. Sullivan, Chicago, IL
Former U.S. Attorney (4 years)

Betty Taylor, St. Louis, MO
Former Police Chief, Winfield PD (7 years)

Jason Thomas, Denver, CO
Former Detention Officer and Deputy Marshall (2 years)

John Tommasi, Durham, NH
Retired Police Sergeant (37 years)

Kyle Vogt, Port St. Lucie, FL
Former Military Police Officer (4 years)

Richard K. Watkins, Ed. D., Huntsville, TX
Retired Senior Prison Warden (20 years)

Rusty White, Bridgeport, TX
Former Correctional Officer, Arizona State (7 years)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fellow Law Enforcers Ask Eric Holder & Justice Department to Respect State Marijuana Laws

US Attorneys Urged to Use Discretion to Allow Successful State Implementation

Teleconference with Prosecutors, Cops & Judges Who Say Let States Legalize

WASHINGTON, DC -- On Tuesday a group of veteran law enforcement professionals will deliver a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice urging the Obama administration to respect state laws that legalize and regulate marijuana. Voters in Colorado and Washington State opted decisively for marijuana legalization on November 6 and national polls show majority support for replacing marijuana prohibition with legal regulation.

After personally delivering the letter signed by dozens of police, prosecutors, judges and federal agents to the Department of Justice at 9:00 AM ET, 34-year veteran narcotics cop Neill Franklin will join other law enforcers for a 12:00 PM ET teleconference call to answer questions from journalists.

WHO: 34-year veteran Baltimore narc Neill Franklin, former Seattle chief of police Norm Stamper, 36-year veteran former Denver police lieutenant Tony Ryan, former police lieutenant commander Diane Goldstein & California NAACP President Alice Huffman.

WHAT: Delivery of letter to Attorney General Eric Holder's office at Department of Justice & teleconference with law enforcers
WHEN: Tuesday, November 20 -- Letter delivery at 9:00 AM ET; Teleconference at 12:00 PM ET

WHERE: Letter delivery at U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530; Teleconference at (800) 311-9403 (passcode: "Marijuana")
"During his first term, President Obama really disappointed those of us who hoped he might follow through on his campaign pledges to respect state medical marijuana laws," said Neill Franklin, the Baltimore narc who serves as executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "Still, I'm hopeful that in his second term he'll realize the political opportunity that exists to do the right thing. Polls show 80% support for medical marijuana, and in Colorado marijuana legalization got more votes than the president did in this most recent election."

Tony Ryan, a retired 36-year veteran Denver police lieutenant, added, "From a public safety perspective, it's crucial that the Obama administration let Colorado and Washington fully implement the marijuana regulation laws that voters approved on Election Day. There's nothing the federal government can do to force these states to arrest people for marijuana possession, but if it tries and succeeds in stopping the states from regulating and taxing marijuana sales, cartels and gangs will continue to make money selling marijuana to people on the illegal market. Plus, the states won't be able to take in any new tax revenue to fund schools."

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Flint “Leaders” Disregard Will of Voters, Say They Will Ignore Voter-Passed Marijuana Decriminalization Measure

 Law Enforcement Officials Declare Their Disapproval of City’s Undemocratic Approach

 FLINT, MI –The City of Flint has announced that despite a successful ballot measure decriminalizing the adult possession of marijuana approved by 54% of voters last week, it would continue to prosecute people for marijuana possession. Today Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of law enforcement officials who support legalization of marijuana publicly condemned the city’s actions. 

“This is in direct violation of the wishes of voters who opted for a decriminalization approach similar to those successfully implemented in cities across the country,” said Executive Director Neill Franklin. “Keeping marijuana illegal benefits no one. It’s expensive, ineffective, and destroys the relationship between police and the communities they serve. The citizens of Flint spoke loud and clear in favor of change. City officials should respect the wishes of the voters who put them into office and can remove them just as easily.”

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, corrections officials and others who, after witnessing the harms of the drug war firsthand, are now devoted to ending that war. More info at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeMarijuana.com

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 14, 2012
CONTACT: Tom Angell – (202) 557-4979 or media@leap.cc

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pro-Legalization Cops Cheer Marijuana Reform Election Results

 Nine States and Localities Vote for More Sensible Drug Laws

 Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Speakers Available for Comment

In a historic night for drug law reformers, on Tuesday Colorado and Washington passed measures legalizing and regulating marijuana, Massachusetts became the 18th state to allow medical marijuana and six localities voted to modernize policies on marijuana. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of cops, judges, prosecutors and other law enforcement officials advocating for the legalization of drugs, has speakers on hand to comment.

Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief, had this to say: “I cannot tell you how happy I am that after forty years of the racist, destructive exercise in futility that is the war on drugs, my home state of Washington has now put us on a different path. There are people who have lost today: drug cartels, street gangs, those who profit from keeping American incarceration rates the highest in the world. For the rest of us, however, this is a win. It’s a win for taxpayers. It’s a win for police. It’s a win for all those who care about social justice. This is indeed a wonderful day.”

Reformers are now focused on successfully implementing the new marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington, and on determining which states are most likely to enact legalization in the near future.

“Because of the victories in all of these places, we awakened this morning in a slightly better country. It’s a little safer, a little bit more just,” said Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and 34-year veteran of the Baltimore and Maryland State police departments. “And when the rest of the country follows the lead pioneered by the voters of Colorado and Washington, we’ll be closer to living in a country with a drug policy that is truly about public safety.” 

Following is a list of all marijuana reform measures on the ballot across the country and a list of LEAP speakers available to discuss these historic reforms:

Colorado: Marijuana legalization - Passed!
Washington: Marijuana legalization - Passed!
Oregon: Marijuana legalization – Failed.
Massachusetts:  Medical marijuana - Passed!
Arkansas: Medical marijuana – Failed.
Detroit, MI: Decriminalization of adult marijuana possession - Passed!
Flint, MI: Decriminalization of adult marijuana possession - Passed!
Ypsilanti, MI: Marijuana to be lowest law enforcement priority - Passed!
Grand Rapids, MI: Decriminalization of adult marijuana possession - Passed!
Kalamazoo, MI: Three medical marijuana dispensaries permitted in city - Passed! 
Burlington, VT: Recommendation that marijuana should be legalized - Passed! 
Montana: Referendum restricting medical marijuana likely to pass. 

Sampling of LEAP speakers available for comment:

* Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief
* Matt McCally, former corrections official

* Tony Ryan, retired 36-year veteran of the Denver police force
* Jason Thomas, former Colorado detention officer and marshal’s deputy
* Sean McAllister, former assistant attorney general for the state of Colorado 

* Karen Hawkes, retired Massachusetts state trooper and medical marijuana patient 
* Jack Cole, LEAP co-founder and former undercover narcotics agent

Other Speakers
* Neill Franklin, LEAP executive director and 34-year Baltimore narcotics cop
* Stephen Downing, Former LAPD Deputy Chief of Police

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CONTACT: Tom Angell – (202) 557-4979 or media @leap.cc
                  Darby Beck - (415) 823-5496 or darby@leap.cc

Full Election Results for All Measures

What an incredible night! Nine victories for drug law reform all across the country! In case you missed it, here is a summary of results and links to the pages where they can be found for all marijuana measures appearing on the ballot last night. 

Colorado Amendment 64: Marijuana legalization - Passed! http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/CO/43032/110893/en/summary.html#

Washington I-502: Marijuana legalization - Passed!

Oregon Measure 80: Marijuana legalization – Failed. http://www.oregonvotes.gov/results/2012G/645489344.html

Massachusetts Question 3: Medical marijuana - Passed!

Arkansas Issue 5: Medical marijuana – Failed.

Detroit, MI Proposal M: Decriminalization of adult marijuana possession - Passed!

Flint, MI City Code Amendment: Decriminalization of adult marijuana possession - Passed!

Ypsilanti, MI: Marijuana to be police’s lowest priority - Passed!

Grand Rapids, MI Proposal 2: Decriminalization of adult marijuana possession - Passed!

Kalamazoo, MI: Three medical marijuana dispensaries permitted in city - Passed!

Burlington, VT: Recommendation that marijuana should be legalized - Passed!

Montana: Referendum restricting medical marijuana likely to pass.

Journalists wishing to arrange interviews with LEAP speakers should contact Tom Angell at media@leap.cc or Darby Beck at darby@leap.cc. 

More Election Results

On an otherwise spectacular evening for drug law reform, and amid what appear to be victories for decriminalization  in Flint and Ypsilanti, voters in Arkansas defeated Issue 5, an initiative to allow medical marijuana, and Oregonians fail to approve their own statewide legalization measure. 

LEAP speaker and former federal agent Jamie Haase on Arkansas:

"While medical marijuana consistently polls at 70-80% support nationwide, no one thought it was going to be easy passing a medical marijuana law in the South. However, the close election result tonight does show that there is a large and growing constituency of supporters here and that this is an issue that needs to be taken seriously by politicians. While people who use medical marijuana with their doctors' recommendations are still at risk of being arrested in Arkansas, we know that the day when the law will allow medical professionals rather than politicians to make medical decisions is closer than ever."

LEAP Executive Director and 36-year police veteran Neill Franklin on Oregon: 

"We had, of course, hoped to complete the trifecta for marijuana legalization wins tonight, and the fact that we fell short in Oregon is disappointing. But the voters of Colorado and Washington have shown that, just as occurred during the repeal of alcohol prohibition, the states will be the ones setting the standard for nationwide reform."

Journalists wishing to arrange interviews with LEAP speakers should contact Tom Angell at media@leap.cc or Darby Beck at darby@leap.cc. 

End-of-the-Night Thoughts

On the night of this historic election, I am once again humbled and awed by the devotion of my colleagues who worked so hard for the victories we have achieved today and by the wisdom of the voters in Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, Detroit and elsewhere who cast their votes for a smarter and more humane justice system. Most of my experience with the war on drugs has been characterized by loss. Today the story of my experience has turned to one of hope. The pace of reform is increasing. It took us a long time to get here, but we have finally begun to win the war on drugs by realizing it is time for that war to end.

Thanks to all of you, 
Neill Franklin, Executive Director, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Journalists wishing to arrange interviews with LEAP speakers should contact Tom Angell at media@leap.cc or Darby Beck at darby@leap.cc. 

Detroit Voters Decriminalize Marijuana

In the latest in a series of a victories for drug law reform advocates, Detroit voters just passed Proposal M, decriminalizing marijuana.  

"The Motor City once again proved itself a leader in civic innovation as voters opted to decriminalize adult possession of small amounts of marijuana tonight," said LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin, "It will now join the ranks of other states and localities who have successfully implemented similar policies, demonstrating to the rest of the country the wisdom and justice of such models." 

Journalists wishing to arrange interviews with LEAP speakers should contact Tom Angell at media@leap.cc or Darby Beck at darby@leap.cc. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Washington ALSO Legalizes Marijuana!

Not one but two states have voted to legalize marijuana tonight! Washington just joined Colorado in making history!

You know LEAP has something to say about it.  Here's a reaction from LEAP speaker and former Seattle police Chief Norm Stamper:
"With these two victories tonight in Colorado and Washington, the movement for drug policy reform has never been stronger. These votes will embolden leaders of countries in Latin America and elsewhere who have wanted to change their drug policies but haven't because of pressure from the U.S. government. As more and more states follow the example set here tonight, the federal government will have little choice but to accept the will of the people both here and abroad. Expect to see previously silent legalization supporters around the globe seizing the momentum created by tonight's historic victories."
Journalists wishing to arrange interviews with LEAP speakers should contact Tom Angell at media@leap.cc or Darby Beck at darby@leap.cc. 

Colorado Makes History By Legalizing Marijuana!!!

This is what we've been waiting for! According to the local  NBC affiliate,voters in Colorado just made their state the first ever to legalize marijuana.

Here's what LEAP speaker Tony Ryan, a 36 year veteran of the Denver police department, has to say:
"Tonight, Colorado voters made history by passing the first marijuana legalization law in the country. As a law enforcement professional who arrested more people for marijuana than I'd like to admit, I've been waiting years for this day. Tonight I'm proud to say that my home state is the first to strike a blow against decades of marijuana prohibition. Now we must seize the momentum kickstarted by voters tonight and make sure that more lawmakers take action in state legislatures and on the congressional level."
Journalists wishing to arrange interviews with LEAP speakers should contact Tom Angell at media@leap.cc or Darby Beck at darby@leap.cc. 

Massachusetts Legalizes Medical Marijuana!

The Boston Globe just declared the voters of Massachusetts have passed an initiative making the Bay State the 18th in the nation to enact a medical marijuana law.

Here's a quick reaction from LEAP speaker Karen Hawkes, a former Massachusetts state trooper who has used medical marijuana to ease her own pain:
"Today Massachusetts voters made the compassionate and sensible choice to let medical decisions be made by doctors and their patients. As a former Massachusetts state trooper and as someone who has personally benefited from the use of medical marijuana, I thank my fellow Bay Staters for this decision. My former colleagues will never again have to arrest a seriously ill person just for following their doctor’s recommendation and I myself  will no longer have to choose between living in pain and living my life in fear."

Stay tuned right here all night to see the results of other marijuana initiatives across the country as they are announced.

Journalists wishing to arrange interviews with LEAP speakers should contact Tom Angell at media@leap.cc or Darby Beck at darby@leap.cc. 

Montana Votes on Medical Marijuana

Voters in Montana just reaffirmed their support for medical marijuana, voting against a referendum that would have restricted the voter-approved law.

Here's a quick reaction from LEAP's Tony Ryan, a 36-year veteran Denver cop who has spent a lot of time in Montana:

"Tonight the voters of Montana reaffirmed their commitment to responsible regulation of the medical marijuana industry. They have seen that the current law not only helps seriously ill patients have safe access to their doctor-recommended medicine, but it creates jobs, generates tax revenue and takes money away from gangs and cartels who would otherwise control street sales of marijuana."
“It’s unfortunate the Montana Senate felt it necessary to override the democratically made decision of its constituents with a bill limiting the medical marijuana law currently on the books in the state. Tonight’s defeat at the ballot is more reflective of voter confusion than of voter will, which was already demonstrated with the passage of I-148."

Journalists wishing to arrange interviews with LEAP speakers should contact Tom Angell at media@leap.cc or Darby Beck at darby@leap.cc. 

What to Watch for Tonight: Marijuana Reform on the Ballot

Tonight will be one to remember for drug law reform! Marijuana reform measures are on the ballots of several states and localities, including three statewide legalization measures in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Check in with the LEAP blog frequently throughout the night: We will be posting periodic updates on the following measures: 

Colorado, Amendment 64: Initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults over 
Oregon, Measure 80: Initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults over 21.
Washington, I-502: Initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults over 21.
Arkansas, Issue 5: Initiative to allow medical marijuana for certain conditions.
Massachusetts, Question 3: Initiative to allow medical marijuana for certain conditions.
Montana, Referendum 124: Referendum on Senate Bill 423 that changed medical 
marijuana law approved by voters in I-148. Yes vote would overturn the democratic law 
and further restrict medical marijuana.
Detroit, MI, Proposal M: Initiative amending city code to remove criminal penalties for 
possession of less than one ounce of marijuana on private property by adults (21+).
Flint, MI: Initiative amending city code to remove criminal penalties for possession of 
less than one ounce of marijuana on private property by adults (19+).
Ypsilanti, MI: An initiative making enforcement of laws against possessing small 
amounts of marijuana by adults (21+) the city’s lowest law enforcement priority.
Grand Rapids, MI, Proposal 2: Would make possession of marijuana a civil offense, 
punishable by a fine only (like a traffic ticket) rather than jail time.
Kalamazoo, MI, Charter Amendment Proposal #7: An initiative that would allow up to 
three medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.
Burlington, VT: Question to measure support for statewide marijuana legalization.

Journalists seeking to interview pro-legalization law enforcers or looking for any further information should contact Tom Angell at media@leap.cc and/or Darby Beck at darby@leap.cc.

Monday, October 29, 2012

One Marijuana Arrest Every 42 Seconds in U.S.

New FBI Numbers Reveal Failure of "War on Drugs"

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Just over one week before voters in three states will decide on ballot measures to legalize and regulate marijuana, the FBI has released a new report today showing that police in the U.S. arrest someone for marijuana every 42 seconds and that 87% of those arrests are for possession alone. 

A group of police, judges and other law enforcement officials advocating for the legalization and regulation of marijuana and other drugs pointed to the figures showing more than 750,000 marijuana arrests in 2011 -- more than 40 years after the start of the "war on drugs" -- as evidence that this is a war that can never be won. With more than 1.5 million total drug arrests drug arrests being reported in the U.S. in 2011, that’s one drug arrest every 21 seconds. 

 "Even excluding the costs involved for later trying and then imprisoning these people, taxpayers are spending between one and a half to three billion dollars a year just on the police and court time involved in making these arrests," said Neill Franklin, a retired Baltimore narcotics cop who now heads the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). "That’s a lot of money to spend for a practice that four decades of unsuccessful policies have proved does nothing to reduce the consumption of drugs. Three states have measures on the ballot that would take the first step in ending this failed war by legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana. I hope they take this opportunity to guide the nation to a more sensible approach to drug use.” 

Today's FBI report, which can be found at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/persons-arrested/persons-arrested, shows that 81.8% of drug arrests were for possession only, and just under half (49.5%) of all drug arrests were for marijuana. 

One hopeful sign is that these numbers have decreased slightly from those of the prior year. This is perhaps reflective of the growing number of communities across the country that have recognized the need for drug law reform and implemented new policies designed to alleviate the harms of the drug war, such as the deprioritization of marijuana enforcement. 

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, corrections officials and others who, after witnessing the harms of the drug war firsthand, are now devoted to ending that war. More info at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeMarijuana.com

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 29, 2012 

CONTACT: Tom Angell - (202) 557-4979 or media@leap.cc

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Marijuana Legalization Films and the Cops Who Love Them (And the Donors Who Love Those Cops)

Last night’s Long Beach screening of the new documentary Legalize It was a smashing success, drawing crowds from many quarters to hear the tale of a pioneering social movement and the future of drug law reform. The screening was hosted by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs. A number of LEAP speakers appear in the documentary, which followed the narrowly defeated 2010 campaign to legalize marijuana in California, and were on hand afterward to discuss the issues raised in the film. 

“It boggles my mind that marijuana is still illegal,” said former police officer Kyle Kazan, “Few policy changes would do more to end budget deficits, increase public safety, restore community trust in the police and improve racial relations in this country than ending the prohibition of marijuana. The Prop. 19 campaign may not have succeeded in changing the law, but it did change a lot of minds. It set the stage for reform in places like Washington, Oregon and Colorado, where voters are now poised to make history by ending these ridiculous laws once and for all.”

A panel discussion featuring law enforcement, clergy and others followed the film. There was also an awards ceremony honoring the pioneering medical cannabis educators at Oaksterdam University. Many in the room remarked on the parallels with initiative campaigns to legalize marijuana currently on the ballot in three states and several localities.

LEAP speaker and retired Redondo Beach Lieutenant Commander Diane Goldstein commented, “The fact that we sold out this theater is indicative of a growing belief in the failure of current marijuana policy. Public support has never been higher. Cities and states all across the nation are instituting reforms and at this point, change is inevitable. When that change comes, we will all be indebted to those on the Prop. 19 campaign who first forged the path toward ending prohibition.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Willie Nelson Marijuana Legalization Documentary Presented by Pro-Legalization Cops

Special Screening with Chance to Meet Film’s Stars at Pre-Film Wine & Appetizer Reception

Panel Discussion, Award Presentation to Follow

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition presents a special preview screening of Willie Nelson’s Luck Films’ new documentary Legalize It on the Prop. 19 campaign to legalize marijuana in California in 2010. A discussion of the film, the campaign and similar measures currently on the ballot in Washington, Oregon and Colorado will follow the screening. Guests purchasing a Gold Status ticket will also have a chance to mingle with many of those portrayed in the film at a private reception beforehand.

What: Legalize It, a documentary about the Prop. 19 campaign
When: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 7-10pm
Where: Art Theatre of Long Beach, 2025 E. 4th Street, Long Beach
How: Tickets available online and start at $10; Reception starts at $50. Please see the website www.leap.cc/california-benefit/ or contact Diane Goldstein (diane.goldstein@leap.cc or 714.232.3722) to learn more or for information on sponsorship packages.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is a nonprofit organization of cops, judges, prosecutors and other law enforcement officials dedicated to ending the prohibition of marijuana. Several LEAP speakers who appear in the film, including former LAPD Deputy Chief Stephen Downing and Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate and former judge Jim Gray, will be on hand for interviews. Jeff and Dale Sky Jones and Richard Lee of Oaksterdam University will be on hand to receive a special award, and Rick Schlosser of the California Council of Churches, Producer Ravit Markus and other drug reform activists will attend the private reception and appear on the panel following the film.

Legalize It, a labor of love from award-winning filmmaker Dan Katzir and producers Ravit Markus and Lati Grobman of Campbell Grobman Films, is a sensitive and humorous behind-the-scenes look at a colorful campaign, the unlikely people running it and the disparate groups who both opposed and endorsed it. In the end, the passion and courage of the campaign leaders transformed a local ballot measure into a mainstream political topic and changed minds the world over.

“In any battle, the people who go in first are going to take one hell of a beating. In the fight to legalize marijuana, the Prop. 19 campaign folks were those people. If and when ballot measures in other states succeed, it will be because these folks cleared the way.” – LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin

See more about the film and its Long Beach screening at www.legalizeitmovie.com/ or www.leap.cc/california-benefit/.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents law enforcement officials who, after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs," came to believe that prohibition only serves to worsen substance abuse and violence. More info at 

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