This is What a Drug Legalization Activist Looks Like

You've likely already seen the explosive mainstream media coverage of Tuesday's superb press event by our friends at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, but I wanted to share this image that didn't make it into the papers:

http://stopthedrugwar.com/files/LEAPvsONDCP.png
Photo by Irina Alexander

As we marched from the National Press Club over to the Office of National Drug Control Policy to deliver LEAP's report to the drug czar, many people on the street paused to stare. Who were these well-dressed men and women walking past the White House with a camera crew trailing behind? If they watched the evening news or read the paper the next morning, they now know the answer.

They are police, prosecutors, and prison wardens working to end the War on Drugs and they couldn't possibly have expected their message this week to reverberate any louder than it has. They are the definition of credibility in the drug war debate, and it is literally impossible to possess an informed opinion on these issues until you've carefully considered the concerns of these professionals and contemplated the solutions they propose.

That's why it's just such a shame – and really quite revealing – that the Drug Czar didn't invite them in when they arrived at his office to present the findings of LEAP's report. I know why I wasn't let in (I've written like 900 things condemning various drug czars for an exhausting array of outrages emerging from that office and wouldn't have stepped inside even if they let me, lest I might never be seen or heard from again). But I was just there to observe.

With us on Tuesday was Norm Stamper, who served as Police Chief of Seattle immediately prior to Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske. Their professional credentials are so remarkably similar, yet one relies on his vast experience to work towards fixing fundamental flaws in our drug policy, while the other cowers in his ivory tower in Washington, D.C. as he endeavors desperately to defend decades of unmitigated waste and destruction.

We'll see who history remembers as a champion of justice.

Our image posting system doesn't seem to allow a long enough caption to identify all of the LEAP marchers pictured above. Here is the rest of the caption, courtesy Eric Sterling: From Left, Howard Wooldridge, Executive Director, Citizens Opposing Prohibition (retired detective, Bath Township, Michigan); Eric E. Sterling, President, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (former assistant counsel, Subcommittee on Crime, U.S. House of Representatives); Norman Stamper, LEAP (former Chief of Police, Seattle, WA, author of Breaking Rank); Leigh Maddox, Special Assistant State's Attorney, Baltimore City, MD, Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland School of Law, (former Captain, Maryland State Police); Neill Franklin, Executive Director, LEAP (former Major, Maryland State Police and Baltimore City Police); Matthew Fogg, LEAP, (former Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal); Richard Van Wickler, Superintendent of Corrections, Cheshire County, Stoddard, New Hampshire; (not shown, Terry Nelson, former supervisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security).

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Thank you for making a difference!

Thank you for making a difference and bringing the right message to the drug czar. He was once police chief here in Buffalo, NY, where my first grandchild was a victim of the war on drugs. I'm hoping the drug war ends one day, people will be safe from death and misery from this endless war... 

Tell your Congressional Representatives -

Tell your Congressional Representatives -

It is time to "Change the Schedule of Cannabis, Cannabis Laws, and Drug Czar Laws"

Read and Sign the petition at

http://www.change.org/petitions/change-the-schedule-of-cannabis-cannabis-laws-and-drug-czar-laws

After you sign the petition, email your friendlies, share on facebook, or twitter from the petition page. If you have a website grab the widget so your visitors can sign it without leaving your website.

This petition uses laws passed by Congress to point out that by their laws, the laws must change. It begins -

It is difficult to understand and believe Congress enacted a law requiring a government official to lie and to ignore science and medical studies. This renders the Office unreliable and a fraud. Though 68 - 84 % of this nation, depending on the poll, wants to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis, and science and medical studies have proven the therapeutic benefits and medicinal value of cannabis, we have been forced to live with outdated Draconian laws. It is time to change this.

and continues

Try another way

I will say after years of working with congressional offices that attacking the messenger is a sure way to fail. Compliment the messenger, attack the message. Remember that Drug Czar took a job for a paycheck. It likely does not represent his personal views, so getting cooperation through whatever mutual ground you can find is THE strategy on the hill that will work. Attempts at intimidation, coercion, or blasting these people publicly or their offices just works against your end goal. 

Cooperate, dialog and be patient because all of these people change. Start your relationships on the bottom and plan out about 5 - 7 years, then people you have known for years will attain positions of influence. It is not just as simple as saying that they are lying bastards, no matter how true it is, you'll look like a mentally ill person hollering the world is ending if this is the approach you take and no one will listen to you.

 

Dan Francis, Executive Director

The Retail Compliance Association (RCA)

Well put, Mr. Francis, that

Well put, Mr. Francis, that has been my philosophy my entire life.

Actually....

I wasn't around for it, but I'd imagine the Anti-Prohibition movement began in a similar manner as you described, but rather than co-operation they received imprisonment.  Instead of dialog they received ridicule.  When they started at the bottom they were violently shaken free from the ladder. 33-35 years later those in positions of influence have grown deaf as a prerequisite to obtaining those positions.  And acting mentally ill in a moment of crisis is a natural response to an unbearable situation.

Inadequate caption

I think good photo-journalism deserves a decent caption:

From Left, Howard Wooldridge, Executive Director, Citizens Opposing Prohibition (retired detective, Bath Township, Michigan); Eric E. Sterling, President, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (former assistant counsel, Subcommittee on Crime, U.S. House of Representatives); Norman Stamper, LEAP (former Chief of Police, Seattle, WA, author of Breaking Rank); Leigh Maddox, Special Assistant State's Attorney, Baltimore City, MD, Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland School of Law, (former Captain, Maryland State Police); Neill Franklin, Executive Director, LEAP (former Major, Maryland State Police and Baltimore City Police); Matthew Fogg, LEAP, (former Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal); Richard Van Wickler, Superintendent of Corrections, Cheshire County, Stoddard, New Hampshire; (not shown, Terry Nelson, former supervisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security).

Thanks

Thank you Eric, I was able to recognize everyone but you (sorry) and the guy at the far right. Sorry they snubbed y'all!

WE NEED CHANGE...RON PAULS THE ANSWER

To me these people are modern day Heroes. I love and Respect all these people I just wanna see Ron Paul President in 2012, together Ron Paul and this Group of Fantastic individuals they will make change happen the very change Obama lied to us about. I'm ashamed to have Obama as a president. I'm an Italian/American and the day Obama hit office I thought wow ..USA what a great country I was born in , I thought wow this guys gonna change things, and you know what he didn't , hes a coward, a hypocrite and most of all hes a liar. Dear Mr President SHAME ON YOU!!, and shame on me for voting for you, If I could take my vote back I would. ARE NATIONS ONLY HOPE IS RON PAUL , HES THE ONLY CANDIDATE BESIDES JOHNSON WHO I BELIEVE CAN TURN ARE NATION AROUND.

 

LEGALIZE ALL DRUGS NOT JUST POT, I MEAN EVERYTHING. IF ANY PERSON RESPONDS TO THIS SAYING IM SOME STONER WHO WANTS ALL DRUGS LEGAL CAUSE I WANNA USE THEM, YOUR FAR OFF. IM A DRUG COUNSELOR AND FOR EXAMPLE HERES A STATISTIC THE BIG BAD SCARY HEROIN THAT EVERYBODY THINKS IS SOOOO BAD ONLY KILLS AROUND 2000 A YEAR ALMOST 3/4's OF WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED IF PROHIBITION WASN'T IN PLACE BECAUSE PEOPLE WOULD KNOW THE QUALITY AND STRENGTH , THERED BE SAFE INJECTION SITES TO PROVENT ALL NEEDLE BORN DISEASE AND OVERDOSE, THERE WOULD PRACTICALLY BE NO ONE DIENG FROM HEROIN IF IT WERE LEGAL , THE BLACK MARKET KILLS PEOPLE....BUT NO WE WILL SIT HERE LIKE  MORE THAN HALF OF AMERICA AND DRINK WHICH KILLS AROUND 350,000 PLUS A YEAR THEN ADD TABACCO IN THERES ANOTHER 500,000 DEAD A YEAR...AND YET WERE WORRIED ABOUT HARD DRUGS GIMME A BREAK...GET SOME SENSE AND READ PEOPLE EDUCATE YOURSELVES, IF HEROIN TOMMAROW OR CRACK ARE LEGAL TOMMAROW ARE YOU REALLY GONNA GO PICK SOME UP AND USE?? FUCK EVEN IF U DID..ITS YOUR BODY AND AS LONG AS YOUR NOT WORKING HIGH AND YOUR NOT DRIVING MY KIDS WHEN YOUR HIGH , OR DRIVING NEXT TO ME HIGH..I SAY GO DO YOUR THING PEACEFULLY IN YOUR HOME , YOUR NO WORSE THAN ANYWON...I DONT SEE ANY DIFFERENCE IN SOMEONE WHO COMES HOME AND SHOOTS UP..AS TO SOMEONE WHO COMES HOME AND DRINKS A SIX PACK...ID MUCH RATHER HANG WITH THE HEROIN ADDICT ATLEAST I WONT KNOW HES HIGH AND ATLEAST HE'LL BE COHERANT

A LEAP-FORWARD AND BRAVO!

i, can personally-testify; to the Salvations-of-Sanity, that eye witnessed in@ LONDON ca. 1960s; BECAUSE! AN VERY-NOTED AMERICAN-ARTIST, WAS ALLOWED AND ACTUALLY ADMINISTERED DRUG-THERAPY, BY THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT please

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <img> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <object> <param> <embed> <b>

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School