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Just Say Now: Obama and Marijuana (Action Alert)

Friends,

Marijuana reform is dominating the list of questions President Obama will be answering as part of his continued State of the Union address tomorrow night. Pot is already in the top questions - can you make sure the top questions for Obama are about marijuana?

This is an incredible opportunity to hear Obama's views on drug policy. Our friends at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) have a great question at the top of the list, and we're asking supporters to help keep it there for Obama to see.

Click here to visit the Ask Obama YouTube page. Then search for "POLICE OFFICER" on the right, and click the thumbs up button of the marijuana question to cast your vote.

Retired Deputy Sheriff and LEAP speaker MacKenzie Allen asks:

"As a police officer, I saw how waging the war on drugs has cost a trillion dollars and thousands of lives but does nothing to reduce drug use. Should we discuss legalizing marijuana and other drugs, which would eliminate the violent criminal market?"

It's an important question that we think Obama should answer. Can you help us make sure he does by giving LEAP's question a 'thumbs up'?

The deadline for voting is tonight at midnight! Click here to search for "POLICE OFFICER" and give LEAP's question a thumbs up so we can all hear what President Obama has to say about marijuana reform.

President Obama will begin answering questions from his YouTube page tomorrow, January, 26th, so time is running out. We want to hear what Obama has to say about the war on drugs, and this is the perfect forum for him to do so.

Thank you so much for your continued support.

Brian Sonenstein
JustSayNow.com

  

Marijuana Legalization Bills Filed in Massachusetts, Washington

Legislators in two states on opposite ends of the country have introduced bills that would legalize marijuana. In both cases, the bills are a continuation of legalization efforts that did not reach fruition last year.

Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson
In Washington state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, chair of the Human Services Committee, Tuesday introduced House Bill 1150, which would legalize marijuana for persons 21 and over, provide for regulation and taxation of marijuana commerce, and see pot sold through state liquor stores, with growers licensed by the Liquor Control Board.

"Drug cartels and black-market dealers have made it easier for kids to get cannabis than alcohol," Dickerson said. "The Liquor Control Board has a proven track record of shielding kids from its products. I’m confident our bill will break the back of cannabis crime-syndicate profits and make it possible to preserve vital health services across Washington in these very difficult budget times."

The bill has 13 cosponsors and has been referred to the Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. That's where it died last year.

On the opposite coast, Massachusetts Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst) Monday filed House Docket Number 1091 (H1091 for short), An Act to Regulate and Tax the Cannabis Industry. The bill will be assigned a bill number later.

It would immediately remove all of Massachusetts criminal and civil penalties upon persons over the age of 21 who possess or cultivate marijuana for personal or share it with other adults. It would also set up a system to regulate, license, and tax commercial cultivation, possession, and distribution of marijuana when such regulation is lawful under federal law.

As in Washington, the Massachusetts bill didn't make it through last year. But advocates in both states continue to plug away.

Agent Fired for Legalization Views Sues Border Patrol

The US Border Patrol is being sued by a former agent who was fired in 2009 after expressing opinions in support of drug legalization and of sympathy for illegal immigrants to a coworker. In a lawsuit filed in US district court for the Western District of Texas in El Paso last week, former agent Bryan Gonzalez, 26, alleges he was fired for exercising his First Amendment rights to free speech.

Bryan Gonzalez (r) graduates from the Border Patrol Academy (Image courtesy Bryan Gonzalez via ACLU-NM)
Gonzalez was fired just before finishing his two-year probationary period with Customs and Border Protection's El Paso sector. That sector includes New Mexico and West Texas, and the ACLU of New Mexico (ACLU-NM) has taken up Gonzalez' case.

"Firing a public servant because of their political opinions is an egregious violation of the First Amendment," the ACLU-NM said in a press release. "We cannot require nor should we expect uniformity of thought within our law enforcement institutions. Purging the ranks of government employees who fail 'ideological purity' tests is about as un-American as it gets."

According to the ACLU-NM, things went south for Gonzalez after a conversation with a coworker: "Gonzalez pulled his vehicle up next to a fellow CBP agent who was in the same vicinity," the group said. "In the course of a casual discussion concerning the drug-related violence in Mexico, Gonzales remarked that he believed that legalization of drugs would be the most effective way to end the violence. He also related to the other agent that, as a former dual US-Mexican citizen, he understood the economic factors that drive migrants to cross the border without documentation to seek work," the group explained.

"Word of Gonzalez’s opinions on these matters quickly spread to his supervisor, who informed the Joint Intake Command in Washington, DC. Internal Affairs launched an investigation soon after, and the Border Patrol terminated Gonzalez in October 2009," the ACLU-NM noted.

In his termination letter, the agency wrote that Gonzalez held "personal views that were contrary to the core characteristics of Border Patrol agents, which are patriotism, dedication, and esprit de corps."

"I was terminated not because my service was inadequate, but because I hold certain opinions that are shared by millions of my fellow Americans," said Gonzalez. "I am no less patriotic or dedicated to excellence in my work because I respectfully disagree with some of our current border enforcement policies. It was wrong for the US Border Patrol to retaliate against me for exercising my free speech rights guaranteed by the very Constitution I swore to uphold."

Gonzalez is gaining support from at least one law enforcement group. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). LEAP issued a statement Tuesday saying it stood by Gonzalez.

"There's no doubt that the so-called 'war on drugs' is a gigantic failure and that it causes violence, hurts our economy and forces dedicated law enforcers to risk their lives in the line of fire for a lost cause," said Terry Nelson, a former US Border Patrol agent who is now a board member for LEAP. "But whether you think we should legalize drugs or not, you have to support the right of brave law enforcers like Bryan Gonzalez to exercise the First Amendment and share their views on policies that impact them on a daily basis."

Gonzalez and the ACLU-NM are asking the court to find that the Border Patrol violated his First Amendment free speech rights and are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

El Paso , TX
United States

State Senator: Should Indiana Legalize Marijuana?

Location: 
IN
United States
A state senator is asking a question she hopes will spur debate over sentencing laws and possibly save Indiana millions of dollars: Should the state legalize marijuana? Sen. Karen Tallian, D- Portage, is sponsoring a bill that would direct the criminal law and sentencing study committee to examine Indiana's marijuana laws next summer and come up with recommendations. Senate Corrections Committee Chairman Brent Steele, R-Bedford, said he would give Tallian's proposal a legislative hearing.
Publication/Source: 
The Republic (IN)
URL: 
http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/604978fe95284f7e9051ea1963c14085/IN-XGR-Legalizing-Marijuana/

Want to See Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) Ask President Obama a Question? (Action Alert)

Dear Friends,

In an ongoing effort by the White House to engage the public via the internet, President Obama will answer questions from YouTube users in a live-streaming event this Thursday, January 27, two days after his annual State of the Union address.

LEAP speaker MacKenzie Allen, a retired deputy sheriff, wrote in to ask:

 “As a police officer, I saw how waging the war on drugs has cost a trillion dollars and thousands of lives but does nothing to reduce drug use. Should we discuss legalizing marijuana and other drugs, which would eliminate the violent criminal market?”

YouTube has stated that the president will answer the questions that receive the most votes. LEAP’s question is currently among the top-voted entries.  Let’s keep it going!  To vote, please visit http://www.youtube.com/askobama and use the search box on the right side to find the question above from LEAP speaker MacKenzie Allen, then cast your vote. The easiest way to find the correct entry is to paste a phrase from the question, like “as a police officer,” into the search box. Here's what you should see:



This is an incredible opportunity for us to get LEAP’s message in front of the nation, and we have until Wednesday at midnight EST to make it happen.  Please click here vote now!

Thank you,

Major Neill Franklin - Retired
Executive Director

Your donation puts LEAP speakers in front of audiences. To support LEAP's work by making a contribution, please click here.


           

121 Mystic Ave. Suites 8&9
Medford, MA 01255
(781) 393-6985 info@leap.cc

We need help growing our all-encompassing movement of citizens who want to end the failed "war on drugs," so please invite your family and friends to learn about LEAP.
 

 

 

Washington State Bill Proposes to Sell Marijuana Through State Liquor Stores

Location: 
WA
United States
State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, is again proposing that the state legalize marijuana and regulate it much like alcohol. House Bill 1550, filed today, proposes that marijuana be sold through state liquor stores to adults aged 21 and over, and that the state Liquor Control Board issue licenses to commercial growers. Dickerson sponsored similar legislation in the previous legislative session, but the bill was voted down in the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee.
Publication/Source: 
The Seattle Times (WA)
URL: 
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politicsnorthwest/2014032323_billwouldsellpotthroughstateliquorstores.html

Border Patrol Agent Fired for Views on Drug Legalization (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 25, 2010

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

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Fired for Drug Legalization Views

Agent Sues to Defend First Amendment Rights

EL PASO, TX -- Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of police officers, judges, prosecutors and federal agents, is standing in support of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent who was fired for saying in a casual conversation that legalizing and regulating drugs would help stop cartel violence along the southern border with Mexico.  After sharing his views with a colleague, the fired agent, Bryan Gonzalez, received a letter of termination stating that his comments are "contrary to the core characteristics of Border Patrol Agents, which are patriotism, dedication, and espirit de corps."  Last week, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, Gonzalez filed a lawsuit seeking damages.

"There's no doubt that the so-called 'war on drugs' is a gigantic failure and that it causes violence, hurts our economy and forces dedicated law enforcers to risk their lives in the line of fire for a lost cause," said Terry Nelson, a former U.S. border patrol agent who is now a board member for LEAP. "But whether you think we should legalize drugs or not, you have to support the right of brave law enforcers like Bryan Gonzalez to exercise the First Amendment and share their views on policies that impact them on a daily basis."

Gonzalez, the fired agent, specifically mentioned LEAP and its website - http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com - as a part of the conversation that led to his being fired.

To read Gonzalez's complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, visit: http://aclu-nm.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/GONZALEZ_COMPLAINT_FILED.pdf

Previously, in a separate case, one of LEAP's pro-legalization police speakers, Jonathan Wender, sued the Mountlake Terrace, Washington police department after having been fired for expressing his views on the failure of the "war on drugs." In January 2009, the department settled, reinstating Wender and giving him back pay and full benefits.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA 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 http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com.

#       #       #

Location: 
El Paso, TX
United States

Will Obama Answer Marijuana Legalization Questions Online?

This Thursday, President Obama will field questions submitted from the world of social media during a live-streamed YouTube interview. In two prior online question-n-answer sessions with the American public since taking office over two years ago, the question of ending America’s failed Cannabis Prohibition was a top question both times –- which speaks to the importance and urgency of the public’s want to actually control cannabis via taxation and regulation. However, regrettably, President Obama has dismissed ending Cannabis Prohibition in no uncertain terms.
Publication/Source: 
Opposing Views (CA)
URL: 
http://www.opposingviews.com/i/will-obama-answer-pot-legalization-questions-online

Dutch Parliament to Be Lobbied to Legalize All Recreational Drugs

Location: 
Netherlands
The recently formed Dutch coalition government is expected to be handed a 40,000-signature petition in the next few months aimed at opening a debate in parliament on the legalization of all recreational drugs. The petition is being promoted by the Netherlands Drugs Policy Foundation, and has high-profile support from former EU commissioner Fritz Bolkestein and former deputy prime minister and scientist Dr. Els Borst-Eilers.
Publication/Source: 
The Irish Times (Ireland)
URL: 
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2011/0124/1224288164475.html

Want to See Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) Ask President Obama a Question? (Action Alert)

Friends,

Go to http://www.youtube.com/askobama and use the search box on the right side to find the question below and then vote it up! Or choose "sorted by popularity," as we're currently at number one!

Q: "As a police officer, I saw how waging the war on drugs has cost a trillion dollars and thousands of lives but does nothing to reduce drug use. Should we discuss legalizing marijuana and other drugs, which would eliminate the violent criminal market?"

We'd really appreciate it if you could activate your Facebook, Twitter and e-mail followers behind this effort.  This is a huge opportunity to get our message in front of the nation, and we have until this Wednesday at midnight EST to get as many votes as it takes to stay on top.

Thanks!

Tom

--

Tom Angell, Media Relations Director

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

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