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Pro-Legalization Cops Banned from Anti-Drug Event

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There's something very seductive about police officers speaking out against the drug war and explaining how their experiences led them to oppose prohibition. Maybe that's why government officials don't want LEAP represented at an upcoming conference on substance abuse:

CHICAGO, IL -- A group of police officers, judges and prosecutors who support legalizing and regulating drugs is crying foul after a federal agency reneged on a contract that gave the law enforcers a booth to share their anti-prohibition views at a government-sponsored treatment conference in Chicago next week.

After accepting registration payment from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration initially told the police group that it was canceling its booth at the National Conference on Women, Addiction and Recovery because of overbooking and space concerns.  However, Sharon Amatetti of SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment later informed LEAP that, in a decision rising all the way to SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde's office, the group was actually being disinvited for its viewpoint. [LEAP]

You know you're doing something right when the government aims to silence your argument instead of attempting to refute it. Despite the Obama Administration's efforts to promote a "new approach" to drug policy, you don't have to look very hard to find the same old tricks being deployed in the drug war debate.

Just listen to the pitiful justification put forth by one of the conference organizers:

On a phone call with LEAP, Pamela Rodriguez of conference co-host TASC, Inc. of Illinois said that the police group wasn't welcome at the event because "our policy perspective and our policy objectives are different from you guys."  She added, "It is the emphasis on prohibition vs. legalization that, for me at least, is the glaring dissonance with regard to our agenda."

The only "glaring dissonance" that exists here is the notion that LEAP's view on policy somehow means their agenda must be different than everyone else's. They are public servants working to protect communities and reduce the harms of drugs just like everyone else at the event. You can disagree with their perspective, but you can't possibly deny that their views and experience are relevant to the conversation.

Excluding LEAP from the discussion sends a message that you're afraid of what they have to say, and if your job is to defend the drug war status quo, you probably should be.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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the glaring dissonance is

the glaring dissonance is between dogma addicts and those who are rational and open minded. dogma by definition is antithetical to fact and sound reasoning. hard core prohibitionists are hard core dogmatists.

So much for our first ammendment right's...

Kiss that good-bye along with other "American Right's/Privileges"

I guess I feel kind of 'drugged' for thinking that this President would be different then any other. When will accountability, for ones actions and words, come back into play? What will have to be done for a real "revolution."

LEAP barred

So much for hearing both sides of this issue.You know the prohibition side is reeling when they fear the other viewpoint so much that they tell police officers they don't want their take on this issue. It's become very clear that the anti drug people know that they really have nothing to add to the debate. Like someone else just said it's pure dogma vs science and truth.

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