Pubdate: Tue, 01 Dec 2009
Source: Maneater, The (Uof Missouri - Columbia, MO Edu)
Copyright: 2009 The Maneater
Author: Lyndsie Manusos
Bookmark: (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)


Cole said users should be rehabilitated, not sent to

Jack Cole, the executive director of Law Enforcement Against
Prohibition, spoke at MU on the legalization of drugs.

The event took place at 7 p.m. Monday in Tucker Hall and was sponsored
by Students for Sensible Drug Policies. Students from the National
Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws also attended.

Cole is a retired detective lieutenant with 26 years of experience in
the New Jersey State Police force. Cole also worked as an undercover
narcotics officer for 14 years and co-founded LEAP in March 2002.

The presentation consisted of how the war on drugs was unjust and a
"self-perpetuating policy disaster." Cole said the best way to deal
with drug use is to handle it as a health problem rather than a crime

"You can get over an addiction, but you can't get over a conviction,"
Cole said. "It will track you every day of your life."

MU graduate Sean Randall and former member of SSDP and NORML said Cole
offered a unique perspective.

"Jack Cole is a great speaker," Randall said. "Rarely do we get to
hear from people on the front lines fighting the drug war."

According to LEAP's official Web site, the group is made up of present
and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice
communities who are speaking out about the failures of our existing
drug policies.

Cole said the goal of legalizing drugs is to reduce profits for
illegal drug trade.

"The main alternative that we see is that we have to remove profit
motive," Cole said. "It's the profit motive that drives this and it's
unbelievably large."

According to his presentation, the war on drugs has cost around $1
trillion in U.S. tax dollars in the past 40 years. Cole said
legalizing drugs would reduce that amount.

"In the end, it saves us boat loads of money," Cole

Cole also said the amount of arrests has risen over time, with many of
those arrested including non-violent drug offenders. Cole said this
distracts law enforcement from protecting communities from more
violent crimes.

"We no longer have time to protect people from violent predators,"
Cole said. "This is a numbers game. Cops are promoted on the number of
arrests they make."

Sophomore Addie Schnurbusch is a member of SSDP and NORML. Schnurbusch
said she came to the event knowing much of the information that Cole
presented, but some of it was new to her.

"We want to get people like Cole to talk here," Schnurbusch said. "We
want people to get more educated. The power of knowledge is a good
thing to have cause then those people can go out and vote."

Cole said he has spoken for LEAP more than 950 times since the
founding of the organization. Many of his speeches have taken him
overseas and around the U.S.

"I've spoken in most of countries in Europe," he said. "Any place you
can name in the United States."

Cole also said legalization should include all drugs, not a particular

"The more dangerous the drug, the more reason to legalize it because
you can't regulate it unless you legalize it," Cole said. 
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