Pubdate: Sun, 16 Aug 2009
Source: Alamogordo Daily News (NM)
Copyright: 2009 Alamogordo Daily News
Author: Elva K. Osterreich, Associate News Editor
Cited: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Bookmark: (Law Enforcement Against 
Prohibition Speakers)


Law Enforcement Group Promotes New Way of Thinking About Ending Drug War

Drug warriors from across the country are banding together to ask 
people to support the legalization of drugs.

Judges, prosecutors, prison wardens, corrections staff and police 
officers have organized to educate the public about the damage and 
cost of the war against illegal drugs.

The premise of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP, is the 
war on drugs cannot be won and the benefit of regulating, taxing and 
controlling these substances far outweighs the cost in tax dollars 
and human lives trying to suppress them.

"We are spending more than $80 billion a year to arrest, prosecute, 
and incarcerate people in the war on drugs," said Mike Jones, a 
speaker for LEAP who was visiting Otero County during the county fair 
this weekend.

Jones, who now lives in Rancho de Taos, spent 20 years with the 
Gainesville, Fla. police department. His first year there was spent 
as an undercover narcotics agent, and his last three years were as 
deputy chief of police.

"It was obvious to me the effort to control drugs was doomed to 
fail," he said. "It was impossible to achieve. We were spending time 
dealing with narcotics when we could have been using resources in 
different ways."

Jones said his anti-drug war position was not popular in Florida.

A few years ago, after he retired to New Mexico, Jones found LEAP on 
the Internet, joined the cause, contributed, bought bumperstickers 
and volunteered for the speakers bureau.

"After 40 years of fighting the drug war, drugs are cheaper, stronger 
and easier to get than ever," Jones said. "So after 40 years we 
haven't achieved our goals. Any company failing at goals and 
objectives for 40 years wouldn't be in business."

Over that 40-year time period, Jones said, violence associated with 
drugs has continued to escalate. He said it's like a chess match with 
the good guys coming up with new ways to fight and the bad guys 
matching by coming up with violent solutions every time.

More money poured into the drug war means "more troops, more guns, 
more violence and the drugs continue to flow," Jones said.

By legalizing and regulating drug use, not only would the violence be 
eliminated, but negative health issues would be reduced, impurities 
and mystery substances would be eliminated, Jones said.

The first step, he added, is for lawmakers and policy makers to take 
swift action.

"Citizens need to advise their representatives to end the insanity 
and move forward," he said.

The goal of LEAP is to education people on the issue, Jones said.

"This is not a partisan issue," he said. "It effects everyone. One of 
our members will tell you his views are just to the right of Atilla 
the Hun but drugs need to be legal."

LEAP does not advocate the use of legal or illegal drugs, Jones said.

"We believe that is a personal decision attached to personal responsibility."
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