Pubdate: Thu, 14 Feb 2013
Source: News Record, The (U of Cincinnati, OH Edu)
Copyright: 2013 The News Record


Police Officials Discuss Legalization of Drugs With UC Students

Two retired police officers spoke to University of Cincinnati 
students Tuesday about the potential benefits to legalizing all forms of drugs.

The Students for Sensible Drug Policy at UC invited officers from the 
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition group to speak at Zimmer Hall, 
where approximately 20 students participated in a question and answer session.

Peter Christ, a retired police captain from Buffalo and co-founder of 
LEAP, said there are both active and inactive police officers who 
believe law enforcement isn't the best way to combat drug usage in 
America, and if anything, it exacerbates the problem.

"If drugs are always going to be a part of our society, there's only 
one thing we have to discuss, and that is who is going to control the 
marketplace," Christ said. "The current policy we have in America has 
gangsters, thugs and terrorists controlling the market. We at LEAP 
happen to think that's a bad idea."

Christ noted LEAP does not claim to know how to regulate the drug 
market, but nevertheless wants to end drug prohibition.

Part of the reason LEAP has gained so much traction since it started 
in 2002 is the authority law enforcement officials bring to the 
argument, Christ said.

"You may not agree with our conclusion, but don't tell me I don't 
understand the problem," Christ said. "The problem seriously is not 
the drugs. The problem is the policy we've instituted to deal with the drugs."

Former Cincinnati Police Caption Howard Rahtz argued the drug policy 
should focus more on treatment programs as opposed to punishing drug 
users through police force, which pushes users toward the drug 
cartels and away from the help they might need.

In Rahtz's opinion, move to legalize drugs could also stimulate the 
struggling economy.

"I want to take the billions of dollars that are currently in the 
illegal market, and transfer them into the hands of the legal, 
regulated economy," Rahtz said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom