Pubdate: Thu, 13 Jun 2013
Source: Northfield News, The (VT)
Contact:  2013 Northfield News Publishing, LLC
Author: Louisa Tripp


It's time to end the war on drugs, said one of the founders of LEAP, 
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, who spoke to the Northfield 
Rotary Club last week. Capt. Peter Christ (pronounced "Chris"), Vice 
Chair from the New York chapter of the group, told local Rotary 
members and guests present that society could save lives, reduce 
disease, crime and addiction as well as conserve the tax dollars the 
government is spending on the War on Drugs, if the drug laws were reformed.

Mr. Christ is a retired police chief with a 20 year record in law 
enforcement. He spoke about how declaring drug addiction intervention 
as a "war" means that there is a possible win/end and a clear 
outcome. Addictive human behavior, though, contradicts the thought 
that we could ever eradicate drug addiction.

Comparing our war on drugs to the liquor prohibition during the 
1920's, Mr. Christ pointed out that it was not the selling of liquor 
that created gangsters such as Al Capone; it was making the sale of 
liquor illegal that created the underground market and made the 
gansters the enforcers of the market.

When alcohol was legalized, the enforcement of the market moved back 
into government control and reduced the associated violence.

In the same way, it is the drug cartels that are enforcing the 
underground drug market today with all the violence and lack of 
standards we have today.

Mr. Christ is not advocating making all drugs legal; only moving away 
from the total prohibition we have today and have more measured laws 
and sentences. With mandatory sentences for even non-violent drug 
offences, states around the country have been forced to release 
rapists and those convicted of other violent crimes to ease 
overcrowding in prisons and not allowed to release those convicted of 
non-violent drug offences.

Mr. Christ also points out that the privatization of some our prisons 
has led to a clear conflict of interest.

He noted that when California was working on their drug laws, one of 
the largest lobbies against easing of sentences was the private 
correction facilities. Mr. Christ advocates not allowing 
privatization of what is essentially a government function and 
critical to our legal system.

 From LEAP's webpage ( "Law Enforcement Against 
Prohibition is an international 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization of 
criminal justice professionals who bear personal witness to the 
wasteful futility and harms of our current drug policies.

Our experience on the front lines of the "war on drugs" has led us to 
call for a repeal of prohibition and its replacement with a tight 
system of legalized regulation, which will effectively cripple the 
violent cartels and street dealers who control the current illegal 
market," the page relates.
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