This week I received interview answers from Tom Angell, Media Relations Director for ‘Law Enforcement Against Prohibition’ (L.E.A.P.). In my opinion, this is one of, if not THE greatest asset the pro-marijuana movement has. The most vocal opponents to any legalization initiative, whether it’s the California Control & Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, Oregon’s Cannabis Tax Act of 2010, or Washington State’s I-1068, are almost always CURRENT members of law enforcement. So, who better to combat that type of PR than FORMER members of law enforcement? Fight fire with fire! Here are the answers from Mr. Angell:
Q: What is Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)?
A: Founded on March 16, 2002, LEAP is made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities from the United States and around the world, who have seen with their own eyes the failure of the current prohibition and criminalization approach to drug control. LEAP advocates for an end to all forms of prohibition and the implementation of sensible drug regulation and rehabilitation programs. In seven years we went from five founding police officers to a supporter base of that is 30,000-strong.
Q: Who makes up LEAP?
A: We are no longer composed of just police but also include judges, prosecutors, prison wardens, FBI and DEA agents, and others who seek to end the war on drugs. Anyone can join LEAP as a member (for free) at our website (CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com), but only current and former members of law enforcement can be speakers and sit on our board. LEAP currently has an active bureau of 75 speakers and membership in 86 other countries.
Q: What is LEAP’s goal and how are they seeking to accomplish this?
A: In short, LEAP’s goal is to reduce the multitude of harms resulting from the failed war on drugs. We do this by educating the public, the media, and policymakers about the failure of our current drug policy and especially by presenting true facts about what happens on the front lines of the war on drugs directly from people who were there to see it with their own eyes.
We also seek to restore the public’s respect for the police who have been forced to carry out the disastrous prohibition policy. To accomplish our goals, LEAP employs current and former law enforcement speakers to meet with civic groups, write letters to media outlets and policymakers, and testify before legislative hearings. We maintain a constantly growing speakers bureau staffed with knowledgeable and articulate former drug-warriors who describe the impact of current drug policies.
Q: How can people stay up-to-date on LEAP’s activities?
A: There are a few easy things that people can do to stay in touch with LEAP:
1) Visit our website at CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com and sign up for our free e-mail list there.
2) Become a fan of our Facebook page.
3) Follow us on Twitter.
Q: Is there anything readers can do to support LEAP?
A: Once you sign up for our e-mail updates and our Facebook posts, we’ll occasionally send you alerts to let you know when it’s time to take action about legislation and drug policy affecting your state.
Also, when you see a LEAP speaker coming to your area, try to attend and encourage your friends, family, and local politicians to come hear what the speakers have to say.
If you have friends or family in law enforcement, encourage them to take a look at our organization.
Finally, donations are of course always appreciated and help get our speakers to more events and locations to spread the truth about the terrible impact the war on drugs has had.