Ex-police officer Jack Cole and other former cops formed Law Enforcement Against Prohibition three years ago to lobby for drug legalization. The group now has more than 1,700 people in 45 countries, says the San Antonio Express-News. About half of LEAP’s members are current or former law enforcement agents. “We were created to give voice to all members of law enforcement who believe the war on drugs is a dismal failure,” Cole said. The organization promotes regulation as a less harmful, more ethical and effective way to deal with drug use than keeping drugs illegal, a rare view in law enforcement circles.
In 14 years as an undercover narcotics officer in New Jersey, Cole collared more than 1,000 people on drug offenses. Now his mantra is: “You can get over an addiction. You will never get over a conviction.” Twelve states have reduced penalties for those caught with small amounts of the marijuana for personal use, and 12 have medical marijuana laws. One Bexar County, Tx., sheriff’s deputy who oversees the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program (DARE) disagrees with LEAP. He says: “Look at alcoholism. If we can’t control legal alcohol, what makes us think we can control legal drugs?” “I’ve seen families torn apart, lives ruined. Legalizing drugs – give me a break –that’s a dumb idea.”