Many people within the cannabis community have had negative experiences when dealing with law enforcement. However, there is a group who does not fit the mold of the stereotypical cop involved in the failed “War on Drugs”. The grassroots organization Legalize Utah joined forces with LEAP on March 10, 2010 (click this link for access to that article). This article will explore the vision and mission of LEAP.
LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) was founded on March 16, 2002 and is a nonprofit organization made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are speaking out about the failures of existing drug policies.
According to their website, members of LEAP believe current policies have failed to effectively address the problems of drug abuse, especially the problems of juvenile drug use, the problems of addiction, and the problems of crime caused by the existence of a criminal black market in drugs.
They believe that by continuing to fight the so-called “War on Drugs”, the United States government has worsened these problems of society instead of alleviating them. They promote a system of regulation and control of these substances (by the government, replacing the current system of control by the black market) and believe it would be a less harmful, less costly, more ethical, and more effective public policy.
LEAP envisions a world in which drug policies work for the benefit of society and keep communities safer. A system of legalization and regulation will end the violence, better protect human rights, safeguard our children. They want to reduce crime and disease, treat drug abusers as patients, reduce addiction, use tax dollars more efficiently, and restore the public’s respect and trust in law enforcement.
The mission of LEAP is two fold and aims to reduce the multitude of harmful consequences resulting from fighting the “War on Drugs” and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ending drug prohibition.
LEAP’s goals are:
(1) To educate the public, the media and policy makers about the failure of current drug policy by presenting a true picture of the history, causes and effects of drug use and the elevated crime rates more properly related to drug prohibition than to drug pharmacology.
(2) To restore the public’s respect for police, which has been greatly diminished by law enforcements’ involvement in imposing drug prohibition.
LEAP’s main strategy for accomplishing these goals is to create a constantly growing speakers bureau staffed with knowledgeable and articulate current and former drug-warriors who describe the impact of current drug policies on: police/community relations, the safety of law enforcement officers and suspects; police corruption and misconduct; and the excessive financial and human costs associated with current drug policies.
Future articles will delve into LEAP’s statement of principals, partner organizations and upcoming events. More information about LEAP can be obtained by visiting their website at this link.