These unlikely converts are pro-legalization. Who’s next?

by DGO Web Administrator

(1) Saul on the road to Damascus and the work he did after becoming St. Paul. (2) Malcolm Little entered Charlestown State Prison a petty thief and con man and emerged as Malcolm X, a central step on his path as an advocate. There is something special about the convert and their ability to receive information in a fashion that not only challenges, but overrides a set of beliefs that makes them uniquely suited to disseminate knowledge related to their new worldview.

In the battle to overturn the unjust legal system as it relates to cannabis (and other illegal substances), a system built on deceit and propaganda, an unlikely group of supporters has entered the fray. The Law Enforcement Action Partnership, founded in 2002 by five retired police officers and originally called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Medford, Massachusetts, with over 150,000 members in 21 countries which “envisions a world in which criminal justice and drug policies keep our communities safer.” They believe, according to their statement of vision, that “[e]nding the War on Drugs and looking beyond the criminal justice system for a range of solutions to address society’s ills will better protect human rights, reduce violence and addiction, and build public respect for and trust in law enforcement.”

LEAP admits that the “War on Drugs” (load up your memes) has been a failure and, in their role as a group committed to reform, supports an overhaul of the current system in favor of one based on the concept of regulated legalization. Models like this favor the sale and distribution of drugs similar to what currently monitors the sale and distribution of alcohol and tobacco. The greatest benefit would be to eliminate the presence of criminal organizations devoted to this process. Most of the current American and international drug enforcement policy has its roots in three international treaties, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (the source of drug “scheduling”), the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (all of which were spearheaded by our federal government). These treaties are outdated, especially with their language as it relates to cannabis, and have been substantially responsible for birthing and sustaining worldwide criminal cartels. The proof of their archaic nature lies in their inflexibility as it relates to cannabis decriminalization and legalization efforts in dozens of countries around the globe. These treaties are substantial stumbling blocks, for example, in the state-led efforts to change legal policies in the United Stated and attempts to reform cannabis legalization policies in Canada. In 2014, LEAP proposed an amended treaty that would modernize these earlier treaties to reflect modern research and attitudes toward the substances in question.

LEAP has supported efforts to reform laws that would decriminalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana and allow for legal medical use. The organization worked to support legalization in Colorado, Alaska, Washington, and Oregon, and each of the states that passed citizen-led recreational initiatives during the 2016 election cycle.

Stoners, patients and their families, even law enforcement officers support cannabis in 2017. Who exactly, stands in opposition? There is, thankfully, a money trail to answer this question, and that’s exactly what we will do here next week. Be well ‘til then.

Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at [email protected]

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