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Registered: 07/26/04
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'Cops Say Legalize Pot, Ask Me Why'
    #4517757 - 08/10/05 12:37 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Arresting the Drug Laws
August 2005 Issue - The Progressive Magazine

In March, Howard Woolridge set out on horseback from Los Angeles to New York City wearing a T-shirt blaring the capitalized declaration: "COPS SAY LEGALIZE POT, ASK ME WHY." The former Michigan police officer, who plans to reach New York in November, is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group that wants to change our country's drug laws.

Peter Christ and Jack Cole, both former cops, founded the three-year-old LEAP with the assistance of a $50,000 grant from the Marijuana Policy Project. More than 2,000 members, including prison wardens, judges, and mayors, have since joined the organization. Some believe in drug decriminalization, others in full-out legalization, but their collective mandate is to highlight the failure of the current drug policy.

Cole wants to remove the profit motive from the equation by legalizing drugs and having them supplied by the government. "Organized criminals and world terrorists would be monetarily crippled for many years to come," Cole says.

Bob Owens, a former police chief in Oxnard, California, regards soft drugs such as marijuana "as too unimportant to use manpower" on. He calls the war on drugs "a straw-man that can distract people and stir the hysteria that accompanies it."

But Owens admits LEAP won't move mountains. Yet. "The purpose of LEAP is to create more of an attitude change than to potentially change legislation," he says.

California Superior Court Judge James Gray, author of Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs, wants to decriminalize marijuana. That would generate $2 billion annually in tax revenues that could be spent on education and drug treatment, he says. The government should regulate the quality of marijuana, he says, so tokers would know their weed won't be laced with poisons.

"Would it result in more marijuana usage?" Gray asks himself. "Yes, at least for six months, but then rates would be more like Holland's." That country's reported lifetime cannabis use is at 17 percent, according to a 2001 survey from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. In the United States, the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 40 percent of respondents reported using marijuana once in their lifetimes.

Prison wardens are usually stereotyped as drawing the hardest line. But don't say that to Richard Watkins, former warden of the Holliday Unit in Huntsville, Texas. "What's happening now is not working," says Watkins, who retired in February. "I think the war on drugs is responsible for the massive increase of prisoners in Texas."

He goes on to wonder why so many one-time drug users are imprisoned for crimes that didn't harm a third party. "What the public doesn/t realize is that when you take a breadwinner out of the family and incarcerate him, it has a ripple effect," he says. "There is nothing but negative about jailing people."

After his lone-ranger travels, Woolridge plans on heading to Washington, where he hopes to become a Congressional lobbyist for LEAP.

Marijuana will be the first issue he tackles. "Eighty percent of Americans say legalize and tax it today," Woolridge says. "We're losing focus on public safety as law enforcement chases Willie Nelson and Willie Nelson's supplier." When Woolridge discusses this issue with rational Americans in any state, he says he soon hears three satisfying words: "That makes sense."

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Active Ingredient
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Registered: 10/29/04
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Re: 'Cops Say Legalize Pot, Ask Me Why' [Re: veggie]
    #4519732 - 08/10/05 10:46 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

I do like LEAP.


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OG shroomerite
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Re: 'Cops Say Legalize Pot, Ask Me Why' [Re: veggie]
    #4521412 - 08/11/05 10:35 AM (11 years, 2 months ago)


if I ever win the lottery or get extremely wealthy I will donate some serious cash to this cause.

We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience.

We are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience.

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Mr. I Eat Butthole
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Re: 'Cops Say Legalize Pot, Ask Me Why' [Re: StonedShroom]
    #4522477 - 08/11/05 04:41 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

im glad not ALL cops are shitheads.

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in Government." 
~Thomas Jefferson

A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.
~George Washington

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Re: 'Cops Say Legalize Pot, Ask Me Why' [Re: veggie]
    #4562344 - 08/21/05 01:21 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Wooldridge nears halfway point
August 21, 2005 - hometownlife.com

DELTA TWP. - Howard Wooldridge waved in gratitude to a driver who slowed down as he rode Sam in the pedestrian walkway across Canal Road at Saginaw Highway.

Wooldridge, a 54-year-old former DeWitt police officer, was nearing the halfway point of his daily 28-mile horseback ride. He started around 7:30 a.m. in Sunfield Tuesday and expected to be at a long-time friend's home on Peacock near Bath about 7 p.m.

It was another 12-hour leg of a journey that began in Los Angeles on March 4 and is projected to end Oct. 11 in New York City.

Wearing a sweat-stained cowboy hat, a red bandanna around his neck and a white T-shirt that says, "Cops Say Legalize Drugs. Ask Me Why," Wooldridge stops and talks to anyone who listen about his argument that the nation's war on drugs is absurd.

"I have been advocating a change in our nation's policy for eight years, and the last three years, I can say I have seen a real change in people's thinking," Wooldridge said.

He is working as the media director for an organization known as LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

His words are usually as unwelcomed as one of Sam's droppings.

"I am regarded as the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse. I am spreading a message that will destroy this country and ruin our children," he says in mock horror.

He frequently delivers speeches to local Rotary clubs, but his controversial message has led to some last minute cancellations - one in Eaton Rapids and another in St. Johns.

"One Rotarian told me I should be sent to Guantanamo Bay and kept with the other terrorists," he said.

"I've had a couple of death threats ... some people believe I am a threat to the nation," Wooldridge said.

He argues that the nation's drug war has been a colossal failure because cocaine has never been cheaper or easier to obtain despite billions of dollars being spent to build new prisons and to staff a huge law enforcement bureaucracy.

"We should have some form of legalized drugs and take the profit out of it for the drug dealers. We should focus our efforts on drunk drivers, child molesters and the terrorists who are planning their next move," he said.

Priorities all wrong?

He bemoaned the fact that 21 people were arrested recently for having marijuana gardens for medical reasons in California, while North Korea and Islamic fundamentalists are using huge profits from drug sales to fund groups who threaten the U.S.

"It's (war on drugs) like a police officer -?on his way to an emergency where a robber is breaking into a house and threatening the homeowner's life - stopping to write a ticket for a parking meter violation," he said.

Police officers he meets are angered by his message. One police officer near the lakeshore stopped him and threatened to give him a ticket because the officer claimed the words on the side of Wooldridge's recreation vehicle violated the town's sign ordinance.

As Sam, a 6-year-old gelding, nibbles on grass, Wooldridge talks about how his philosophy was received at an American Legion hall in Gary, Ind.

"The bartender said his solution was to put a bullet in the head of every drug dealer, and another person said, 'I don't want to live another Nazi, Germany where the answer to every question called for using a bullet ... by the time we finished our talk, the people in an American Legion Hall in Gary Ind. agreed something had to change," he said.

Wooldridge chuckled as he recalled a debate he had with host of a conservative radio talk show in Wisconsin. "I asked the host, don't you believe in personal responsibility and protections of privacy ... are you one of those liberal nannies we hear Rush Limbaugh talk about?"

Much of his horseback travel is a wordless journey across hot pavements. He keeps a weary eye on tractor trailers as they roar by and waves to motorists who honk their support.

Long journey

In recent weeks, Sam clip-clopped through dilapidated neighborhoods in Chicago, where kids had never seen a horse, and trotted on the shoulder of roads through vast farm fields.

Some days Wooldridge is bone tired. He walked alongside Sam for several miles Tuesday. "It is just too hard on Sam's joints, and it loosens his shoes for me to be riding for a long time on the pavement," he said.

Sam is 16-hands tall and poops twice a day. "In just a short time, there is no smell to horse dung. After it dries out, it is just like dirt," Howard says grinning.

Norma Sapp, a lady who farmed for 14 years in Oklahoma, joined Wooldridge in Denver, Colo. She drives a 1984 Econoline Jamboree that has three beds and pulls a horse trailer.

"I saw that kids were being locked up for a long time for little or nothing, and that drugs were still rampant, and so I really believe that things have to change ... and I have seen a lot of people change their minds," she said.

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Not an EggshellWalker
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Registered: 07/18/03
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Re: 'Cops Say Legalize Pot, Ask Me Why' [Re: veggie]
    #4562955 - 08/21/05 04:26 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Were I rich, I would be a major supporter of LEAP. This is the type of group that could do the marijuana legalization movement wonders.

So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.

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spirit molecule

Registered: 03/16/05
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Re: 'Cops Say Legalize Pot, Ask Me Why' [Re: Ravus]
    #4563044 - 08/21/05 04:48 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

you know, it's actually quite interesting, this war against drugs as he mentions. build prisions, increase police force, for what? govt say for societies' sake, but it seems like a nice cover up. what for? imprisoning society in 2084! (insert conspiracy story here)

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Registered: 03/12/05
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Re: 'Cops Say Legalize Pot, Ask Me Why' [Re: puwtrip]
    #4566189 - 08/22/05 12:42 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)



Through the excercise of patience, one may learn humility..

Smoke plenty of green, and eat fungus!!!!

Trip Report

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