Neill Franklin, a former narcotics officer for Maryland State Police and Baltimore City Police Departments, and current executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), published a letter to the editor in the New York Times last week succinctly describing the failure of cannabis prohibition:
While some fear that legalization would lead to increased use, those who want to use marijuana are probably already doing so under our ineffective prohibition laws. And when we stop wasting so many resources on locking people up, perhaps we can fund real public education and health efforts of the sort that have led to dramatic reductions in tobacco use over the last few decades — all without having to put handcuffs on anyone.
I have spent my entire adult life fighting the war on drugs as a police officer on the front lines. I have experienced the loss of friends and comrades who fought this war alongside me, and every year tens of thousands of other people are murdered by gangs battling over drug turf in American cities, Canada and Mexico. It is time to reduce violence by taking away a vital funding source from organized crime just as we did by ending alcohol prohibition almost 80 years ago.
Having viewed the war against cannabis from both sides, Franklin and his colleagues at LEAP understand the issue far better than most. You can watch Franklin movingly explain how he discovered that prohibition had failed here.