Thursday, July 9, 2015

Press Release: SENATORS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN MARIJUANA BANKING BILL

SENATORS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN MARIJUANA BANKING BILL

Bill Would Address Largest Logistical Obstacle to Dispensaries, Improve Public Safety


WASHINGTON, DC – Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act today in a much-needed move to allow legitimate marijuana businesses to conduct legal financial operations. While the move sounds like a minor regulatory matter, the lack of clear financial guidelines represents the single greatest obstacle to state-legal marijuana businesses operating safely and profitably. Currently, dispensaries and other businesses in states that have legalized medical marijuana or that allow adult use must operate cash-only businesses because banking services fall under federal, rather than state law.

“Right now, it’s the Wild West for marijuana businesses,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of LEAP. “Criminals know where the dispensaries are. They know the businesses are making thousands of dollars a day and that all of those transactions are in cash. It’s led to some horrific incidents, all courtesy of the federal government. They’re setting these businesses up to fail and, worse, they’re endangering people’s lives.”

Most dispensaries have had to hire expensive private security firms to set up elaborate safety systems and to accompany employees as the cash leaves the premises. Because of these precautions, many dispensaries, even those conducting large volume of sales, retain little profit. States are the other major losers in this scenario as the lack of accountability encourages the underreporting of taxes.

In the House, Representatives Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Denny Heck (D-WA) have  introduced a similar  bill, HR 2076.

LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed policy that have wreaked havoc on public safety, damaged community relations with police, fostered corruption and racism, and largely ignored the public health crisis of addiction. The War on Drugs has cost more than $1 trillion dollars, yielded no positive outcomes, and has ultimately diverted the penal system’s attention away from more important crimes.


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Monday, June 29, 2015

Press Release: OREGON MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION LAW TAKES EFFECT JULY 1st

For Immediate Release:                                                                                                                                    Contact: Darby Beck
Monday June 29, 2015                                                                                                                                      darby.beck@leap.cc
                                                                                                                                                                                     415.823.5496

OREGON MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION LAW TAKES EFFECT JULY 1st

Adult Possession, Home Cultivation Permitted Immediately

Cultivation, Retail Businesses Expected to Open Fall 2016

Measure 91, a voter-approved initiative legalizing marijuana in Oregon, takes effect July 1st and will immediately allow for adult possession and home cultivation. The law permits adults 21 and older to grow four plants and keep eight ounces at home, and possess one ounce in public. Public consumption and sales will continue to remain illegal. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency charged with regulating marijuana in the state, will begin to accept applications for cultivation, processing, testing, and retail business licenses starting January 4th, 2016, and businesses are expected to be operational later the same year. More time was allotted to create specific regulations for concentrates to ensure the best possible public safety outcome, so these products will likely not be available immediately when stores open.

“Expending law enforcement resources by going after nonviolent marijuana users is a shameful waste of time and tax dollars, and a distraction from what’s really plaguing neighborhoods,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a criminal justice group opposed to the drug war. “Cops in Oregon can now get into doing their jobs; protecting communities and helping victims of violent crimes get justice.”

Oregon still has more to do to ensure marijuana legalization is done properly; lawmakers and regulators are currently working to expunge the records of many non-violent marijuana offenders as well as develop proper regulations for taxes, concentrates, and labeling for consumer and child protection,” saidInge Fryklund, former prosecutor, Oregon resident, and board member LEAP. “We must promote honest and accurate public information along with sensible regulations. Oregon can and will be a model for future states looking to consider legalization in 2016 and beyond.”

23 States and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of medical marijuana access, while 4 states have decided to legalize and regulate adult use generally. Oregon’s regulatory model will be developed with Colorado and Washington’s previous successes and failures in mind. Among the priorities of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission are preventing accidental ingestion by children with the use of appropriate childproof packaging and ensuring that extracts, concentrates, and edibles are carefully regulated, tested, and labeled.

Last Wednesday, June 24th, the Oregon House passed HB 3400, by a vote of 52-4, which addresses several points of contention. The bill created a tracking system for monitoring plants from seed to retail sales, which will help deter the drug from the illegal market and ensure accountability for businesses with inferior or contaminated products. It also permits jurisdictions where at least 55% of voters disapproved Measure 91 to opt out of issuing marijuana related business licenses. HB 3400 also expunges many marijuana-related offenses from criminal records, which will affect tens of thousands of Oregonians. The bill will now advance to the Senate.

Tuesday, June 30 at 2pm PT U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer will speak at the Portland ACLU for a legalization launch event to focus on the importance of marijuana legalization nationwide and what to expect for the future of the drug policy reform. For more information, contact Nicole L’Esperance. 202-225-4811 or Nicole.lesperance@mail.house.gov.

Anthony Johnson, Chief Petitioner for Measure 91, co-wrote the measure, spearheaded the campaign, and has been working on marijuana legalization for more than a decade. He can be reached at 503-752-3966 for comments.
LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed policy that have created underground markets and gang violence, fostered corruption and racism, and largely ignored the public health crisis of addiction.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Press Release: SIX HUNDRED CHURCHES CALL FOR END TO DRUG WAR

Contact: Darby Beck                                  For Immediate Release:

darby.beck@leap.cc                           Tuesday, June 23, 2015

415.823.5496


SIX HUNDRED CHURCHES CALL FOR END TO DRUG WAR

Conference Uses Christian Ideals to Argue for New System


MANCHESTER, NH – Last Saturday the New England Conference of United Methodist

Churches, a group representing 600 congregations in six Northeastern states, voted in

favor of Resolution 15-203, which uses Christian principles to call for an end to the War

on Drugs and endorse the work of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

The resolution begins:



“In the love of Christ, who came to save those who are lost and vulnerable, we urge the creation of

a genuinely new system for the care and restoration of victims, offenders, criminal justice

officials, and the community as a whole. Restorative justice grows out of biblical authority, which

emphasizes a right relationship with God, self and community. When such relationships are

violated or broken through crime, opportunities are created to make things right.”



It goes on to detail how the drug war has failed to achieve its intended goal of reducing

drug abuse and has resulted in numerous unintended consequences such as the creation of

violent and dangerous underground markets, countless lost lives from gang violence and

unregulated products, increased dangers posed to law enforcement, prison overcrowding,

the rapid spread of needle-borne illnesses due to a lack of sterile syringes, and the

disparate impact that these laws have had on poor communities of color.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Co-founder Lt. Jack Cole (Ret.), who, along

with the group Christians Against Prohibition, worked with the assembly to pass the

resolution, recounted his experience as one of warm support and appreciation,

particularly from families who have been directly affected by drug prohibition.

“When I came off the stage I was met by many assembly members telling me how

important the resolution was,” said Lt. Cole. “One said that…I had described his family.

His daughter died ten years ago of a drug overdose and he and his wife were left to raise

her two children. That gentleman was sure that if drugs had been legal his daughter

would not have died.”

“Jesus concerned himself with the plight of the poor and marginalized in his society. In

our society, the story of the poor and marginalized is one of mass incarceration, racial

injustice, and the breakdown of families caused by the War on Drugs,” said Major Neill

Franklin (Ret.), executive director of LEAP.    

The statement ends with a declaration of support for LEAP and a commitment to work to

regulate drugs from a public health perspective:

“Be it Resolved: That the New England Annual Conference supports seeking means other than

prohibition to address the problem of substance abuse; and is further resolved to support the

mission of the international educational organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

(LEAP) to reduce the multitude of unintended harmful consequences resulting from fighting the

war on drugs and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ending drug

prohibition.”

The resolution can be found here: http://www.leap.cc/united_methodist_res/

LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed policy that have wreaked havoc on public

safety, damaged community relations with police, fostered corruption and racism, and

largely ignored the public health crisis of addiction. The War on Drugs has cost more

than $1 trillion dollars, yielded no positive outcomes, and has ultimately diverted the

penal system’s attention away from more important crimes.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Press Release: HOUSE VOTES TO PROTECT STATES WITH MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWS, CUTS DEA BUDGET, ENDS DATA COLLECTION PROGRAM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                       Contact: Darby Beck:darby.beck@leap.cc
June 3, 2015                                                       415.823.5496

HOUSE VOTES TO PROTECT STATES WITH MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWS, CUTS DEA BUDGET, ENDS DATA COLLECTION PROGRAM

Amendments to Spending Bill Prioritize Fighting Violent Crime, End DEA Bulk Collection Program

WASHINGTON, DC – A bipartisan amendment to the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations spending bill that prohibits DEA and Department of Justice funds from being used to interfere in states that have legalized medical marijuana passed the House today by a margin of 242-186. The amendment is a renewal of the one that passed in May of last year and was reintroduced by Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA). A similar amendment was also passed protecting states that have allowed industrial hemp. Yesterday, the House passed an amendment to ban the DEA’s bulk data collection program and slashed the DEA budget by $23 million. Instead, that money will now go to combat child abuse, improve the testing of rape kits, expand the use of body cameras on police officers, and reduce the deficit.
“Even Congress is now acknowledging the failures of the drug war and of the DEA and its invasive methods,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “Conservatives believe states have the right to decide their own rules, libertarians understand prohibition infringes upon civil liberties, and liberals know the effect prohibition has had on racial minorities, families, and communities.”

A separate amendment introduced by Representatives Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) that would have prevented the DEA from undermining state rights in places that have legalized marijuana narrowly failed by a vote of 206-222.

“Continued protection for medical marijuana patients is something most politicians now agree upon, and we can expect that states’ recreational marijuana laws will soon have the same level of protection against federal interference,” said Lieutenant Commander Diane Goldstein (Ret.)

In August 2013, the Justice Department released a memorandum stating that the DOJ would no longer go after states that chose to legalize and regulate marijuana, as long as those states prohibited access to children, limited the involvement of organized criminal activity in the industry, and abided by other reasonable standards.
Currently, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana and four states along with D.C. have legalized marijuana outright. According to the centrist think tank Third Way, 67% of Americans believe Congress should pass a bill to protect states from federal interference if they choose to legalize marijuana, so long as a strong regulatory system is in place.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a group of law enforcement officers opposed to the War on Drugs.
Please contact Darby Beck at darby.beck@leap.cc to arrange an interview.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Press Release: House Oversight Committee Condemns DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart

Contact: Darby Beck                                                                       For Immediate Release:
darby.beck@leap.cc                                                                        Wednesday April 15, 2015
415.823.5496

HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CONDEMNS DEA ADMIN’S TRACK RECORD OF INCOMPETENCE

Official Bipartisan Statement Declares “No Confidence” in DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart

Washington D.C. – Today, twenty two members of the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a statement of ‘No Confidence” in Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart for continued failed leadership during numerous scandals and direct conflicts with the Obama Administration. The bipartisan statement was issued in the wake of congressional hearings investigating a sex scandal involving DEA agents in South America who purchased sex workers with American tax dollars.

“There’s simply no excuse for the outrageous behavior of the DEA’s so-called leadership,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a criminal justice group working to end the drug war. “Leonhart just helps us add to the list of reasons of why we need to rethink our entire approach to drug policy.”

The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General currently has six open investigations into scandals perpetrated by the DEA involving murder and torture, covert data collection of Americans used for evidence fabrication, and a massacre in Honduras. In addition, Leonhart has repeatedly flaunted administration policy and opposed policies based on scientific evidence and best practices.

LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed policy that have created underground markets and gang violence, fostered corruption and racism, and largely ignored the public health crisis of addiction. The war on drugs has cost more than one trillion dollars, yielded only disastrous outcomes, and ultimately diverted the penal system’s attention away from more important crimes.




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Press Release: Livestream of Major Neill Franklin (Ret.) Explaining Benefits of Marijuana Legalization Today

Contact: Darby Beck                                                   For Immediate Release:
darby.beck@leap.cc                                                    Wednesday April 15, 2015

LIVESTREAM OF MAJOR NEILL FRANKLIN (RET.) EXPLAINING BENEFITS OF MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION TODAY

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Executive Director to Address 2015 Cannabis Symposium at University of Colorado Boulder

University of Colorado-Boulder is hosting the 2015 Cannabis Symposium to educate students and raise awareness about successful marijuana legalization policies, and to set a new standard for drug and policy education around the country. The closing plenary speaker is Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of criminal justice professionals opposed to the drug war. Maj. Franklin has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, and can attest to the failures of drug prohibition. He will explain why legalizing marijuana has had a positive impact on reducing violence caused by the drug war, and improving public safety overall. His speech will be live streamed to campuses throughout the country. You can watch it here: http://www.colorado.edu/law/live.

What: 2015 Cannabis Symposium: A Teach-In on Ancient Medicinal Plant and Current Drug Policy

Who: Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Other LEAP speakers presenting at this event include former corrections officer Carrie Roberts, and former judge and practicing attorney, Leonard Frieling.

When: Wednesday April 15th from 10am-730pm MST. Closing plenary is from 6-730pm MST.

WhereWittemyer Courtroom of Wolf Law Building, CU-Boulder Campus. Wolf Law Bldg, Kittredge Loop Dr, Boulder, CO 80305 or at http://www.colorado.edu/law/live

This event is free and open to the public.

LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed policy that have created underground markets and gang violence, fostered corruption and racism, and largely ignored the public health crisis of addiction. The war on drugs has cost more than one trillion dollars, yielded only disastrous outcomes, and ultimately diverted the penal system’s attention away from more important crimes.
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