In this series of interviews with my brother Police Officer and Detective Howard Wooldridge of Lansing, Michigan (retired) concerning the “War on Drugs”, hundreds of readers responded. U.S. taxpayers do not understand the incredible deception perpetrated on them by the Drug War. You might even term it a “racket” by those who stand in the power corridors of Washington, DC.
“Save our children from drugs!”; “Just say no!”
"These have been the rallying cry of the prohibition crowd for decades, even as drug availability has reached the saturation point in even the small towns and villages across the US,” said Officer Howard Wooldridge. “The debate rages today on whether to continue cannabis prohibition. My profession— law enforcement—promotes prohibition, often stating that a legalized market would be worse than today's black market. Again, they cry: “Save our children!” Would placing cannabis in a state-regulated store with roughly the same rules and controls as alcohol be a positive or negative for our kids? Clearly the change would be positive.
“First and foremost, we acknowledge that under-age teens use alcohol. Most Americans and certainly all police officers know that cannabis is a much, much safer drug for the user and those around him. We force our teens to drink on Friday night because using pot would mean they flunk the drug test on Monday at school. So we have a serious increase in teen homicides, suicides, rape, traffic injuries and assaults provoked by the use of
Alcohol—America's second leading deadly drug (tobacco of course being # 1). How often does one read or hear of a public safety problem provoked bycannabis use? Almost never!
“The greatest, non-lethal harm of cannabis prohibition lies in the criminal record one suffers when arrested for simple possession. This ball and chain follows the young person all the way through life, decreasing his or her ability to obtain good employment and wage. When Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer, was arrested for being a drunk driver, that crime was no problem for Kellogg. However, his smoking cannabis lost him a million dollar contract. A nurse acquaintance even with 10 years of experience in the operating room has been unable to practice her profession due to an arrest for simple possession on cannabis. She clerks at a 7-11 for ten dollars an hour.
“Of course pot prohibition creates tens of thousands of part-time jobs for teens to sell the green stuff to their friends. While most never suffer from felony arrest, nor being hurt or killed, some do. A few years ago in Florida Rachel Hoffman 23, was a minor pot dealer to her friends. Caught, she was threatened with a long prison term unless she became a narc herself. Asked to buy guns and dope from two serious criminals, she was murdered.
“This spring in the major media, California mothers were quoted as being in favor of legalized cannabis in order to protect their kids from weed which may contain God-knows-what, when purchased from illegal dealers. LEAP speaker and former Superior Court judge James Gray of California recalled a man he sentenced for meth possession. “Why did you use meth,” he asked.
The young man said he had been happy just smoking grass but then bought some laced with meth. He became hooked on meth which led to a serious drug addiction. Like in our history 80 years ago when criminals ran a moonshine operation, toxic poisons or other materials are put in the prohibited drug to increase the profits, even when it hurts the consumer. When a teen buys alcohol (from an older brother or sister for example), at least the alcohol was government inspected and does not contain added poisons. Money is king, not safety.
“And when your teen makes a bad choice to purchase marijuana, the only seller available might also offer other, much more harmful drugs for sale – like crack, meth and heroin. Reported in the Northeast are dealers who offer free samples of heroin. Cannabis prohibition forces a teen to come in contact with drug dealers who do not care who gets hurt. They are not protecting a state-issued license and leave the area if someone dies.
“Most parents urge their teens to attend a junior college or university after high school. In order for America to compete in the 21st century high school is not enough. Sticker shock happens when families confront the high tuition now charged. Why so much? Since the country got serious about prohibition in the 1980s, American has built two million prison beds. The money for this has come almost entirely out of the state funding for colleges. In spite of 20 years of three percent inflation college tuition has risen on average just over 10 percent. Earlier this year California universities jerked tuition up 30 percent for the winter semester. Georgia is looking at the same increase this fall. Some teens never go and those who do are saddled with massive debt the day they graduate. Not good for kids.
“Hypocrisy is another, unintended consequence of cannabis prohibition. Everyone eventually learns that marijuana is much safer than the two deadliest (and legal) drugs of alcohol and cigarettes. Teens learn that parents will condemn the evils of pot, with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I saw this at 19. The drugs which the adults want are legal - mostly alcohol and Valium. Hypocrisy stinks.
“Cannabis prohibition has been a failure since its inception for racist reasons in 1937. One is hard-pressed to find one, serious benefit of the policy. You want to save our children? Legalize & regulate marijuana.”
Today, my brother Howard Wooldridge heads up a task force in Washington, DC to educate and enlighten congressmen at the highest levels. He works for a better future for all Americans. He can be reached at: Education Specialist, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, www.citizensopposingprohibition.org , Washington, DC. He speaks at colleges, political clubs, Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Clubs across America. He engages citizens around the country to bring an end to the Drug War. Check out the web site and join. Book Wooldridge in your state! Wooldridge also presents at political conferences in Washington. Howard@citizensopposingprohibition.org
The mission of COP is 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 ultimately ending drug prohibition.
“Envision a country which employs the principles of personal responsibility, personal freedom and limited/effective government toward marijuana,” Officer Wooldridge said. “I see a growing respect for the police, as they stop intruding into the decisions of adults, made in the privacy of their castles. Teens find it as hard to buy pot as beer. Fewer teens use it because it lost its glamour. Imagine a land where the deadly DUI and reckless drivers kill far fewer, as officers focus on them, not the next pot bust. Envision detectives arresting more child predators as they abandon the time spent arresting someone selling pot to an adult. All this becomes possible, when America becomes wiser and abandons the prohibition approach to marijuana.”