About Us

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence.


By passing this bill, the New Hampshire House has proven the legalization of marijuana is a politically viable, mainstream issue with the potential to improve public safety and benefit the community in numerous ways. This state now has an opportunity to modernize its views and recalibrate its moral compass in a way that provides an example of leadership the rest of the country will soon follow.
Cheshire County Superintendent of Corrections Richard Van Wickler, board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
When after forty years of trying to eradicate its use more than 100 million Americans - including our last three presidents - admit to having used marijuana, it's time to recognize this is a problem that cannot be solved by law enforcement and change these laws which have already irreparably damaged too many citizens' lives. Criminal justice professionals are hired to improve public safety, but enforcing marijuana laws has the opposite effect.
Cheshire County Superintendent of Corrections Richard Van Wickler, board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
More than 70,000 people have been killed in the drug war in Mexico in the past seven years. Were Mexico City to legalize and regulate marijuana, taking it out of the hands of violent cartels and into those of legitimate businesses, it would be a tremendous boon to public safety in the city and a sign to the rest of the world that legalizing marijuana is a smart, workable solution to the evils of the drug war.
Retired police major Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
For years, the legalization movement has been gaining traction as people learn this is neither a fringe issue nor a partisan one, but one responsible for deep inequities in our justice system, the expansion of criminal gangs and the increase in unsolved violent crimes. There's a long road ahead, and this hearing leaves many questions unanswered, but this historic discussion means we are on our way to a more rational and effective drug policy.
Lieutenant Tony Ryan (Ret.), 36 year veteran of Denver PD and LEAP speaker
“While we know the federal government has reversed course on this sort of announcement in the past, this has the potential to be a major advancement in the history of drug reform. Allowing states to legalize and regulate marijuana will funnel millions of dollars of profits from the criminal organizations that have controlled the trade into the hands of legitimate businesses that check IDs and create jobs and badly needed tax revenues. For me, this means my fellow officers will be able to focus on their real job of preventing and solving violent crime, increasing their ability to do that job and returning honor to the profession of policing.”
Retired Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, advisory board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs
“The passage of this bill will allow police to spend their time and resources on violent crime, devastate criminal networks in the country who rely on marijuana income, create jobs, generate tax revenue, and ensure the quality and safety of the product for those who choose to use it. This bill ensures a safer Uruguay and it should be a model for the world.”
30 year law enforcement veteran Terry Nelson, who spent decades fighting the war on drugs in Latin America and now advocates for its end with the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
“In November Colorado and Washington became the first places in the world to legalize and regulate marijuana. Just nine months later, an entire nation is posed to follow in their footsteps. This is a historic moment for Uruguay and a historic moment for anyone who cares about smart drug policy and a well-run criminal justice system. It gives further proof that the legalization of marijuana is both sustainable and inevitable in the United States and around the world.”
Retired Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, who has seen firsthand the effects of legalization in his own state
There may be temporary interruptions in drug supply because of the arrest, but as always happens in the drug war, any time you remove a person from an extremely lucrative position, there will be others waiting to take their place. The net result may be more violence as others rush into fill the power vacuum created by law enforcement’s intervention.
Former ICE special agent and LEAP member Jamie Haase.
Mayors and police chiefs are particularly well-situated to understand the futility and destruction of the prohibition on marijuana. They see the skewed policing priorities that emphasize enforcement of drug laws over investigation of violent crimes. They see budgets stretched too thin. They receive the midnight calls when a SWAT team raid has gone bad and someone lies dead because of it. The people who see the way the war on marijuana works on the ground know that a well-run system of regulation and taxation is a far superior way to deal with drug use.
Retired Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper
In November, voters in my city and state strongly approved a ballot measure to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. The bipartisan resolution we passed today simply asks the federal government to give us time to implement these new policies properly and without interference. Cities and states across the country are enacting forward-thinking reforms to failed marijuana prohibition policies, and for the federal government to stand in the way is wasteful and contrary to the wishes of the American people.
Mayor Steve Hogan of Aurora, Colorado
Racism and exclusionary practices did not end with Jim Crow. They simply became more subtle and thus more difficult to counter as they went from racism enshrined in law to racism achieved through the use of drug laws.
Neill Franklin, retired police major and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
This bill is a win for federalism and a win for public safety. In a time of bitter partisanship, it is quite telling that both Republicans and Democrats are calling for respect for the reform of marijuana laws. Polls show this is a winning issue for politicians, and change is inevitable. We applaud those legislators who, rather than trying to impede this progress, stand with the vast majority of Americans who believe these laws should be respected.
LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin
At a time when polls show that a majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana and that mega-majorities support allowing medical marijuana or at least decriminalizing possession, it makes no sense whatsoever that so many national politicians look at this issue as some kind of dangerous third rail of politics.
Tom Angell, Chairman of Marijuana Majority
After spending many, many years trying in good faith to enforce these marijuana prohibition laws, I can report unequivocally that they just don't work. But it's worse than that. Beyond just being ineffective, these laws waste important law enforcement resources that could instead be going to things that actually protect public safety, like solving and preventing murders, rapes and robberies.
Tony Ryan, former Denver cop
The Canadian government believes the answer is to get tougher on criminals. But as we’ve learned with our decades-long failed experiment with the ‘war on drugs,’ the stricter sentencing proposed in the bill will only serve to help fill jails. It will not reduce harms related to the illicit marijuana trade, make Canadian streets safer or diminish gang activity.
Norm Stamper, retired chief of police in Seattle, Washington
Mr. President, my name is Stephen Downing, and I'm a retired deputy chief of police from the Los Angeles Police Department. From my 20 years of experience I have come to see our country’s drug policies as a failure and a complete waste of criminal justice resources. According to the Gallup Poll, the number of Americans who support legalizing and regulating marijuana now outnumbers those who support continuing prohibition. What do you say to this growing voter constituency that wants more changes to drug policy than you have delivered in your first term?
Stephen Downing, retired LAPD deputy police chief
As an active duty jail superintendent, I've seen how marijuana prohibition doesn't do anything to reduce marijuana use but does cause a host of other problems, from taking up space in already crowded jails to funding a violent black market controlled by gangs and cartels.
Richard Van Wickler, corrections superintendent for Cheshire County, NH
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