Thursday, July 14, 2016

Press Release: LEAP Declares Support for Maine Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Contact: Mikayla Hellwich
media@leap.cc - 240.461.3066 

For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 14, 2016

LAW ENFORCEMENT AGAINST PROHIBITION (LEAP) THROWS SUPPORT BEHIND MAINE MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION, BALLOT QUESTION 1

Criminal Justice Experts Endorse Maine Campaign to Legalize Marijuana to Promote Public Safety

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has announced that Question 1 on Maine’s November ballot will be an initiative to legalize marijuana. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a nonprofit organization of police, judges, prosecutors, and other criminal justice professionals advocating for marijuana legalization, endorses the measure as a means of refocusing the justice system on more serious matters and improving the relationship between communities and police.  As summarized by the Maine Secretary of State, Question 1 will "allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age, and allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance."

“Legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana is already proving successful in other states,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), LEAP’s executive director. “We have a duty to ensure law enforcement prioritizes public safety above the responsible behavior of otherwise law-abiding adults.”

The campaign collected more than the 61,123 signatures required to qualify for the ballot.

Question 1 would allocate marijuana taxes to Maine’s General Fund to bolster local budgets.

Marijuana is legal for adult use in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia. Twenty-five states and D.C. have legalized some form of medical marijuana access.

LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed marijuana policies that have damaged the lives of countless Americans and their families, slowed the justice system at every level, and eroded trust between communities and police.

###

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Press Release: LEAP Declares Support for California Marijuana Legalization, Prop. 64



Contact: Mikayla Hellwich

media@leap.cc

240.461.3066

LAW ENFORCEMENT AGAINST PROHIBITION (LEAP) THROWS SUPPORT BEHIND CALIFORNIA MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION
Criminal Justice Experts Across California and the U.S. Endorse AUMA to Promote Public Safety
On July 1st, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), an initiative to legalize marijuana in the state, is now on the November ballot. AUMA, designated as Proposition 64, would allow adults 21 and older in California to grow up to six plants in a secured area at home and possess, gift, and transport up to one ounce of marijuana and up to eight grams of extract. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of police, judges, prosecutors, and other criminal justice professionals advocating for marijuana legalization, endorses the measure as it stands to improve the relationship between communities and police and help keep the justice system focused on more serious matters.
“This initiative is the best chance California has to end a failed war on marijuana,” said Redondo Beach Police Department’s Lt. Commander Diane Goldstein (Ret.), executive board member for LEAP. “It’s our best hope to reduce the power of cartels operating in our state, to generate much-needed resources for law enforcement, and create a new system of regulation and control that will greatly improve public health and safety for all Californians.”
The measure needed and received more than 402,468 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Prop. 64 increases privacy protections for medical marijuana patients who have the required medical marijuana identification cards. It also allows courts to re-sentence many prisoners serving time for marijuana offenses and re-designate or dismiss many marijuana offenses from the criminal records of those who have already served out their sentences. Tax revenue from marijuana sales would be allocated for bolstering communities that have been disparately impacted by the War on Drugs, most notably communities of color. Tax revenues would be allocated to youth drug treatment and prevention programs and to law enforcement agencies for improving detection of impaired drivers.
Prop. 64 has bipartisan support from state government officials and strong support from community members and organizations from various backgrounds, including LAPD Deputy Chief Stephen Downing (Ret.), Judge James P. Gray (Ret.), the California NAACP, Marijuana Policy Project of California, Drug Policy Alliance, ACLU of California, California Democratic Party, California Medical Association, Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing, and medical professionals including Donald Abrams, M.D., Chief of Hematology and Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital.
Marijuana is legal for adult use in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia. Twenty-five states and D.C. have legalized some form of medical marijuana access.
LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed marijuana policies that have damaged the lives of countless Americans and their families, slowed the justice system at every level, and eroded trust between communities and police.
###

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Press Release: Pro-Drug Policy Reform Police Officer Wins Free Speech Case

DRUG POLICY REFORM POLICE OFFICER WINS FREE SPEECH CASE

Victoria Police Department Ordered to Pay Highest-Ever Award for Injury to Dignity in a Political Belief Case in Canada

Victoria, B.C., Canada - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) speaker and board member Constable David Bratzer won a free speech case against his employer, the Victoria Police Department (VicPD), for discrimination against his political beliefs. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has ruled the Victoria Police Department discriminated against Officer Bratzer by unlawfully restricting his off-duty activities as a drug policy reform advocate. The decision clarifies the strong protections for political belief offered by the British Columbia Human Rights Code.

Throughout the case, Bratzer has been unable to speak publicly as a representative of LEAP but has remained active through leadership roles. His valuable expertise on drug policy has been noticeably absent from the public discourse in Canada.

“It’s been a difficult road, but I’m happy to finally have my voice back,” said Constable David Bratzer.
  •     The Tribunal determined that employers have a duty to accommodate the political beliefs of employees (paragraph 323).
  •     The Tribunal recognized that the protection offered by the Code for political belief includes not only the belief itself but also the manner of expression (paragraphs 274 and 276).
  •     The Tribunal ruled that employers cannot force their employees to ask for permission in advance of expressing their political beliefs (paragraph 401).
  •     The Tribunal recognized the right of police officers to participate in political advocacy and in the affairs of a political party (paragraphs 321 and 386).
  •     VicPD has been ordered to pay $20,000 to Constable Bratzer for injury to dignity, the highest ever award for a political belief case in Canada (paragraphs 437 and 438).
“If officers of the law can’t speak up about their political beliefs, their ability to work toward improving their communities and the policing institution is constrained,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of LEAP.

LEAP is a nonprofit group of police, judges, prosecutors, and other criminal justice professionals working to end the War on Drugs. The drug war has created dangerous underground markets and gang violence, fostered corruption and racism, and largely ignored the public health crisis of addiction.

To access the official case decision documents, please visit http://tinyurl.com/zwdneyo

###

Friday, April 1, 2016

Press Release: FLORIDA PASSES SWEEPING CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE REFORM

Contact: Mikayla Hellwich                                                      
240.461.3066

FLORIDA PASSES SWEEPING CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE REFORM

Gov. Scott Signs After Unanimous Bipartisan Vote in Both Houses

Tallahassee, FL – Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed civil asset forfeiture reform bill SB 1044. The new law strengthens individual property rights and holds police departments to a higher standard of record keeping and accountability. Civil forfeiture is a legal process by which law enforcement can seize property and money from individuals merely suspected of criminal activity, even if they are never charged with a crime. The practice has fostered questionable incentives for law enforcement agencies to benefit financially from a process that infringes on civil liberties. SB 1044 was unanimously supported in both the House and Senate and lauded by civil liberties and law enforcement organizations. According to a new poll from Drug Policy Action, 84% of registered Florida voters believe that police should not be able to seize and permanently take away property from people who have not been convicted of a crime.

“As enforcers of the law, we have a duty to stand up against policies that are unjust and recognize when our voices can be a powerful force for positive change,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of criminal justice professionals working to end civil forfeiture and the drug war. “Although there is more to be done, the Florida Sheriff’s Association and the Florida Association of Police Chiefs deserve recognition for making steps towards more sensible policies.”

Also on the lengthy list of SB 1044 supporters are the Drug Policy Alliance, Florida American Civil Liberties Union, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Institute for Justice, and Americans for Tax Reform.

The bill changes Florida’s Contraband Forfeiture Act, which decides how and when law enforcement agencies are able to seize assets. SB 1044 requires that police make an arrest in order to seize property in most cases, increases the evidentiary standard of proof from “clear and convincing” to “proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” holds the agency accountable for damages on seized property, and outlines reporting requirements for agencies to track forfeitures. No such requirement existed previously. Currently, Florida law enforcement agencies seizing assets of more than $15,000 per year must donate 15% of those assets to predetermined programs. The new law increases the donation requirement to 25%.

In nearly every U.S. state, law enforcement can seize money and property from individuals without seeking or obtaining a criminal conviction. Civil forfeiture places the legal burden of proof on the property (in-rem) rather than the owner (in personam), meaning the property is being charged rather than the person who owns it. Another type of forfeiture called “criminal forfeiture” requires the officer to obtain a conviction and ultimately accuses the property owner of criminal activity rather than the property being seized. This practice is generally considered beneficial because it aligns with the constitutional right to due process. According to a 2015 report by the Institute for Justice, 87% of forfeitures in the U.S. between 1997 and 2013 were civil and only 13% involved criminal cases. The same report graded Florida’s previous civil forfeiture laws with a D+ for abysmal individual property rights and unethical incentive for law enforcement to profit from these interactions.

LEAP is committed to ending decades of unconstitutional civil forfeiture laws that have damaged the trust between communities and police, fostered a misuse of law enforcement power, and eroded civil liberties nationwide.

###




Monday, March 21, 2016

Press Release: SCOTUS VOTES 6-2, REJECTS HEARING NE, OK LAWSUIT AGAINST CO MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION LAW

Mikayla Hellwich
media@leap.cc
240.461.3066 
SCOTUS VOTES 6-2, REJECTS HEARING NE, OK LAWSUIT AGAINST CO MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION LAW

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to hear a lawsuit Nebraska and Oklahoma brought against Colorado’s marijuana legalization law, a rare case falling under the Court’s original jurisdiction to hear lawsuits between states. In 2012, Colorado voted to legalize marijuana production, sales, and consumption for adults, but Attorneys General in the two neighboring states claimed the law is causing marijuana to spill into their states, creating a law enforcement burden, and that the law is a violation of the Controlled Substances Act. Colorado argued that their law is designed to minimize the illicit market and associated dangers. They also argued that the case is more appropriate for a lower court and that overturning their marijuana law won’t solve the problem outlined by the plaintiffs. SCOTUS didn’t explain the reason for refusing to hear the suit but recommended submitting the case to a federal trial court instead.

“If Nebraska and Oklahoma had the good sense to legalize and regulate marijuana too, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. What a monumental waste of time to ask our highest court to solve a problem that could be fixed with a well-written piece of legislation or a ballot initiative,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a criminal justice group working to end the War on Drugs.

SCOTUS typically decides on appeals from lower courts, but they occasionally take on disputes between states in “original jurisdiction” suits. These types of suits occur infrequently and generally deal with disagreements over the use of resources, such as rivers, that flow through more than one state. In December 2015, the U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli extended his recommendation to reject hearing the case, which he said would, “…represent a substantial and unwarranted expansion of this court’s original jurisdiction.”

Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and the District of Columbia have all legalized marijuana for adult use. 23 states and D.C. have legalized some form of access to medical marijuana. In August 2013, the Department of Justice released a memorandumindicating they would no longer interfere in states that choose to regulate marijuana as long as common sense measures are taken to prevent organized crime within the legal businesses and prevent youth access to marijuana, among other reasonable goals.

LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed marijuana policies that have engendered gang violence, fostered corruption and racism, clogged the justice system at every step of the process, and diverted significant resources away from addressing more important crimes.

###

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Press Release: FORMER AG HOLDER DECLARES SUPPORT FOR RESCHEDULING

Contact: Mikayla Hellwich                                                    For Immediate Release:

media@leap.cc                                                               Thursday, February 25, 2016

240.461.3066


FORMER AG HOLDER DECLARES SUPPORT FOR RESCHEDULING 


In a detailed PBS Frontline interview published Tuesday, Former Attorney General Eric

Holder said marijuana should be rescheduled. Marijuana is currently listed under Schedule I

of the Controlled Substances Act, a category relegated to drugs that have no safe medical

uses and extremely high potential for abuse and addiction. Placement in this category makes

domestic research into the effects of marijuana extremely difficult and often impossible.

Marijuana’s placement has been widely criticized and disputes mounting ever-growing

evidence from other countries.


“I certainly think it ought to be rescheduled…so at a minimum, I think Congress needs to

do that,” Holder told PBS. “Then I think we need to look at what happens in Colorado and

what happens in Washington.”


“I believe Holder’s statements will inspire more high-ranking officials to speak publicly

about the injustices they see in our failed marijuana policies,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.),

executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a criminal justice

group working to legalize marijuana. “Ultimately, his support will move us closer to ending

marijuana prohibition for good.”


Rescheduling marijuana to a more lenient Schedule III could increase the ease with which

researchers can study the drug in scientific and clinical settings as well as allow state-legal

marijuana businesses the same business expense tax-deductions enjoyed by other companies.

Rescheduling would also encourage states considering legalizing, regulating, and controlling

the drug to carry out the will of their voters. A 2015 Gallup Poll found that 58% of

Americans support legalization.  


Marijuana is currently legal for adult use in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and the

District of Columbia. Twenty states report marijuana legalization efforts for 2016.

LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed policy that have created dangerous

underground markets and gang violence, fostered corruption and racism, and largely ignored

the public health crisis of addiction. Marijuana prohibition has damaged the relationship

between communities and police and has ultimately diverted the penal system’s attention

away from more important crimes.


###
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...