• Congressman Gaetz (FL-R)

  • Gov. Chris Christy (NJ-R)

  • Colorado 2012

  • California Field Work, Prop 19

Published LTE in Chicago Tribune: Murder toll (January 12, 2014)

Murder toll

Speaking as a retired detective, I was astounded that your lament over the murder rate did not mention the massive role that drug prohibition plays in the carnage (“Choosing Chicago’s murder toll; Defy the odds; Push the body count lower in 2014 and beyond,” Editorial, Dec. 29). Per experts testifying in the U.S. House, gang violence would be cut in half if the gangs had no drugs to sell. You do your readers a disservice not mentioning the biggest driver of felony crime in Chicago.

Howard Wooldridge, Washington

Filed under:In the News

RARE interview: November 2013

Below is a RARE (conservative blog & radio) 4.5M report on COP efforts to spread the word on the NAACP endorsement…either read the transcript or listen to the radio interview… either way, your support for COP is making an impact.

Kurt Wallace report; http://rare.us/story/the-naacps-support-for-states-powers-on-pot-legalization-is-historic-find-out-why/#sthash.LHAzC8Q9

Filed under:In the News

NAACP backs Republican States’ Rights Pot Proposal

The nation’s oldest civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), wants “swift enactment” of a Republican proposal to nullify federal drug laws.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s (R-Calif.) “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013” would protect marijuana users from federal prosecution in states where the drug is permitted for medical or recreational use. The bill has bipartisan support — 20 co-sponsors as of Wednesday — including tea party associated Republicans like Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Don Young (R-Ak.), Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) and Steve Stockman (R-Texas).

The NAACP’s support might seem curious for an organization perhaps best known for battling “separate but equal” Jim Crow laws that were prevalent in Southern states until the 1960’s. Today, the organization sees states’ tolerant of marijuana use as more humane toward minorities than federal law, particularly “mandatory minimum” drug sentencing laws that have done disproportionate harm to minorities.

In a press release, the civil rights group said, “700,000 people annually are arrested in the United States for the possession of marijuana” but also that “60 percent of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities.” The release also noted that “though numerous studies demonstrate that whites and African Americans use and sell marijuana at relatively the same rates, studies also demonstrate that African Americans are, on average, almost 4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.”

Some have called mandatory minimum sentencing laws the “new Jim Crow” including Howard Woolridge, co-founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

“The great evil in America has been drug prohibition and now the NAACP is working on this issue also. I expect much greater collaboration going forward, now that we are on the same page,” Woolridge told Rare in an email.

Woolridge added, “The NAACP’s endorsement of this bill is historic. Not only are they endorsing a bill which will lead to more states legalizing/regulating marijuana, they are urging the Congress to employ the 10th Amendment (States’ Rights) to do so. Both are firsts I am very certain.”

If the NAACP’s firm states’ rights position represents realignment in American politics, a similar shift may be happening within the GOP. Not only have some of the most conservative Republicans in the House supported Rohrabacher’s bill, but other liberals have taken notice that the most outspoken member of Congress on the issue of drug law reform is a Republican.

Tea party and libertarian hero Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was hailed by The Daily Beast’s David Freedlander in September as “one of the nation’s most articulate defenders of progressive values” specifically for his agreement with the NAACP on these issues. Reflecting on Paul as a potential 2016 presidential contender, Freedlander wrote “if you are a liberal yearning for a Democrat to speak out against the War on Drugs or the voting rights of felons, Paul is, at the moment at least, the only candidate you’ve got.”

Mr. Wallace is the host of Rare talk radio, and is a father, writer and “liberty propagandist.” He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Follow him on Twitter @KurtWallace

– See more at: http://rare.us/story/naacp-backs-republican-states-rights-pot-proposal/#sthash.xcHKQeH8.dpuf

Filed under:In the News

Is the White House Stalling on State Pot Laws? March 7, 2013:US News & World Report

Is the White House Stalling on State Pot Laws?

By ELIZABETH FLOCK

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“I’d say they still don’t quite know what to do,” one lobbyist says.

Eric Holder was vague in saying a decision on state pot laws would come “relatively soon.”

Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that the Obama administration still didn’t have an answer on how it would handle laws passed to legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington state, but that it would come “relatively soon.”

[ALSO: Young Adults Left Behind by Marijuana Legalization in Colorado, Washington]

Many watchers of the issue, however, tell Whispers they believe the administration is stalling.

Howard Wooldridge, a lobbyist for the pro-marijuana legalization group Citizens Opposing Prohibition, says Holder’s remarks show the White House may not have yet made up its mind.

“How this administration is going to react to Colorado and Washington… is an enigma wrapped in a nutshell surrounded by a box in a dark room at midnight,” he says. “But if I had to guess, I’d say they still don’t quite know what to do.”

The reason for the delay may also be that the administration is in a no-win position, according to Jeffrey Miron, a senior lecturer of economics at Harvard University who has done a number of studies on the legalization of marijuana and other drugs.

“They are in an awkward position. Any decision that challenges the new laws in Colorado and Washington will anger their base; any policy that allows those laws to stand will energize the Republicans,” say Miron, who previously warned that legalization of marijuana in those two states could turn into a Supreme Court battle with the federal government. Possession or use of marijuana remains a federal crime despite the new state laws.

[OPINION: Medical Marijuana Is Safe for Children]

Adding a wrinkle to all of this is that a United Nations agency this week put pressure on the administration. In an annual report released Tuesday, the International Narcotics Drug Board said the laws in Washington and Colorado go against international drug control treaties.

A group of former U.S. drug chiefs, who similarly oppose the new laws, are also upset with the delay.

“If they don’t act now, these laws will be fully implemented in a matter of months,” former DEA administrator Peter Bensinger told the Associated Press, saying the delay could cause “a domino effect” for other states to legalize marijuana.

[PHOTOS: Marijuana Through the Years]

When probed by Whispers about the reason for the delay, a DOJ spokeswoman only said the agency was “in the process” of reviewing the laws. The White House did not respond to request for comment, while the Office of National Drug Control Policy declined to comment because the issue is before the Justice Department.

More News:

Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report.You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook or reach her at eflock@usnews.com.

 

Filed under:In the News

Amendment 64 proponent visits Fort Morgan: The Times: October 22, 2012

By JOHN LA PORTE Times Editor Posted: 10/22/2012 04:49:04 PM MDT

Howard “Cowboy” Wooldridge, a retired police detective, demonstrates Friday in favor of Amendment 64 at Platte Avenue and Main Street in Fort Morgan. (Picasa) People in law enforcement have better things to do than chase petty offenders with small amounts of marijuana. So says retired police detective and lobbyist Howard “Cowboy” Wooldridge, who spent some time Friday on a downtown Fort Morgan street corner on horseback with a sign urging support of Amendment 64, which would legalize and regulate small amounts of marijuana in Colorado.

“We (law enforcement) need to focus our attention on pedophiles and other serious threats and not waste our time on the green plants,” he declares. The percentage of traffic stops that result in marijuana arrests is low, he said, and the number of deaths in Mexico in enforcment battles is high. Marijuana should, he says, be regulated like alcohol and subject to the same common-sense regulations.

Wooldridge started out in front of Walgreen’s, but local police, he said, politely informed him that he could not demonstrate on the grass or the sidewalk. The police, he said, were “very nice, very professional.” He went to management at a gas station across the street and was given permission to carry his sign on a dirt area adjacent to the station. And there he sat on his horse Misty for several hours, attracting some “thumbs up” signs, cheers, honks and waves and some “thumbs down.”

Wooldridge was taking a break from his fulltime work as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. in opposition to drug prohibition. He retired as a detective near Lansing, Mich. After 12 years on the street, moving first to Texas in a position in international customer relations — he speaks English, French, German and Spanish.

 Is the push for legalizing marjuana getting anywhere? “The short answer is yes,” Wooldridge says. Several states, including Colorado, have deemed medicinal marijuana use appropriate, he points out, and several states have measures similar to Colorado’s 64 on the ballot. And in many states, an arrest for a small amount of marijuana is similar to a traffic ticket when it comes to penalties. “In terms of a time line this is very similar to women’s suffrage,” which took many years to pass, Wooldridge says. He adds, “My educated guess is about 10 more years.”

 — Contact John La Porte at news@fmtimes.com.

Filed under:In the News