• Congressman Garrett (VA-R)

  • Gov. Chris Christy (NJ-R)

  • Colorado 2012

  • California Field Work, Prop 19

COP on the Hill: Stories from the week of December 4 & 11, 2015


COP on the Hill

Stories from the week of December 4 & 11, 2015

Guess who’s coming to lunch: Grover Norquist had a lunch special featuring the chief of a center-right think tank, AEI (AEI.org). I was already at the main table. On my left a state rep from Georgia introduced herself. On my right it turned out to be a former SEAL, Rhodes Scholar and founder of ‘The Mission Continues’, Eric Greitens, who has an excellent chance to be the next governor of Missouri.

I had good five minute chats with both of them. With Greitens I focused on him remembering one thing: Cops like MJ prohibition because of the money – wages and asset forfeiture… With the GA rep I spoke only of the need to pass a bill to allow the kids with Dravet’s Syndrome to obtain God’s medicine.

Has the time come?:Making my rounds in the Senate, I made the case to 7 staffers that, ‘in light of the massacre in San Bernardino the prohibition of marijuana is a luxury we can no longer afford.’ I asked them to see if the Member would come out forcefully to end the federal, MJ prohibition. I became quite emotional each time I made the pitch. The lunacy of thousands of my colleagues chasing a green plant, while ISIS fighters plan another massacre is driving me crazy.

Thank you: It is with deep appreciation and gratitude that with your verbal and financial support I finish another year on the Hill. A profound sense of responsibility propels me to the offices of Members of the Congress. Speaking bluntly, there are only four of us who wear out shoes and boot leather to end MJ prohibition ( for contrast – the drug companies have some 650 lobbyists ).

Bottom is a 750 word oped that was published last month in the largest newspaper in Scotland. Perhaps my best effort. They asked me to submit it.

1990 Presentations to Congressional staffers..  07 this week

152 chats with other elected officials, state reps, senators, VIPs, etc.     03 this week

39 published interviews in major (daily) newspapers or magazine… 01 this week

5 meetings


  COP stats since inception: August 2009

105 personal chats with a Member of Congress..  0 this week

92 interviews and reports in minor media = blogs, cable TV, weekly papers, etc..   0 this week.

23 major conferences attended –  (United Nations drug conf, CPAC, LULAC, NRA, CBC, ASA, DPA, Dem & Repub. Presidential conventions., National Review,  etc)  this week

60 Radio Interviews..  0 this week

82 published letters to the editor (value per MAPINC in free publicity: $80,000).. 0 this week

38 Appearances on major TV networks..this week (Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision, BBC)…0 this week (BBC)

*   2 editorials in daily papers mentioning Howard’s efforts & in support of COP position

Weekly attendance at Grover Norquist’s Wednesday brunch attended by 150 conservative leaders.   Named the “Grand Central Station of the Conservative Movement.”

*      Consider being a member of COP at $30.00 or more per year.   All contributions are tax-deductible.  30 dollars buys all the copy paper COP uses in one year.   Law Enforcement’s voice in opposition to current policy is vital on the Hill to achieve a repeal of federal prohibition.  COP provides that voice.  www.citizensopposingprohibition.org




‘The lives and trillions of dollars sacrificed

on the altar of futile modern prohibition’

SINCE the official beginning

of the drug war in 1971, the

law-enforcement community

in the United States has spent

just over $1 trillion. Tens of

thousands of citizens have died, sacrificed

on the altar of this modern prohibition.

Millions have suffered from a

drug arrest, which haunts them forever

– and the difference on the streets?

Federal research shows drugs are

cheaper, stronger and more “readily

available” to America’s youth.


As a street cop and detective in the

1970s, 80s and 90s, I had a ringside seat

to this unfolding social disaster.

Like most wars, the drug war began

with a high moral purpose – to save

people from some harmful drugs – and

a modest budget. As drugs remained

readily available, government’s response

ratcheted up in the 80s – mandatory

minimums, hundreds of prisons

built, civil asset forfeiture, no-knock

drug raids, drug war exceptions to rules

of search and seizure. We received any

and all laws we asked for to make this

prohibition effective. All for naught.


As an officer, I witnessed a large

number of officers spend much of their

patrol time searching car after car for

an arrest mostly involving cannabis.

Back at the donut shop, they said they

found personal amounts of cannabis

in every tenth car. These officers knew

that command liked pot busts due to

good headlines, as well as the money

and vehicle seizures related to a drug

arrest. The motto “Protect and Serve”

became a quaint, meaningless phrase.

Informally, we became a profession of

“Search and Arrest”.


A chat over a beer with a friend in

1987 illustrates well the failure of this

strategy/policy. Christine had become

a narcotics officer the year before. Excitedly,

she recounted some war stories

of good busts, lots of dope confiscated,

over 100 drug houses shut down,

etc. Into the second beer, she became

a bit quiet. She said it was so discouraging.

Despite all the team’s efforts,

the number of drug houses in the city

had increased and the street prices

of all drugs had dropped – indicating



Police officers learned quickly the absolute

futility of our efforts. Drug dealers

accepted, as a condition of their employment,

death and long prison terms.

Thus, the massive punishment – mandatory

minimums – had zero impact on

the drug trade. Every dealer arrested,

shot or killed was quickly replaced.


AS WE saw the uselessness

of our actions, many narcotics

officers became ever

more aggressive, to compensate

for no tangible

gains. They approached citizens in

large cities, almost demanding they be

allowed to buy drugs. Confrontations

often led to violence and the death of

citizens. Now, in 2015, we watch in

horror as officers shoot and kill someone

suspected of selling a few grams of



To maintain the public’s interest and

financial support, $80 billion in 2015,

we put on a dog and pony show for the

cameras. Every couple of weeks we laid

out a table full of guns, a table covered

in drugs and another overflowing with

money. This to demonstrate yet another

“victory” in our efforts. In the background,

we would show a dozen people

arrested during the drug bust. As the

new century started, we stopped doing

this, as the public accepted the fact that

all drug busts were without meaning.


In the 21st century, the ground is

fertile in Scotland and elsewhere to begin

the debate on how to treat dangerous

drugs. The public knows that this

drug prohibition is an abject failure.

As reported in the 2010 Lancet report,

these prohibited drugs are dangerous,

even deadly. That is not the issue. The

fundamental question is how does the

involvement of the police and prisons

improve anything?


Luckily, the creator of the Drug War

– the USA – is experiencing a fundamental

shift in the public’s attitude

towards drug abuse. Why? Starting in

the 2000s with methamphetamine, and

more recently with heroin, white people

are now the vast majority of citizens

using and abusing illegal, hard drugs.

When mostly people of colour were being

arrested and/or dying from illegal

drugs, the establishment did not care

or passed laws to lock them up. The hypocrisy



As a lobbyist in the US Congress

since 2005, I have challenged each

member to state one benefit, one advantage,

of drug prohibition. Not one

has ever been able to. Their silence is



Howard Wooldridge is a retired

Michigan police detective who has

campaigned for an end to the war on drugs



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