• 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 March 21, 2014

Stories from the week of March 21, 2014

 Where is the exit?:   After 5 days of this place (UN’s Conference on Narcotic Drugs),  I was ready to call in sick.  I thought Congress was out of touch, not dealing with reality.   This place makes Congress look responsible and pragmatic.

Then the sun broke thru.  One well attended break-out session featured a UK speaker from the London School of Economics (John Collins) who in 10 M destroyed the myth that law enforcement has made a tiny difference in supply.  Absolutely brilliant.  In the hallways 3 VIPs were chatting.  One guy said the big question around here this year (but not from the podium) was whether to legalize or keep it just the way it is.  And some other events have given this cowboy some small confidence that a fundamental shift is happening & I might help push the delegates in the right direction.

The mere fact that the UN gave SSDP ( Students for a Sensible Drug Policy) a room to promote a contrary point of view was in itself a significant change.  I was part of the panel of speakers and though the audience numbered but 30, it was a grand moment.   There were a few native Spanish speakers and in solidarity with the countries of Latin America who suffer and die for American/World-Wide prohibition, I delivered my words in Spanish.  Translation at bottom.  Read time: 10 M

How goes the WOD in Pakistan?:  The gentleman liked my hat and wanted a foto…that brought his boss over…Major General Malik Iqbal who turned out to be the head of Pakistan’s DEA type organization….he and I had an excellent 8-10 M chat on policy.  Later I had a 15 M chat with his deputy  Brigadier General Muhammad Malik on policy and what the Holy Koran says about drugs…Absolutely fascinating.

Several other chats were initiated off the hat here at the UN.  The delegate from Iran walked up and we started talking.  And then two from Sudan and on it went.   Woohooo.

Final thoughts in next week’s newsletter.

  • 75 chats with other elected officials, state reps, senators, VIPs, etc.    14 this week
  • 41 Radio Interviews..   01  this week
  • 19 major conferences attended..  this week (UN’s CND, CPAC, LULAC, NRA, CBC, ASA, DPA, Dem & Repub. Presidential conventions.  etc)   01  this week


COP stats since inception: August 2009

     1490 Presentations to Congressional staffers..    this week

  • 81 interviews and reports in minor media = blogs, cable TV, weekly papers, etc..    this week
  • 36 Appearances on major TV networks..this week (Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision)… this week
  • 26  published interviews in major (daily)newspapers or magazine… this week
  • 77 published letters to the editor (value per MAPINC in free publicity: $75,000)..  this week
  • 55 brief chats with Members of Congress..   this week
  • 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.   If you agree that Modern Prohibition/War on Drugs is the most destructive, dysfunctional and immoral policy since slavery & Jim Crow and want to be a part of the solution…  Go to:
  • www.CitizensOpposingProhibition.org and click on Donate/Join – by credit card or send a check to:
  • Citizens Opposing Prohibition
  • POB 543
  • Buckeystown, MD 21717




The war on drugs/drug prohibition:  How is that working for your  country?  Is it reducing your crime, death, disease or even drug use?  After 53 years of this failed, world strategy to reduce the availability of drugs, the time has come to replace the failure of the past with a proven solution to the problems associated with prohibition.


The war on drugs/drug prohibition has been the most destructive, dysfunctional and immoral policy since slavery and Jim Crow. La guerra de drogas/prohibicion  ha sido el mas destructivo, mas disfuncional y mas immoral politica desde la esclavitud…La prohibition/ la guerre aux drogues a été le plus destructrice, le plus inopérant et le plus immoral politique que l’esclavage….Der Drogenkrieg ist die verheerendste, unwirksamste und unmoralischste Politik seit der Sklaverei.


Bold words.  I learned the bitter truth about prohibition during my 18 years as a street cop and detective.   Luckily the world has begun to realize that the policy increases death, disease, crime, violence and drug use.


We are here this week to bear witness to the United Nations that world drug prohibition needs to end as soon as possible.  My colleague Jim Gierach has written a new document to replace the 1961 Single Convention Treaty.  Please learn about this and then educate  the leaders of your country.


The greatest danger to our youth is that they have an option to become a seller of drugs.  Currently in the USA nearly one million teens are employed selling drugs. Every day –  Every day 6-7 are shot and every year several hundred are shot dead.  This is shameful.  This is immmoral.


Another huge harm to our children is that they are raped in greater numbers by pedophiles because the police spend so much time chasing a white powder and a green plant.  Add to that the children involved in prostitution — sex slaves  —  and child cyber pornography and rape videos.   It is important to note that there are a finite number who would rape a child.  There is an infinite of people who might sell drugs.


Whether by chance or design, young people, especially of color, have been the ones to suffer the most from the policy.  Whether they are searched without legal cause, arrested for small amounts, or hurt or murdered because they had a job option to sell drugs and made a bad choice to do so, prohibition has been the driver for much pain, suffering and death.


Why does my profession focus so hard on youth?  Multiple reasons.  First and foremost, they are the most likely to transport and use illegal drugs.  Drug use peaks at about 25-26.   Young people often do not consider the real possibility of being caught and arrested.  For example.  Many dozens of times I would stop someone for a simple, traffic violation.  When they opened the glove box, I could easily see a baggie of marijuana.  Stupid, dumb, naive.  Luckily for those students, I simply emptied the cannabis into the wind, and pointed out how stupid they were.  Of course tens of millions were not so lucky.  They were arrested, paid heavy fines, have a criminal record and other punishments.  They will always have difficulties obtaining a credit card, a loan, a school scholarship etc.  You can get over an addiction.  You can never get over a drug conviction.


Young people also have less money to defend themselves in court, even if the officer made an illegal search…something which happens every day.  Worse, officers will lie to the judge and jury.  This is no small problem.   And the police know their lies will not be discovered.  Especially in drug cases,  many officers feel that winning the case is more important than justice.  Moreover,  they have the  feeling this is a ‘Holy War’ a Jihad  and with God on their side, they will go to heaven no matter what they do.


The young are also susceptible to becoming informants, in order to erase the drug arrest from their record.  If one agrees to help arrest 5-10 other young people, the police can make their arrest disappear.  This is a necessary tool for the police, since drug use is essentially a consensual crime…nobody calls the police when they buy, sell or use an illegal drug.   Thus, normal police methods do not function.  The police must employ trickery to arrest enough citizens to make the bosses happy.   It is all about the numbers.


Racism plays a major role in who we arrest.   A colleague of mine said it ‘best’ regarding who he stopped and searched:  “Two blacks, two browns or two yellows or I won’t stop the car.  Why bother?”  Of course my colleague used ugly words to describe African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians.   My chief knew of this attitude and did nothing about it.  Indeed,  this officer was often praised for his work.  There is much truth in the saying that for a white person to be arrested for cannabis, that person must be ‘fence post stupid.’  For a person of color to be arrested; simply step outside your door.


This behavior, these tactics are disgusting and immoral.  As a professional, it hurts me to see where my profession has gone and become.


At least in the USA university students pay much more for their education because of prohibition. How?  In order to build and maintain 2,000,000 new prison beds, the states reduced their support for colleges and universities.  Therefore, the colleges raised their tuition fees to cover the shortfall from the government.  Currently the average, American college graduate starts life $28,000 in debt for his/her education.


Because of prohibition..1.5 million children are growing up missing one or both parents who are now in prison.  These young people are five times more likely to come in contact with the police.


Hypocrisy:  When young people find out that cannabis is much less dangerous than alcohol, they realize they have been lied to and the hypocrisy of drug laws.  35 years ago when I was a student at Michigan State University, I learned this.  This hypocrisy is NOT good for the nation.  The people should have confidence in the law and the system.


General Observation:


During this conference I have heard many speak of the need for the police and others to reduce the supply of drugs.   A fact;  the police have zero impact on drug availability.  We are like a mosquito on the butt of an elephant.  Do not look to us for any help on this…To illustrate:  when we confiscate maybe 20% of drugs in transit, it simply means the traffickers start the process with 120% of what the market uses.  This is business 101.


I am convinced that the only course of action to end this tragedy for young and old is to legalize, regulate and tax all drugs.  This will stop the abuse of citizens, especially our young.  Racist officers will have a much tougher task to hurt those minorities they don’t like.


There is an old Turkish proverb:  No matter how far down the wrong road you have traveled, you will never reach your destination.  Turn around!!


Hay un dicho anciano de Turqui’a.  Por tanto la distancia ha cubrido en el camino falso, no alcanzara’ tu destino,  !VUELVESE!

Il y a un proverbe vieux de Turkie:  Quelle que soit la distance tu as voyage’ dans un chemin faux, jamais tu vas arriver a ta destination…tourn toi!!


Es gibt ein altes Sprichwort aus der Turkei:  Es spielt keine Rolle wie weit Du auf den falschen Weg gefahren bist, Du wirst nie Dein Ziel erreichen.  Umdrehe!!


I want to thank the United Nations and The Students for a Sensible Drug Policy for their invitation to speak.  Questions, comments, concerns?

Howard ‘Cowboy’ Wooldridge

Drug Policy Specialist for COPs (www.CitizensOpposingProhibition.org)

Co-Founder of LEAP (www.LEAP.cc)

Law Enforcement’s voice in the nation’s Capitol since 2005


Metro DC

The War on Drugs/Drug Prohibition has been the most destructive, dysfunctional and IMMORAL policy since slavery and Jim Crow

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