• Congressman Garrett (VA-R)

  • Gov. Chris Christy (NJ-R)

  • Colorado 2012

  • California Field Work, Prop 19

COPs First Annual Report

Annual Report: Citizens Opposing Prohibition – 2009/2010

 The House Crime Subcommittee adjourned and I made contact with the Member who is the presumptive chairman, when the Republicans take control of the House in 2011.   This was our sixth (6th) chat in three years.   He had already agreed that current policy was ineffective but he asked, “What do we do?  Just give up on these (addicts) people?”   “No.”  I replied, “But arresting them wastes precious police time.   The government can not fix stupid.  Only family and friends might have a chance.”  He nodded and we chatted another minute.    I knew his Chief of Staff was on board to end marijuana prohibition from a chat earlier this year.   

 This type of ‘Grass Tops’ contact is what COPs is all about.   In our first year you kept an anti-prohibition, law enforcement voice on Capitol Hill and in the DC area, a voice which generates instant credibility.  The transition from carrying a LEAP card to a COPs card was a smooth one.   My cowboy hat and politics are what staffers and Members remember, not my card.  COPs had ‘sit-down’ conversations with 443 Congressional staffers and chats with seven more Members.    This steady contact reminded all of them that solid, law enforcement professionals oppose the current prohibition approach to some drugs.

Since 2005 I have been educating/advocating to Members and their staff for a drug policy commission, even before Senator Webb (D-VA) was elected in November 2006.  These efforts bore fruit in 2009, when Webb introduced the National Criminal Justice Commission bill which cleared the Senate’s Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote in early 2010.  In the summer of 2010 the House passed the bill on a voice vote.  Though it died during the lame duck session, it will be introduced again in 11.  Through educational efforts these past five years, I have prepared the ground for the passage of the Webb bill.    As members of Citizens Opposing Prohibition, you can take credit for the progress made in 2009 and 2010.

Moving forward into its second year, COPs is in poised to add to the progress already made and enter new areas.  We will educate the Congress on the advantages of allowing the several States to set their own couse for drug policy, starting with marijuana.   I will attend two, new national conferences in 2011: the LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens- similar to NAACP) and the NRA (National Rifle Association).  As I have done the past five years, I will attend the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) and the three day conference in DC sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus.   Weekly, I attend the Grover Norquist brunch (120 conservative VIPs attending) and monthly I attend the Leadership Institutes’ breakfast which features conservative speakers, including Members of Congress.     I will seek out and go to the groups who do not yet agree with our position on drug policy.   We are adding speaking engagements to service clubs, churches and other community groups to our list of activities as well.

The ‘bread and butter’ of COPs will continue to be spending time in the Congress, meeting staff and Members.  Ending federal drug prohibition is a crucial part of the national strategy.  The prohibition crowd delights in repeating that federal law trumps any state law.   Our first year stats are below for your review.    I hope and trust you will continue to support these efforts.

Thank you,

Howard Wooldridge

Drug Policy Specialist and Executive Director, Citizens Opposing Prohibition

COPs  First Year Stats 2009-2010

 443 presentations to Congressional Staffers 

7 presentations to VIPs (elected officials)

37 published Letters to the Editor 

Numerous conferences, hearings & briefings attended.  C-Span broadcast my question at a Senate briefing. 

12 radio shows 

8 TV interviews (Colombian TV, Fox and Univision, NBC, cable)

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