November 20, 2012

Cop Delivers Letter Asking DOJ To Respect CO/WA Marijuana Laws

November 20, 2012
Eric Holder cannabis marijuana

Eric Holder doj marijuanaGroup Cites Public Safety Concerns Created By Illegal Marketplace - Teleconference With Colorado and Washington Law Enforcers At 12:00 PM ET

WASHINGTON, DC – This morning a former narcotics cop delivered a letter signed by 73 current and former police officers, judges, prosecutors and federal agents to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him not to interfere with the wishes of the voters of Colorado and Washington State to legalize and regulate marijuana

“We seem to be at a turning point in how our society deals with marijuana,” said Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the group that authored the letter. “The war on marijuana has funded the expansion of drug cartels, it has destroyed community-police relations and it has fostered teenage use by creating an unregulated market where anyone has easy access. Prohibition has failed. Pretty much everyone knows it, especially those of us who dedicated our lives to enforcing it. The election results show that the people are ready to try something different. The opportunity clearly exists for President Obama and Attorney General Holder to do the right thing and respect the will of the voters.”

There will be a teleconference for reporters interested in speaking with Mr. Franklin and other law enforcement signatories of the letter, as well as an NAACP leader, today at 12:00 PM ET. Please call 1-800-311-9403 (Passcode: “Marijuana”). Individual interviews are also available.

The text of the letter delivered today to Eric Holder is online at

The signatories collectively represent more than 1,100 years of experience in law enforcement.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is a group of police, judges, prosecutors, corrections officials and federal agents who, after witnessing the harms of the drug war firsthand, are now devoted to ending that war. More info at

November 20, 2012

The Honorable Eric Holder
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Mr. Attorney General and Our Colleagues in the Department of Justice,

As fellow law enforcement and criminal justice professionals we respectfully call upon you to respect and abide by the democratically enacted laws to regulate marijuana in Colorado and Washington. This is not a challenge to you, but an invitation – an invitation to help return our profession to the principles that made us enter law enforcement in the first place.

We went into law enforcement, despite its long hours and constant frustrations, because we wanted to serve our communities. We wanted to save people, to protect them, and there are few more selfless and noble callings on this earth. But the second we overthrow the will of the people, we fail to live up to the promise of that calling.

The great American political writings upon which this country was founded were based in John Locke’s concept of the social contract, which recognizes that the authority of police, and of all government, is derived from the people. And the people have spoken. To disregard the fact is to undermine the legitimacy of the ideas for which our forefathers fought and died.

This is not merely an academic argument. August Vollmer, father of professional policing and primary author of the Wickersham Commission report that served to bring an end to the prohibition of alcohol, opposed the enforcement of drug laws, saying that they “engender disrespect both for law and for the agents of law enforcement.” His words ring as true today as they did in 1929. After 40 years of the drug war, people no longer look upon law enforcement as heroes but as people to be feared. This is particularly true in poor neighborhoods and in those of people of color, and it impacts our ability to fight real crime.

One day the decision you are about to make about whether or not to respect the people’s will may well come to be the one for which you are known. The war on marijuana has contributed to tens of thousands of deaths both here and south of the border, it has empowered and expanded criminal networks and it has destroyed the mutual feeling of respect once enjoyed between citizens and police. It has not, however, reduced the supply or the demand of the drug and has only served to further alienate – through arrest and imprisonment – those who consume it.

At every crucial moment in history, there comes a time when those who derive their power from the public trust forge a new path by disavowing their expected function in the name of the greater good.  This is your moment. As fellow officers who have seen the destruction the war on marijuana has wrought on our communities, on our police forces, on our lives, we hope that you will join us in seeking a better world.


Executive Director Stanford “Neill” Franklin, Baltimore, MD
Retired State Police Major (34 years law enforcement experience)

Board and Advisory Board Members

Jack A. Cole, Medford, MA
Retired Police Detective Lieutenant, New Jersey State (26 years)

Peter Christ, Syracuse, NY
Retired Police Captain (20 years)

Stephen Downing, Los Angeles, CA
Retired Deputy Chief of Police (20 years)

James E. Gierach, Chicago, IL
Former Drug Prosecutor (12 years)

Leigh Maddox, Esq., Baltimore, MD
Retired Police Captain (17 years)

Joseph McNamara, Stanford, CA
Retired Chief of Police, Kansas City, MO and San Jose, CA (35 years)

Terry Nelson, Granbury, TX
Retired Customs and Border Protection Aviation/Marine Group Supervisor in Texas, Florida and Latin America (32 years)

Tony Ryan, Sioux Falls, SD
Retired Lieutenant Police Officer, Denver PD (36 years)

Richard Van Wickler, Stoddard, NH
Superintendent, Department of Corrections (25 years)


MacKenzie Allen, Santa Fe, NM
Former Master Police Officer and Drug Detective in Seattle and Los Angeles (15 years)

Daniel-Paul Alva, Philadelphia, PA
Former Assistant District Attorney (2 years)

John Amabile, Brockton, MA
Former Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General (4 years)

James Anthony, Oakland, CA
Former Community Prosecutor (3 years)

Dean Becker, Houston, TX
Former Air Force Security Police Officer (3 years)

Nate Bradley, Sheridan, CA
Former Deputy Sheriff, Wheatland PD (5 years)

Arnold J. “Jim” Byron, Burlington, WA
Retired United States Customs Inspector in Minnesota and Washington State (31 years)

Jerry Cameron, Saint Augustine, FL
Retired Chief of Police (17 years)

George T. Cole, Chicago, IL
Retired Senior Special Agent (26 years)

Beth Comery, Providence, RI
Former Police Officer (5 years)

William John Cox, Long Beach, CA
Retired Police Officer and Prosecutor in Los Angeles and San Diego (40 years)

Richard F. Craig, Travelers Rest, SC
Former Lieutenant Police Officer, Rockland, MA PD (33 years)

Tim Datig, Egg Harbor, NJ
Retired Police Chief, St. Aldans Police Department, Vermont (28 years)

John Delaney, Bryan, TX
Retired District Court Judge, State of Texas (29 years)

Det. David Doddridge, St. George, UT
Retired Military Police Officer and Narcotics Detective, LAPD (21 years)

James A. Doherty, Seattle, WA
Former Corrections Officer and Prosecutor (7 years)

Sean Dunagan, Washington, DC
Former DEA Senior Intelligence Research Specialist (13 years)

Richard E. Erickson, Lakeport, CA
Retired Patrolman (22 years)

Jay Fleming, Mohave Valley, AZ
Former Narcotics Investigator, Spokane, WA (15 years)

Shelley Fox-Loken, Portland, OR
Retired Probation & Parole Officer (19 years)

Leonard I. Frieling, Boulder, CO
Former Judge (8 years)

Michael J. Gilbert, Ph. D., San Antonio, TX
Former Corrections Practitioner (12 years)

Diane M. Goldstein, Santa Ana, CA
Retired Lieutenant Police Officer (21 years)

Judge James P. Gray, Santa Ana, CA
Retired Superior Court Judge (32 years)

Jamie Haase, Greenville, SC
Former Special Agent and Customs Inspector, Baltimore and Laredo (10 years)

Karen E. Hawkes, Boston, MA
Retired State Trooper, First Class (13 years)

Patrick Heintz, Agawam, MA
Retired Correctional Officer/Counselor (20 years)

Wesley E. Johnson, J.D., Tulsa, OK
Former Police Officer (5 years)

Russell Jones, New Braunfels, TX
Former Narcotics Detective (10 years)

Jeff Kaufman, New York, NY
Former Police Officer, Special Assignment (8 years)

Kyle Kazan, Long Beach, CA
Retired Police Officer (5 years)

Leo E. Laurence, J.D., San Diego, CA
Former Deputy Sheriff

David M. Long, J.D., San Francisco, CA
Former Special Agent in Florida and California (9 years)

John Lorenzo, Southbury, CT
Retired Chief of Marine Police (20 years)

Paul R. MacLean, Concord, NH
Retired State Trooper (20 years)

Sean McAllister, Denver, CO
Former Assistant Attorney General of Colorado (3 years)

M. P. McCally, Renton, WA
Former Probation Counselor (7 years)

James W.F.E. Mooney, Washington County, UT
Retired Former Narcotics Undercover Agent and Corrections Official (10 Years)

Peter Moskos, New York, NY
Former Baltimore City Police Officer (2 years)

Richard D. Newton, Aviation Interdiction Agent, El Paso, TX
Retired US Customs & Border Protection in Florida, Puerto Rico and elsewhere (30 years)

Patrick K. Nightingale, Esquire, Pittsburgh, PA
Former Assistant District Attorney (6 years)

James J. Nolan – Morgantown, WV
Former Police Lieutenant and FBI Unit Chief, Wilmington, DE (13 years)

Nick Novello, Dallas, TX
Police Officer (30 years)

John O’ Brien, Fullerton, CA
Former Sheriff, Genessee County, MI (12 years)

Chad Padgett, Walton, IN
Former Correctional Officer (6 years)

James S. Peet, Ph.D., CFE, Sumner, WA
Former National Park Service Ranger, Police Officer, Alexandria, VA (6 years)

Titus Peterson, Denver, CO
Former Deputy District Attorney (5 years)

Howard L. Rahtz, Cincinnatti, OH
Retired Police Captain (30 years)

Richard Renfro, Detroit, MI
Retired Special Agent/Financial Criminal Investigator/Supervisor (25 years)

Charles M. Rowland II, Beavercreek, OH
Former Special Prosecutor (3 years)

Bob Scott, Franklin, NC
Retired Executive Officer (15 years)

Dwayne Sessom, Lawton, OK
Former Deputy Sheriff (3 years)

Carol Ruth Silver, San Francisco, CA
Retired Sheriff’s Department Prisoner Legal Services Director (1 year)

Ethan Simon, Albuquerque, NM
Former Assistant District Attorney (6 years)

Norm Stamper, Seattle, WA
Retired Chief of Police, San Diego and Seattle (34 years)

Eric E. Sterling, Washington, DC
Former Counsel to the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary (10 years)

Thomas P. Sullivan, Chicago, IL
Former U.S. Attorney (4 years)

Betty Taylor, St. Louis, MO
Former Police Chief, Winfield PD (7 years)

Jason Thomas, Denver, CO
Former Detention Officer and Deputy Marshall (2 years)

John Tommasi, Durham, NH
Retired Police Sergeant (37 years)

Kyle Vogt, Port St. Lucie, FL
Former Military Police Officer (4 years)

Richard K. Watkins, Ed. D., Huntsville, TX
Retired Senior Prison Warden (20 years)

Rusty White, Bridgeport, TX
Former Correctional Officer, Arizona State (7 years)


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