NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • In Historic Move, Feds Won't Prosecute States That Legalize Pot


    Neil Franklin: Despite opposition from police and prison guard unions, Attorney General Eric Holder won't go after Colorado and Washington for legalizing marijuana for recreational use -   September 16, 13
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook




    TRNN is a rare source of objective facts, analysis and commentary, not available in mainstream news. - Robert
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), is a 33-year police veteran who led multi-jurisdictional anti-narcotics task forces for the Maryland State Police and ran training for the Baltimore Police Department. After seeing several of his law enforcement friends killed in the line of fire while enforcing drug policies, Neill knew that he needed to work to change these laws that cause so much harm but do nothing to reduce drug use.

    Transcript

    In Historic Move, Feds Won't Prosecute States That Legalize PotJAISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jaisal Noor in Baltimore.

    In what's being hailed as a historic move by opponents of the so-called on drugs, Attorney General Eric Holder recently informed the governors of Colorado and Washington that the Department of Justice would let those states' marijuana laws go into effect and allow them to independently implement the ballot initiatives that legalized pot for recreational use in those states.

    Now joining us to discuss this is Neill Franklin. Neill Franklin was a police officer in Maryland for 33 years. He's now the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. He was part of an anti-narcotics task force for the Maryland State Police. Responding to the events that led up to his friends in law enforcement getting killed while enforcing drug laws, he became an advocate for changes in U.S. drug policy.

    Thank you so much for joining us.

    NEILL FRANKLIN, EXEC. DIR., LAW ENFORCEMENT AGAINST PROHIBITION: Thanks for having me, Jaisal.

    NOOR: So, Neil, can you outline your thoughts and your response to this historic move that the Department of Justice will not go after Colorado and Washington for legalizing pot for recreational use?

    FRANKLIN: First of all, my response is: a great first step. This is something that has to be done. I think one of the key things here is that the voters of both Washington and Colorado, this is what they wanted. Back in November they voted for this, so this is what they wanted.

    Now the Department of Justice in a way is honoring that. He's--when I say he, Eric Holder has communicated with the governors of both states pretty much outlining eight areas of enforcement that the federal government is going to pay attention to with their limited resources.

    NOOR: And so opponents of the so-called war on drugs have hailed this as historic, but the prosecution of marijuana is just one limited part of the so-called war on drugs. Can you put this in perspective? Just how big of a role do marijuana arrests play?

    FRANKLIN: Yeah. Well, you know, the war on drugs in its entirety--we're talking about other drugs too. We're talking about cocaine, we're talking about heroin, we're talking about crystal meth and others.

    It's been reported by the federal government that somewhere around 60 percent of the proceeds being made by organized crime, the cartel, organized gangs, local gangs, comes from the sale of marijuana. It's a huge blow to organized crime. It's a huge blow to the cartel.

    Now, so what does that really mean? Okay. It means that we can begin to dismantle this war on drugs. Most of the arrests that are being made in this country are being made for marijuana. Over 700,000 people every year are being arrested in the United States for the possession of marijuana. This is a great move to ending that.

    NOOR: So some groups have come out as opponents of the Department of Justice move, mainly police unions, the fraternal order of police, other very powerful, influential groups. Can you tell us about their opposition and what role they play in the so-called war on drugs? This is not often discussed in the media.

    FRANKLIN: Well, most of the groups who are coming out opposing this move are either police leaders like the International Chiefs of Police, the Sheriffs Association, and unions such as the Narcotics Officers Association, and so on. So what that means is we're looking at police leaders who are typically following the party lines of their mayors who put them in place as police chiefs.

    But you know what? There's one good part here. Sheriffs are elected by the people. And there's a sheriff who was at the hearing yesterday from King County in Washington State, Sheriff Urquhart, and what he said is we need to honor the wishes of the people. The people have voted. He said that we in law enforcement have failed the people by refusing to honor their wishes in the past. He said that the war on drugs has failed and we in law enforcement have a responsibility to move in a new direction. That takes courage when you have your counterparts, your peers saying something else. He's absolutely right in his analysis of this and that we in law enforcement need to change our perspective.

    He also said that you know what? Law enforcement is always lagging behind and slow to change. We need to step it up a bit and we need to change. They're going to continue to push back at those levels when unfortunately many of our police leaders have a vested interest in this. Okay? Federal dollars flow into law enforcement agencies who enforce these policies. And I think that's about the change, because those dollars come from the Department of Justice. So we're going to see a slow change regarding that.

    NOOR: And I talked to one former police officer who was a former lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and he said that it's the police and prison guard units that are the number-one lobbyists to keep the war on drugs going. So talk more about what the power is, their influence is, and just what kind of influence they have in Washington and in states around the country.

    FRANKLIN: They have a lot of influence. They have a lot of money. They're a special interest. They support a lot of our policymakers in Washington and at the state level.

    And, yeah, I mean, this unfortunately has become big business for everyone, not just the private prisons, not just for those companies that support private prisons and so on. But unfortunately we have asset forfeiture, you know, where police agencies seize money and property from people who are violating our drug laws. You know.

    And it's also about the lifestyle of narcotics officers. It's nice to be able to come to work wearing soft clothes, plainclothes, set your own hours, work tons of overtime, call your own shots day-to-day. And as this continues to change, their lifestyles are going to change. You know what? Some of them have to go back and work in uniform, you know, pushing patrol unit, follow a set schedule, and that's not received well by many who have been in narcotics for such a long time.

    NOOR: And so, this policy's been criticized, especially now with the economy in such dire straits, with schools closing across the country, other community centers, other resources being closed. But the U.S. still has money, billions of dollars every year, to keep these prisons open and to keep locking up drug offenders.

    FRANKLIN: But just think about this. Currently we're spending over $50 billion across this nation every year on enforcing our drug policies. So that's from arrests all the way through parole and probation.

    Now imagine this. If we can now begin to divert some of those dollars into community centers, into recreational centers--for instance, right here in Baltimore we closed a couple of years ago 18 PAL centers, 18 centers where kids were going after school, you know, and doing homework and interacting with police, staying off the street corners. We closed 18 of them. Now, imagine if we can reopen those and more, giving these kids something to do, keeping them off the street corners. And when you think about it, at the end of the day, you know, if we continue to move forward with shutting down the war on drugs, you know what? Many of these kids won't have reason to be on the street corners peddling drugs. This is a great beginning for that.

    NOOR: So, finally, so far just two states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Do you think this move by the federal government will open the floodgates, essentially, and encourage other states to take similar measures?

    FRANKLIN: Yeah. It's going to create great opportunity. One example--actually, two, side by side, Maryland and Pennsylvania. We had policymakers from both states a few months ago introduce legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana here in both states. There were a number of policymakers that were reluctant to move forward or even to support it, even though they know that we have to go this way. They were reluctant because the federal government was not behind it in any way, that it was still illegal federally to make this move.

    Now it kind of removes that weight from their shoulders and they relax a little bit more. And I think you're going to see more state policymakers come out in support of similar policies, like in Washington and Colorado.

    And let me tell you another reason why this is so significant. Other countries are looking at Washington and Colorado. That Uruguay recently--the legislators in Uruguay recently moved to legalize marijuana in that country--they're not a state; a country in Central America. That is critical. You're going to see more of this, because now that the United States is beginning to make some change, so will other countries that have been wanting to do this for so long.

    NOOR: Neill Franklin, thank you so much for joining us.

    FRANKLIN: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

    NOOR: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Affirmative Action Ruling Will Further Racial Inequality
    Evidence For Russian Involvement In East Ukraine Based On Shoddy Journalism
    Ivy League Study Says The General Public Has Virtually No Influence On Policy
    The Modern History of Venezuela and Popular Democracy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (9/9)
    An Asia "Pivot" Should Mean Cooperating with China to Solve the Global Environmental Crisis
    Assessing the U.S. Environmental Movement
    Intimidation and Political Interference Goes Unpunished in UAW Case
    Exclusive Investigation Uncovers How BP Uses Bribes To Do Business
    The Modern History of Venezuela, The Protests and Democracy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (8/9)
    Greek Politics 4 Years After The Financial Crisis
    CBO Report Confirms U.S. Deficit Back to Normal Level
    Israel Uses Refugees as "Currency" in Arms Trade with Africa
    Who Will Pay for Climate Change Disaster?
    Canada Shifts to Right Under Harper, Mimicking the United States
    The Savings and Loan Crisis Demonstrates the Importance of Glass-Steagall
    South African Platinum Miner's Struggle Challenges ANC Leadership
    TRNN Original Report: Manning Determined to Fight Back After Army Upholds 35- Year Sentence
    Hundredth Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre
    The Bundy Ranch Standoff Demonstrates Values Shared by Corporations and the Far Right
    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting