Marijuana Legalization: Meet Peter Christ, the Ex-Cop Who's Working to End the Drug War (VIDEO)

Former police Captain and founder of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) Peter Christ appeared on Buffalo's WGRZ-TV's "2Sides" to discuss the war on drugs:


After a slow start of clarifications, Christ starts lucidly attacking the logic behind our current system of law enforcement. He uses his experience on the police force, historical examples and statistical evidence to make one of the most well rounded arguments against prohibition that has ever aired on television.

Christ reviews how our prohibition of alcohol was utterly ineffective, increased crime rates, and endangered otherwise law abiding citizens. He explains that laws should be designed to protect us from each other, not "protect us from ourselves." Christ shows that morality policing has always been utterly ineffective, and he has the stats to prove it.

Christ then goes on to paint the more pertinent issue: violent crime and incarceration rates in this country are fed almost entirely by the war on drugs. We're destroying the lives of millions of non-violent offenders. We have the biggest prison system in the world, and the most efficient and yet drugs are prevalent throughout all of them, so we can't even enact an effective drug enforcement policy in the jails where we house drug users.

There is nothing new to these stats and economics, which have become prevalent in recent debates ... but it's nice to hear them from someone who has been on the enforcement side for decades. Christ reminds us that there simply is no victory to be had in the "War on Drugs." Comparing it to WWII, Christ jokes that we don't still periodically "fight the Germans" because that was a war with a clearly defined end.

This is among several professional testimonials that advocate treating drugs as a health and educational issue. Look at cigarette smoking, which has dropped by 50% due to people's awareness of the inherent medical risks not from having them banned. Another example is Portugal, which has for the last 10 years legalized all drugs, and has enjoyed a sharp decline in crime rates as a result.

This interview is just one more example of how the tide is turning on drug enforcement's information war. It's fast becoming impossible to justify our current policies. Meanwhile, the NYPD spent 1 million hours making 440,000 arrests for low-level marijuana possession charges between 2002 and 2012. And more and more officers come out with secret recordings and proof of racially driven quota systems.

Something has to change.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Roy Klabin

Graduate student at Columbia University School of Journalism. I cover crime & corruption, social injustice and cartoon politics.

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