Undercover Narc Testifies for Marijuana Legalization in Rhode Island -- Senate Commission Studying Changes to State's Marijuana Laws

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A former undercover narcotics detective will tell a Rhode Island Senate commission on Wednesday that it is time for the state to legalize and regulate marijuana sales, or at least decriminalize possession of the drug.

Jack Cole

help Rhode Island legislators understand that thousands of lives can be positively affected by modernizing Rhode Island’s marijuana laws, as Massachusetts did when 65 percent of voters chose to decriminalize possession through a November 2008 public initiative.

Jack Cole, executive director of the Massachusetts-based group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a worldwide organization of pro-legalization cops, judges and prosecutors, planned to tell the commission that, "During my 26-year career in the New Jersey State Police, about a thousand people were arrested as a result of my actions as an undercover officer. Those arrests accomplished nothing. Worse yet, the war on drugs has become a self-perpetuating, constantly expanding policy disaster that has absorbed more than a trillion of our tax dollars. Yet, today drugs are cheaper, stronger and easier for our children to access.” Cole said he hopes to "help Rhode Island legislators understand that thousands of lives can be positively affected by modernizing Rhode Island’s marijuana laws, as Massachusetts did when 65 percent of voters chose to decriminalize possession through a November 2008 public initiative."

Cole will deliver testimony this Wednesday, February 3 at 5:00 P.M. to the "Special Senate Commission to Study the Prohibition of Marijuana," chaired by Sen. Josh Miller (D-Cranston). The hearing will be held in room 212 of the State House.

Rhode Island has made a series of changes to its marijuana laws in recent years, starting with the enactment of a medical marijuana law and then with the expansion of that law to allow for compassion centers where approved patients will be able to access a legal and regulated supply of the drug. Rep. John Edwards (D-Portsmouth, Tiverton) introduced legislation on Tuesday to decriminalize marijuana possession and Sen. Rhoda Perry (D-Providence) is expected to introduce a companion bill sometime within the next week. The Senate commission's report, which is due by March 31, could recommend even further changes to the state's marijuana laws, such as taxation and regulation of sales for all adults.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), 15,000-member organization representing police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents and others from around the world who want to legalize and regulate all drugs after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info online at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com.

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