Presidential contestant Ron Paul got thunderous applause at a Republican presidential candidate's forum last week with the following statement: "We don't have to have more courts and more prisons, we need to repeal the whole War on Drugs."
The warm reaction, wouldn't have surprised legal consultant Jim Doherty, a former prosecutor and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
Doherty speaks several times a year before community groups: Rotary, Kiwanis, chambers of commerce. Those who don't agree with his message -- that the War on Drugs has been a 30-year, $69 billion failure -- are generally receptive by the end.
LEAP is a nationwide association of people who have worked to catch, try, and put away participants in the drug trade, and who now want to put the whole system in recovery. Provide treatment, not prison. License the production, distribution, and ingestion of drugs. Watch the black market, which makes pot more available to kids than beer, lose its cachet.
"More and more people of all types are receptive to this idea," he says. "They know drugs are bad, but they also know the criminal justice system isn't helping."