Before retiring, Jack Cole was an undercover officer in the war
against drugs. Now, the former New Jersey state police officer heads a
national group that seeks to legalize drugs.

Cole, executive director of the 1-year-old Law Enforcement Against
Prohibition, is bringing his message to the Valley this week, which
began Saturday in Scottsdale with the Military Officers Association of
America.

"There's not a drug known to human beings that became better for being
prohibited," Cole said Saturday. "If we legalize drugs, there wouldn't
be a terrorist in the world who could make a penny off it."

A group spokesman, Mike Smithson, said the group has more than 600
members, a third of which are from the criminal justice system or
politics, including former New Mexico Gov. Gary E. Johnson, U.S.
District Court judges, a former head of Scotland Yard, sheriffs,
border guards and narcotic officers.

Cole and Smithson say the war on drugs has failed. Crime, murders and
even drug abuse would decline with legalization, Cole said, referring
to results in other countries such as Switzerland. If legalized, drugs
could be regulated and controlled like alcohol and tobacco, he said.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former the head of Mexico and
South American operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration, said he was shocked and disturbed by the group's mission.

"I do believe we should educate and rehabilitate when we can," Arpaio
said. "But I believe drug abusers should go to jail. Period."

[sidebar]

SHOULD WE LEGALIZE IT?

Jack Cole, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition,
is scheduled to speak at the following:

10 a.m. today -- Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix, 4027
E. Li ncoln Drive, Paradise Valley

Noon Monday -- radio interview with KFNX (1100 AM) with Ernest
Hancock.

7 p.m. Monday -- television interview on Horizons on KAET-TV (Channel
8)

7 a.m. Tuesday -- Scottsdale Kiwanis Club at McCormick Ranch Golf
Club, 7505 E. McCormick Parkway, Scottsdale

Noon Tuesday -- Scottsdale Airpark Rotary, Westin Kierland Resort and
Spa, 6902 E. Greenway Parkway, Scottsdale

6 p.m. Tuesday -- Scottsdale Lions Club, Hometown Buffet, 1312 N.
Scottsdale Road


Pubdate: Sun, 21 Sep 2003
Source: East Valley Tribune (AZ)
Copyright: 2003 East Valley Tribune.
Contact: forum@aztrib.com
Website: http://www.eastvalleytribune.com