Tuesday night on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, former Baltimore police officer Neill Franklin called on President Barack Obama to push for drug policy reform.
Franklin, the director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, told Maddow that the recently approved marijuana legalization referenda in Colorado and Washington state were a win for both law enforcement and users of the drug.
“It’s a win-win because it has been drug prohibition like with marijuana that has driven a wedge in between police and community,” he explained. “Number one, police can get back to the business that they want to do and that is to protect people from violent people — rape, robbery, murder, crimes against our children, domestic violence. We can get back to the business of that.”
“Most of us didn’t sign on this job to arrest people for smoking pot,” Franklin continued. “It gives us an opportunity to repair the damage that has been done between police and community. You know, racial profiling, the foundation for racial profiling today in this country is the drug war.”
“The drug war just doesn’t work anymore. There’s not one piece of it that works. We have more drugs in our community than ever before. It’s very costly, four decades, $1.3 trillion. Our prisons are bursting at the seams with black and brown people. We need a change, and it’s time for the president to lead on this one.”
Obama said last year that he was not in favor of marijuana legalization, but did think federal drug policy should focus less on incarceration and enforcement, and more on medical treatment and harm reduction.
Watch video, courtesy of MSNBC, below: