LEAP member encourages drug legalization

Michael Arnaudo

Joe Brooks does not condone drug use. He does, however, believe that money spent on the drug war could be used for more important problems.

Brooks, a former Manchester, Conn., police officer and active member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, gave a presentation to a packed Mancheski last Wednesday on the organization’s main principles and message.

The Society, Life and Justice club sponsored the event. President Michelle Cummins said it decided to bring Brooks to Quinnipiac because his message would be pertinent to students.

“Society, Life and Justice tries to get issues that are interesting and relevant to Quinnipiac’s community,” she said. “Recently, with all of the room raids and people getting kicked off of campus for weed and other substances, we thought it would be interesting to bring this to campus.”

LEAP’s main message is that all drugs should be “legalized, controlled, and medicalized.”

“I think we’re a long way from legalization of all drugs,” said Sarah Beyel, a senior attendee. “However, I think it’s going more towards the acceptance of marijuana.”

Brooks said that if drugs were to be legalized, there would be a minor spike in drug usage because it would be more public.

“Instead of hiding it in their dorms, college students would start walking across campus and smoking marijuana in the open,” he said. “Will some people try it who haven’t tried it before? Yes, but we said the same thing about the prohibition of alcohol. When the government decided to end prohibition in 1933, people said “Oh my God, we’re going to have an entire country of drunks!” So will there be a spike? For a little while, yes.”

Brooks said that the $72 billion the U.S is spending on the war on drugs could be used for other important societal issues, such as education.

He added that it is hypocritical that some non-harmful drugs like marijuana are illegal while there are plenty of harmful drugs on the market that are legal. For example, he compared heroin to Oxycontin, saying that Oxycontin can be just as addicting and harmful as heroin can be.

Brooks likened cigarettes and alcohol to drugs, because they can be addicting and kill thousands of people each year.

Brooks mentioned that there are countries like Portugal that have legalized all drugs, which has proven to be beneficial since crime has dropped significantly.

Cummins said LEAP’s proposal of legalizing all drugs would provide more awareness to the issue.
“This was an interesting approach to it,” she said. “Some people argue for pro-weed, and sometimes they’re not thinking in that sense. They’re thinking only about the drug, and not the other effects it has on society.”

Brooks said he believes that LEAP’s goal of legalizing drugs would benefit society.

“Whether it’s from street gangs, from Mexicans dying from their war, fighting the avenue of distribution in this country, or from young people dying in Afghanistan, why are you supporting that?” he asked. “Tell me something that allows me to understand why you think continuing to keep these things illegal is doing something good for this country.”