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Former cop suggests new approach to drug policy

Katie Kooser

Issue date: 11/12/10 Section: News
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"The prohibition approach has filled our jails, criminalized millions of our citizens, provided a financial windfall for international and local criminal groups, and somehow we never tire of pretending it is working," said Howard Rahtz, from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), said this past Tuesday, Nov. 8. Case Western Reserve University's Young Americans for Liberty, Case Democrats, and Students for a Sensible Drug Policy hosted Rahtz to speak about revising the United States' current drug prohibition policy. Nearly 60 CWRU students and faculty attended.

Rahtz is a former police captain and SWAT team negotiator with an M.A. in Rehab Counseling from the University of Cincinnati, and degrees from Northwestern University School of Police Command, and the Ohio Police Executive Leadership College. Rahtz also gained insight about drugs and their effect on individuals' lives as the supervisor of a city run methadone program. His background with drug treatment and in drug interdiction has exposed him to the realities of current drug prohibition policy. With 18 years of law enforcement experience under his belt, including his years as police captain of the Cincinnati Police Department, Rahtz has one goal: "[to] choke off the revenue that supports drug cartels and drug trafficking." Choking off such revenue, he said, would in turn be a financial benefit for the United States.

Rahtz suggests this goal can be achieved by legalizing marijuana, but not supporting public use of the drug.The legal sale of marijuana would provide the U.S. with two new sources of revenue: the money saved by reducing criminal justice costs and the money earned by taxing the drug.

While combating drug transactions on American streets, Rahtz recognized that his police department might make a greater difference in the drug war by tackling drugs on the wholesale level. Rahtz and his department set records by taking on this new approach, preventing many drugs from reaching street dealers. But the efficacy of the approach is questionable.
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Issue Summary


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  • Former cop suggests new approach to drug policy
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