*Originally published to our email newsletter on 7/22/2021*
In 2005 – at fifty-four years old, mustached and wearing a wide-brimmed Stetson, bandana, dusty boots, and spurs, looking every bit the classic Hollywood cowboy – Howard Wooldridge saddled up his one-eyed horse Misty, and rode 3,300 miles across the country from Los Angelas to NYC.
A retired police detective, his goal was to raise awareness for a cause he’d become passionate about – legalizing marijuana and other drugs. Often on his trek, he wore a t-shirt emblazoned with “COPS SAY LEGALIZE DRUGS. ASK ME WHY.”
Along his journey, he lectured on university & college campuses about criminal justice issues – primarily those associated with the war on drugs. Repeatedly, he talked about how as a cop, he’d never received any calls for help because of marijuana. Yet he and his fellow cops spent countless hours chasing and searching – and arresting people for – this harmless plant.
He was quoted as saying, “Every hour spent looking for pot reduces public safety.”
Three years prior to his transcontinental clippety-clap, he and several other ex-cops founded the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) that would eventually grow to 40,000 members composed of former prosecutors, undercover narcotics agents, judges, prison wardens, and other government agents. They all agreed that the war on drugs has proven itself a monstrous failure that has accomplished nothing but to foster crime, corruption, social discord & racial injustice, and drug abuse itself. Further, it has squandered billions of dollars and packed courtrooms & prisons with innocent people.
In the year that Wooldridge & Misty hoofed across the country, 750,000 Americans were arrested on cannabis-related charges.
Fortunately, we’ve been moving in the right direction in the sixteen years since Mr. Wooldridge’s ride. There is still a lot of work to be done, but hey – we can now order buds online and have them delivered right to our door thanks to the Delta-8 variant of THC.