Drug Law Reform Activist’s Cross Country Tour Stops in Rochester

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Howard Woolridge, a former police officer and longtime advocate for the legalization of drugs, will bring his Howard’s Ride tour to Rochester Institute of Technology at 7 p.m. Sept. 12, in the Max Lowenthal Building, room 3215.

Woolridge is nearing completion of a 3,400–mile tour from Los Angeles to New York City, by horse, to raise awareness concerning needed reforms of national drug control policies. Woolridge’s ride is sponsored by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a national organization of prominent law enforcement personnel, judges and elected officials who call for an end to drug prohibition.

“The mission of LEAP is to reduce the multitude of harms resulting from the war on drugs,” Woolridge says. “Current drug policy has failed and the only rational way to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime and addiction is through ultimately ending drug prohibition.”

Woolridge and his horse, Misty, began their ride in March 2005. They have made extensive stops throughout the country and plan on finishing in New York City on October 1. This is the second leg of Howard’s Ride. The first, a tour from Georgia to Oregon, was completed in 2003.

RIT Professor Thomas Castellano, chair of the department of criminal justice, organized Woolridge’s stop here in Rochester.

“Howard’s Ride is a good example of what one man can do to try to change policies he believes are wrong,” Castellano says. “His presentation will be extremely informative for our students and will hopefully spark informed debate about the proper course of U.S. drug control policy.”

Founded in 2002, LEAP now has an international membership of over 2,000 former and current law enforcement professionals. Their advisory board also includes Hon. Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, and U.S. District Court Judge John L. Kane.