2011-10-06 / About Town

Rev. James Keller: ‘Legalize all drugs’

REV. JAMES KELLER REV. JAMES KELLER Rev. James Keller, a retired Presbyterian minister, and former state Rep. Norma Willis will sponsor a special event at the Jamestown Philomenian Library on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. to discuss the pros of ending drug prohibition in the United States.

Jack Cole, a 26-year veteran of the New Jersey State Police, will be the guest speaker at the event. Cole is the co-founder and chairman of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which was created to “give voice to law enforcers who believe the U.S. war on drugs is a self-perpetuating, constantly expanding policy disaster.”

Keller and Willis, both from Jamestown, met earlier this year after Willis read a letter submitted by Keller to the Providence Journal titled, “End the drug war: Legalize all drugs.” Willis calls the two the “odd couple,” since Keller is a liberal, while Willis a Republican.

“But we are together in this fight,” said Keller.

While living in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in the late-1980s, Keller said the town was a “gorgeous place” with great weather and about 25 language schools. “Some schools had as many as 200 students,” he said.

But recently, since Keller has returned stateside, Cuernavaca has become a “battleground for control by drug organizations.”

Keller said that today, only two students are active in the language schools because residents are fearful of their lives. This happened because two years ago a drug lord was killed in the city. Keller is worried that the drug war could spill into the United States.

“By legalizing all drugs,” Keller wrote, “the huge economic profit that feeds the gangs, which commit horrendous crimes and jeopardizes Mexican society, would be taken away.”

Keller added that the taxes collected from the sale of drugs could go towards rehab centers and to educate people about the harm of drugs.

“The drug war is steeped on racism, needlessly destroying the lives of young people, corrupting police, and being used as an excuse to destabilize countries around the word,” Cole said.

“Legalizing drugs will make us safer,” Keller said. “The dangerous drug cartels – without drugs – will have no business.”

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