"The 'war on drugs' has created a lack of respect for the law."
John Amabile has years of experience in the drug war, from the perspectives of a prosecutor, a public defender, and now a private attorney. He was an Assistant Attorney General from 1982-1986 in the criminal Bureau of the Massachusetts Attorney General's office. After trying hundreds of cases in the state and federally, as well as on the county level, he now advocates for drug legalization and sees LEAP as an effective vehicle to begin the process of ending the drug war by educating the public.
John emphasizes the vital distinction between calling for an end to the drug war and promoting drug use. As he states, "Being an opponent of drug prohibition doesn't make you a proponent of drug abuse or drug addiction. Rather, it is an acknowledgement of a failed system and an attempt to create a system that can actually address the problems of drug abuse and drug addiction."
John recognizes that drug prohibition creates contempt for the law, particularly from African-American communities which are targeted on a grossly disproportionate basis. For him, his opposition to the drug war was a cumulative process. "Growing up when I did, I was struck by the falsehoods being put forth by the proponents of drug enforcement. I observed that most drug users were neither drug addicts nor bad people." John is a keen observer of current issues and understands the wide scope of policy disasters attributable to the war on drugs from the racial disparity affecting people of color to the foreign policy disasters created in Colombia, Panama, Afghanistan and Mexico. He notes the extreme hypocrisy involved in the enforcement of the drug laws, pointing out that presidential candidates routinely lay out their drug history disclosures at the beginning of their candidacies while publicly supporting harsh penalties for drug possession. Similarly, in Massachusetts, most DA's admitted to trying marijuana while publicly opposing the decriminalization of small amounts of the drug - Amabile points out the absurdity of this situation and the fact that such opposition by the prosecutors has no scientific or public health basis.
Currently, John is a principal partner at Amabile & Burkly, P.C. in Brockton, MA which specializes in civil and criminal litigation. He received his B.A. from the University of Colorado and J.D. from Boston College Law School. He resides with his wife in the Boston area and has a college-aged son.