Remembering Kansas City Police Chief Joseph McNamara

Amber Iris Langston
November 11, 2014 | Amber Iris Langston

“Let’s be honest; the war on marijuana has failed.” – Former Kansas City Police Chief Joseph McNamara

Recently, the country lost a hero with the passing of Harvard PhD and Hoover Institution fellow Joseph McNamara. Considered the “father of community policing”, McNamara led ground-breaking efforts here in Kansas City to reconcile the mistrust of police by citizens and increase public safety. As a prominent member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), McNamara stood at the front line of the drug war and found it a failure.

I had the privilege of working briefly with Dr. McNamara in 2010 for California’s marijuana legalization effort, and he was unequivocally the most potent voice of our campaign. I had hoped to someday invite Dr. McNamara back to Kansas City to speak about marijuana prohibition.

Though Joe will not be with us, LEAP Director Neill Franklin, former ACLU Director Ira Glasser, Representative Brandon Ellington, and Show-Me Cannabis will participate in a public forum from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on November 12 in Kansas City at the Mary L. Kelly Center, 2803 E. 51st St., to discuss race and the drug war. Please join us and help advance the cause for which McNamara fought in the last decades of his life.

This article appeared in the November 11, 2014, edition of the Show-Me Cannabis email newsletter.