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My Turn: Why a former DEA agent supports legalizing marijuana
I was a warrior in the war on drugs.
I spent 20 years fighting the flow of drugs into America, including 18 years as a DEA special agent. As a special agent, I helped spearhead the Drug Enforcement Administration’s marijuana efforts in Florida and New Mexico before retiring.
I spent a lifetime’s work in law enforcement, mostly centered on stanching the flow drugs into America, and have come to one conclusion: I don’t believe marijuana should be illegal.
Yes, despite a career spent trying to take marijuana off our streets – targeting low-level drug dealers, mom-and-pop grow operations, mega-growers and foreign drug traffickers – I realize our tax dollars and law enforcement resources could have been better spent.
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Yesterday we witnessed the release of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a highly anticipated movie depicting an unstoppable force and the proverbial immovable object. But what many people might overlook is that we've been witnessing a real-life battle for years beyond the confines of the movie theater between a seemingly unstoppable force known as marijuana, and the federal government which has maintained its position as the immovable object.
The real-life unstoppable force and immovable object
Marijuana has grown by veritable leaps and bounds since it was first approved by Proposition 215 in California all the way back in 1996. Today we can count 23 states as having legalized the drug for medical purposes. Additionally, since 2012 four states (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska) have legalized the sale of recreational marijuana. The result, at least for some recreation-legal states, has been explosive growth.
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