This November, Arizona residents will have the chance to vote of the the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. This ballot measure would in effect legalize recreational cannabis in the Grand Canyon State. Among the arguments filed with the state in favor of the act, two retired Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents—Supervisory Special Agent Michael Capasso and Agent Finn Selander—wrote in favor of ending prohibition. Considering the DEA’s primary role in upholding prohibition, the Drug War vets’ endorsement of legalization holds extra weight. The following is their argument in favor of legalization based on their frontline views of the war.
You might not expect two federal drug agents with more than 40 years experience combating marijuana proliferation in America to support an initiative to legalize the drug’s sale in Arizona. But we do. And it is because of our experience.
Each of us put in 20 or more years in the Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement entities. And both of us realize that marijuana prohibition is a failed drug policy that should end.
Prohibition doesn’t keep marijuana off our streets or decrease use. And it certainly doesn’t keep marijuana out of the hands of teens. But prohibition does result in billions of dollars in profits flowing to drug cartels. This drug money fuels lavish lifestyles among drug lords and deadly violence among rival cartels aiming to protect smuggling territory and street corners.
We have seen the consequences of America’s marijuana prohibition policies. It is long past time to allow adults to legally buy marijuana. Taxation and strict regulation should be the mantra when it comes to marijuana. Now that we are retired from the DEA, we can speak out and say that marijuana should be taxed and regulated to keep profits from ruining our streets and causing mayhem south of the border.
In addition to money headed to drug cartels, police forces throughout Arizona and the nation spend billions to combat marijuana trade. It’s all for naught. We were a part of that wasted effort. Playing cat and mouse games with cartels members in the U.S. and abroad proved to be a waste. Keeping a substance less harmful than alcohol out of the hands of adults continues to prove useless.
We support Proposition  because cartels should not continue to rake in our dollars and create havoc on our streets.
The former DEA agents were just two voices out of many calling for legalization. For example, two medical doctors—Jeffrey A. Singer, MD, FACS General Surgeon and Alan Jay Citrin D.O., Anesthesiologist, Medical Director—added, “All doctors are familiar with the phrase, ‘First, do no harm.’ When it comes to marijuana policy in Arizona, it is marijuana prohibition that is causing us harm. It not only steers marijuana users into a dangerous illegal market, but it forces them to buy marijuana that is untested and potentially impure.”
No matter how much crazy propaganda the prohibitionists put out there, professionals from all fields are stepping up in larger and larger numbers to do the right thing for America and the world. Recreational and medical initiatives are on the ballot in nine states, putting the outcome in the hands of people like yourself. Doctors, politicians, former DEA agents and other professionals are doing their part, and hopefully you will do yours on November 8 to vote for legalization.