We’ve seen a lot of endorsements recently for legalization initiatives that will be on the ballots this fall; five of which are hoping to legalize recreational use. Of all the endorsements, there probably haven’t been any as unexpected as the one that Prop 205 in Arizona just received from two former Drug Enforcement Administration Agents. These are men whose entire careers focused around fighting the “War on Drugs”, and they have officially come out in favor of regulating and taxing marijuana.
The former DEA agents, Finn Selander and Michael Capasso, were at Arizona State University to encourage over 80,000 students to vote “Yes” on Proposition 205. After announcing their endorsement, they were available to explain to students exactly why they are supportive of marijuana legalization. Considering law enforcement are generally the most opposed to legalizing cannabis, and these men used to work in the federal agency tasked with enforcing marijuana prohibition, this endorsement is unexpected, but very welcome.
In an interview with Leafly, Michael Capasso explained his position on legalization. “For actual people who consume marijuana, there’s little to no collateral damage when I look at things that negatively impact society: Is he going to rob somebody? Is there going to be a secondary crime related to this drug? No, we have not seen that.”
During that same interview, Capasso suggests that the DEA would be better off spending their time working on bigger issues – like focusing on the opioid epidemic. He suggests that cutting down on the use and prescription of opiates – and that things like synthetic marijuana (also known as Spice and K2, among other things) would be better targets for the DEA.
“Legalization, it’s a domino effect. As each state gets behind regulation, more states will follow suit. It’s really just a matter of time.”
Seeing the shift in opinion among the general American public over the last few years has been a constant reminder that cannabis use is becoming more widely accepted – but to see former DEA agents advocating for the regulation and taxation of cannabis is a huge step forward. It shows that even those who are working for prohibition can have a change of heart when they realize all the potential benefits – everything from increased funding, lower incarceration rates, more time to focus on stopping violent crime.
“I see no downsides to marijuana legalization. I’m not advocating that my young daughter smoke marijuana, but for consenting adults, as long as it’s not damaging anyone else, I see a lot more benefits.”
If previous endorsements weren’t enough to convince voters that Prop 205 is a great alternative to prohibition, then this will almost certainly make an impact. This is arguably the most important endorsement that any initiative in the country has seen so far – coming in right up at the top with the national Democratic party’s endorsement of marijuana legalization. With only weeks left until the November 8th election, we will know soon enough whether or not a majority of Arizonans agree with these two former DEA agents.