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DEA Chief Speaks Out About Legal Pot

DEA Chief Speaks Out About Legal Pot

When Colorado and Washington state legalized marijuana, it led to a lot of joking on social media and the late night talk shows, but one high ranking government official doesn’t think it’s a laughing matter. The DEA’s Chief of Operations James L. Capra called the legalization of marijuana at the state level “a bad experiment” and “reckless and irresponsible,” the Washington Post reported. He went on to warn that the move will have severe consequences. (Colorado pot sales began in January 2014 with Washington slated to follow soon after.) Officials in several other states are contemplating similar changes to their laws.

Decriminalizing the sale of pot in the United States is definitely a divisive issue. While many addiction treatment professionals work hard to break the stigma of substance abuse and educate the public about the disease of addiction, increased access is worrisome.

While states that have moved toward decriminalization see it as an opportunity to generate tax revenue and boost tourism, those who see firsthand the damage addiction can do are wary.

“It scares us,” Capra said, responding to a question from a senator during a hearing focused on drug cultivation in Afghanistan. “Every part of the world where this has been tried, it has failed time and time again.”

To date, the Justice Department has said it will not challenge state laws passed in Colorado and Washington after voters supported proposals to decriminalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use. The sale and use of marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but President Obama has indicated that he will not push for the prosecution of recreational users in states where consumption is legal.

Meanwhile, senior agents at the Drug Enforcement Agency are watching these state changes with dismay.

At a time when heroin is seeing a surge in popularity, with overdoses related to the drug on the rise, the DEA is having a hard time explaining our country’s loosening drug laws.

If you or someone you love needs treatment for an addiction and co-occurring disorder, call The Canyon at the toll-free number on our homepage. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.

Wendy Lee Nentwig

By Wendy Lee Nentwig
Guest Contributor
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