DEA chief of operations: State legalization of pot ‘reckless and irresponsible’

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WASHINGTON — The Drug Enforcement Administration’s chief of operations told a Senate hearing Wednesday that the legalization of marijuana at the state level is “reckless and irresponsible” and will have severe social costs for the United States, The Washington Post reported.


Lines were once again large outside Denver’s Evergreen Apothecary on Jan. 2, 2013, for the second day of legal recreational marijuana sales in Denver. Many had no luck on Jan. 1. (Photo: Twitter / Chris Jose)

According to the newspaper, the DEA’s James Capra was responding to a question from a senator about state legalization of marijuana during a hearing about drug cultivation in Afghanistan.

“It scares us,” Capra said. “Every part of the world where this has been tried, it has failed time and time again.”

Capra said the early days of legal pot sales in Colorado dismayed federal drug agents.

“There are more dispensaries in Denver than there are Starbucks,” Capra said, according to the Post. “The idea somehow people in our country have that this is somehow good for us as a nation is wrong. It’s a bad thing … This is a bad experiment. It’s going to cost us in terms of social costs.”

Capra said the legalization in Colorado and Washington state have led to uncomfortable questions from law enforcement partners abroad.

“Almost everyone looked at us and said, ‘Why are you doing this…,'” Capra said. “I don’t have an answer for them.”

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  • The World is Ending

    Look back at the primary reason for almost every anti drug law in the U.S. And you will find religion and race at the core. At the time marijuana laws were targeting "those savage Indians" opium and other opiates were targeting "those backwards chinamen" and cocaine laws targeted "those stupid n*****" ( I don't like these terms "well Indian don't bother me I am part Indian" they are rude and uncalled for but they were the words used at the time) because at the time most longshoreman were black, and the old cocaine was not like it is today it was a mild stimulant and the guys used it so they could work longer hours and make more money. none of these races words are my words but back when most of these laws were made.. white so called Christian men made all the rules and they where very, very, very prejudice, unfortunately some of these ignorant a**h**** are still around. Now the bases of the anti drug laws are money a ton of people make a ton of money by putting drug offenders in jail… It takes more cops (paying union dues) so the unions favor drug laws, contractors that supply the prisons make money the energy providers make more money and so on… Before MJ was legal in WA I heard several cops and their union reps claim that legalization would require more cops on the street, if this were actually true the union would have been supporting legalization because the one of the primary concerns of unions is to increase membership.

  • chasholman

    You know what is REALLY reckless? Running around and destroying peoples lives at a cost of 60 bullion a year (at JUST the Federal level) to play 'plant police'. It has grown native in every state in the Union since before any of us were born, and will continue to long after we are all gone.

    The DEA is acting like they have been tossed off a warm cozy boat into icy water. This says a LOT about what they are willing to do to others, to save their own skins.

  • Harry Anslinger

    The people of Washington have spoken. Marijuana was made illegal under false pretenses in 1937.

    We took corrective action. No longer can the DEA lie with impunity about marijuana. It's only a matter of time before marijuana is no longer a Schedule 1 drug as it clearly has medicinal use and now research can be conducted. Meanwhile our friends at the DEA are engaging in criminal conspiracies with drug cartels in Mexico…sorry Mr. Capra, Washington state residents aren't buying it any longer.

  • TheTruth

    I would ask james capra " if legalization has failed in every part of the world where it has been tried…Please tell me in what part of the world the war on drugs hasnt failed?"

  • joe

    His point of view makes to big government control freaks that believe in the collective and shun personal liberty and like that fact that 10 trillion dollars locking up pot smokers over time giving them felony charges and making them unemployable is worth it. He should run as a controalitarian democrat.

  • guest

    then why doesn't the DEA enforce the laws and come down on these states? come to think of it, why doesn't the federal government enforce immigration violations as well? MUST be payoffs!

  • Endive

    "It’s a bad thing … This is a bad experiment. It’s going to cost us in terms of social costs.”

    Really? It will cost us worse than the thousands of lives unnecessarily ruined by marijuana prohibition?

    Marijuana grew free (and was used) for tens of thousands of years with little issue. It would seem problems have only arisen since prohibition, and escalated exponentially, since the declaration of the "war" on drugs 40 some-odd years ago.

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