DEA Official On State Marijuana Legalization: “Reckless And Irresponsible”


The Drug Enforcement Administration’s chief of operations has called the legalization of marijuana at the state level “reckless and irresponsible,” warning that the movement to decriminalize the sale of pot in the U.S. will have severe consequences, the Washington Post reports. “It scares us,” James Capra said, responding to a question at a Senate hearing Wednesday on drug cultivation in Afghanistan. “Every part of the world where this has been tried, it has failed time and time again.”

Capra's comments were the DEA's most public and pointed criticism of the movement toward decriminalization in several states, where local officials see it as an opportunity to generate tax revenue and boost tourism. The Justice Department is not challenging 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 remains unlawful under federal law, but the Obama administration has indicated that it will not prosecute ordinary recreational users in states where consumption is legal. Capra said DEA officials have faced uncomfortable questions from law enforcement partners abroad. During a recent global summit on counter-narcotics in Moscow, he said, he and the head of the DEA were at a loss to explain the loosening drug laws. “Almost everyone looked at us and said: Why are you doing this [while] pointing a finger to us as a source state?” he said. “I don't have an answer for them.”

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