The people of Arizona are fighting to join Washington and Colorado as being a home for legalized recreational marijuana. The supporters of this initiative recently discovered they had an ally with an unexpected background.
Finn Selander spent 6 years serving as the marijuana coordinator for the DEA in Miami and New Mexico. Now he’s ready to see recreational marijuana thrive in Arizona. Why the about-face to join the “enemy” in the War on Drugs?
“As an agent, I was doing my job. I was enforcing the law” Selander told ABC 15 in Arizona. “It was definitely hard, at times when I would see injustice in a number of cases.”
The Arizona initiative proposes to legalize marijuana for recreational use for anyone over the age of 21. A 15% tax on top of the regular sales tax would be enforced. For Selander, this only makes sense because far too many young lives are being ruined by standardized drug laws.
“Let’s say you’re in college and you actually get busted,” Selander said. “You would lose everything. You could be an A student. It wouldn’t matter.”
Not all of his law enforcement brethren agree with the former agent. Marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug nationally in the United States and fewer than 10% of the population uses illegal drugs. Yet Selander says that legalization makes sense because it would hit the drug cartels where they make the most profit.
“Classifying marijuana with drugs like [heroin and ecstasy] has turned an entire generation into criminals,” said Selander.
Opponents say that there wouldn’t be enough tax money that could be raised to offset the anticipated healthcare and enforcement costs that legalized marijuana would bring. The initiative is expected to be on the 2016 ballot.
Photo via morethanhigh.com