A former federal customs agent—whose job it was to crack down on anybody presumed to be bringing drugs into the U.S.—spoke out against the war on drugs in a public forum last night.
The meeting was held in Naples, Florida, and was aimed at discussing the possibilities of legalizing medical cannabis in the state.
Ray Strack, the former federal agent, used the meeting as a chance to share his insider’s perspective on the ineffectiveness of the war on drugs and the need to legalize cannabis.
“Anybody who wants to use marijuana as medicine or recreationally has to become a criminal just to do that,” he said.
He told Naples residents about his experiences working as an agent at JFK Airport, where he said he witnessed the costly failures of the war on drugs every day.
In particular, he argued “that change is needed because the policies in place right now aren’t working,” a local Florida news station reported.
Strack told the crowd that while he initially supported the war on drugs, he started to change his mind when he saw how little this “war” actually accomplished.
“The price of drugs has never been lower, the quality of drugs has never been higher, and the availability has never been greater,” he said.
Strack also pointed out “that the billions of dollars spent every year on the drug war could be used more resourcefully, for example, on thousands of untested rape kits.”
“We can stop this madness,” he said. “We can turn these resources onto violent crimes, onto serious property crimes.”
Not surprisingly, many of Strack’s comments were opposed by citizens afraid of what they think might happen if medical marijuana becomes legal, and by local law enforcement officials.
“I’m just against marijuana. I don’t like to see it get started,” one townsperson said.
Another said, “I have family members who use it, and I do believe it’s a doorway to other drugs.”
And finally, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office released a statement in response to Strack’s comments that said:
“Sheriff Rambosk remains steadfast in his position on whether or not Florida should legalize marijuana: He does not support it.”
“Sheriff Rambosk also believes that if Florida legalized marijuana, the state would see a return of the problems we endured with pill mills a few years ago when Florida was the epicenter of the nation’s prescription drug epidemic.”
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It sounds to us that those speaking up in opposition to marijuana legalization continue clinging to the entirely made up fears and propaganda that have always been at the foundation of prohibition laws in the U.S.
On the other hand, Strack’s position seems to be backed up by an ever-growing body of scientific studies showing the benefits of medical marijuana as well as numerous sociological, cultural, and legal studies outlining the many failures and violences of the war on drugs.
Strack is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of current or retired law enforcement officials who are opposed to the war on drugs and marijuana prohibition.
(Photo Credit: CNN.com)