Two unlikely proponents of marijuana legalization stopped by Arizona State University Wednesday to campaign on behalf of Proposition 205, the state’s initiative to legalize and regulate weed.
A pair of retired agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration encouraged some of ASU’s 80,000 college students to vote “yes” on Prop. 205. Their appearance was organized by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and timed to coincide with the beginning of early voting in the state.
The former special agents, Finn Selander and Michael Capasso, were on hand to speak to students and explain why they support an initiative that runs counter to their former careers as drug warriors.
“It was a huge success,” Capasso told The Huffington Post. “They were interested, and they liked my perspective — coming from the DEA. Most of the people I spoke to were thumbs-up on Prop. 205.”
Capasso said he supports legalizing marijuana because it doesn’t have the “collateral damage” — like addiction and overdose — that other drugs do. And because of that, he thinks it’s practical to regulate marijuana like alcohol and use the tax revenue to fund state programs.
“I think it makes sense, I really do,” he said. “And I think it’s going to happen. It’s about time.”
Selander, who as a DEA officer specialized in marijuana operations, is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), an organization that advocates for progressive reform of drug laws. Capasso is also featured in a new ad by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, in which he explains why he supports legalizing cannabis after 23 years working for the DEA.
“I’m supporting Prop. 205 because it will make our community safer,” Capasso says in the ad. “Law enforcement has more important things to do than arrest adults for simple marijuana possession. It’s time to end marijuana prohibition and regulate marijuana like alcohol.”
If it passes on Nov. 8, Prop. 205 would legalize the possession and consumption of recreational marijuana for adults over 21. Similar to previous reform efforts in Colorado, Oregon and Washington, Arizonans would be calling for an end to weed prohibition in favor of a system that regulates and taxes it like alcohol.
A recent poll of registered voters in Arizona found 50 percent support for Prop. 205, while 40 percent oppose it and another 10 percent are undecided.
Arizona is among the five states where voters will consider legalizing recreational marijuana this Election Day. With polls showing high levels of support for all of the measures, nearly a quarter of the U.S. population could soon be living in a state with legalized marijuana.