Ex-DEA Spokeswoman: 'Marijuana Is Safe', Kept Illegal Because It's A 'Cash Cow'

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Alex Thomas via TheAntiMedia.org,

Before the heroin epidemic became a nationwide problem, claiming thousands of lives; Plano, Texas, was already entrenched. And like many of the places caught in the crosshairs of the continuing heroin crisis, Plano is the last place that one would expect to be swept into the opioid tidal wave.

Anti-Media recently interviewed Texas-native Belita Nelson, who has had an interesting few decades.

For six years she termed herself the “chief propagandist” — or spokeswoman — for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Before that, as a Plano mother and teacher, Belita noticed what was happening in her community. She described Plano as an area rivaling Newtown, Connecticut, or Cape Cod — tight-knit regions where tragedy strikes hard and deep.

She explained that [Plano] has the best school districts in the state of Texas…it’s a gated community. And in 1998, for heroin to be that prevalent in the community was stunning. Stunning. We got all the media attention because we were this upscale Texas neighborhood that nobody thought would be inundated with heroin.”

 

Nelson decided to take action, saying, I decided I’d had it. I was going to organize my community and fight this thing at the grassroots level. But we were never grassroots because the first thing I did was go on the Oprah show for the DEA.”

Belita stresses that she was never officially employed by the DEA but traveled for six years as a sort of unofficial spokeswoman for the agency.  The group recruited her because their goals aligned, and in many ways, she was perfect for the role. She was a mother who had witnessed the toll of heroin first-hand. She was passionate and knew what she was talking about. Belita spoke to schools and parent groups and appeared on television networks.

With the help of a former Dallas Cowboy, she founded the Starfish Foundation to tackle heroin addiction. That organization ran until 2004 when one of the employees pocketed the donation money and left the foundation scrambling in the dark.

In our interview, Belita was hesitant to speak too openly but mentioned that when she first went to work with the DEA (she was contacted and became familiar with agency’s goals), she was told “‘Marijuana is safe, we know it’s safe, but it’s our cash cow and we will never, ever, give it up.’ When the DEA seizes a car or makes a drug bust, it’s likely they’ll find wads of money. They turn in the pot (or other drugs) — and keep the cash. Civil asset forfeiture law essentially gives the police and feds free reign, and they have confiscated billions of dollars from Americans, a majority of whom have not been charged with a crime.

Belita, like many people, posits that the DEA is not willing to give up the long disproven idea that marijuana is a “gateway drug.” Unlike heroin, most people are open to trying marijuana. At high school or college parties, it’s much more likely that a joint is being passed around than a needle. While a joint conjures up images of Bob Weir or SOJA on stage, a needle brings to mind a lifeless Philip Seymour Hoffman or Basquiat.

Belita cut ties with the DEA in 2004 after becoming frustrated with the system and the government’s need to keep marijuana criminalized, despite knowledge that the drug was safe.

While at the Starfish Foundation, Belita heard time and time again the tale of pot-smoking teenagers who were pushed into heroin simply because marijuana carries harsh penalties. And it’s a story that’s been told repeatedly. Today Belita works for the Gridiron Cannabis Foundation,  a nonprofit dedicated to fighting CTE, concussions, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, neuropathy, dementia, chronic in?ammation, Leukemia, and brain and other cancers. But the group’s pockets that only stretch so far.

In contrast, her opposition — and the opposition of anyone fighting the heroin epidemic and hoping to legalize marijuana — are big pharma companies.

Recently, we’ve seen pharma companies hit the grassroots to secure influence. Anti-Media and a number of other news outlets recently reported on an opioid company pumping half a million dollars into Arizona anti-marijuana groups in an effort to keep the plant illegal. These sorts of campaigns do not serve the dead in Plano and the hundreds of thousands around the nation suffering from opioid addiction. Rather, they benefit CEOs and pharmaceutical groups who have invested millions in developing drugs that minimize pain. Unfortunately, they come with a dangerously high likelihood of addiction.

Big pharma corporations see dollar signs in every painkiller that moves across a counter, but some of which could easily be replaced by marijuana, which is increasingly proven to help decrease pain. So the American consumer, from Plano, Texas, to Portland, Maine, is faced with the dilemma — is it better to be a living Bob Weir or a dead Basquiat?

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Anarchyteez's picture

And I'm against a war on drugs. Shove it.

Krungle's picture

Kids shouldn't be doing it, much like they shouldn't use alcohol. It probably affects them in ways that may have negative long term consequences. But so do cell phones, video games, vaccines and the shitty food we feed kids. I mean it is totally fine for a kid to drink a liter of soda with glysophate containing corn syrup and to pump that kid full of prescription amphetamines. We literally don't give a shit about children in America, so you can't selectively play the kid card on one compound.

mary mary's picture

80 years the DEA has had to make those studies.  What do you need, Mr. DEA Lardbrick, another 5,000 years?

And, yes, you are against cannabis.  What you keep saying about "studies" is just a red herring.

MK13's picture

There are clear studies that you don't want that THC anywhere near your brain cells - especially when young - https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/your-kid...

And that's not to say you want developing brain on daily fifth or 2L of cola. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Radioactive Ideas's picture

Actually, there have been studies of all of the above and more. However, the studies repeatedly fail to prove the intended theories, so they are destroyed. One ofthe largest and longest term studies ever undertaken in regards to MJ was done in Jaimaica. The study followed Rastafarian "chronic users" and watched their health. After 2 decades of gathering information the conclusion was that the Rastas were unhealthy at the same rates as the general population. AND the health issues had nothign to do with their chronic pot use. It had to do with diet (high in fatty goat meat). When the study was first published, I read it but didn't think to save it. It has since been "eliminated". Same goes for a more recent study of the use of MJ for PTSD in soldiers returning form the sandbox. Regular use of high-CBD content strains helped reduce stress. That study is "missing" somewhere. I have a friend who is trying to study various strains to develop ones specific to an ailment. She is a geneticist at a large college. The only strains she is legally allowed to use are the crappy ditchweed strains the governemetn grows in MS. The process of studying the positive effects of an easy-to-grow plant are being Heissmanned at every turn. Imagine if you could grow the cure for your ailments. That would be bad for an industry or two.

dizzyfingers's picture

I agree with doing studies, but testing must be on people, eliminating all inevitable arguments at the end of animal tests that years of more must be done because rodents aren't people. "Long term testing"... may be a waste of money; why not assess health of long-time weed users.

Ignatius's picture

Drugs should be treated as a public health issue and not a criminal one.

The 'war on drugs' like the 'war on terror' are frauds.

Geezus, just look at the shit they push daily on TV:  "may cause liver failure, may cause sudden death, if you can't breathe call your doctor," but it may be what you need for "restless leg syndrome."  WTF?

Fiscal.Enema's picture

If trump wants to solve the murder epidemic in chicago then take the profit motive out of that which is forbidden.

legalize dope and give people pharmaceutical grade products. no overdoses and no crime. 

mary mary's picture

You don't even have to give them anything.  Just legalize it.  They will grow it themselves.

MK13's picture

Right. Because dindu nothins will grow themselves - they will rob and steal to get what they want.

Petty crime in CO up after legalization, why is that?

NoPension's picture

.....if your erection last for more than four hours.

flaminratzazz's picture

the level of decadence the US gov has descended to has become unmanageable, something has to give.

nmewn's picture

Just decriminalize it and leave it untaxed, that makes it the closest thing to Faaarrreee shit! you'll ever get with the bureaucratic-regulatory state.

I'm-Jus-Sayin! ;-)

LN's picture

I wish to ban your tomato plant.  I hate tomatos, but, I still want my ketchup, and salsa.

Is this wrong?

LN

nmewn's picture

lol...thats kinda what it really is and with the Heinz corporate seal of endorsement & the lawyerly documents saying its all "legally" licensed/taxation of product...who among us can say its wrong?!

Its wrong ;-)

flaminratzazz's picture

freedom wont pay their bills.

Herdee's picture

Sativex. Do the research, there's lots of data.

LN's picture

God gave all plants bearing seed to man for HIS USE.  Who are you, or anyone else to void this Proclamation?

Get out of our lives and go F yourselves.

LN

mary mary's picture

It's right there in Genesis, in black and white.  But DEA Lardbricks don't read the Bible.  They pretend they are the gods.

LN's picture

What's worse, is the devoutly religious among us ignore this also.

LN

MK13's picture

God gave us digitalis. You should hit that up big time, let us know what happens when you hit it good.

Jayda1850's picture

Fuck both Sessions and Trump. Let's go after a naturally occuring plant that can be used for pain relief and other medicinal uses without major side effects while we carve out exceptions and government support for opiates which kill and addict hundreds of thousands every year because big pharma has a better lobby and gives bigger donations.

Mr T's picture

Boots on the ground in Poppystan helmand province got to be paid for one way or another.

Bunga Bunga's picture

It always depends on amount. You can die from drinking too much water too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_intoxication

ljag's picture

Ok....time to speak out.

First of all, why does mj bring visions of joints and ppl puffing on them? It's what we were shown on tv.

MJ has wonderful health-giving properties but in order to utilize the plant to its max, you need to get a sizable amt of DELTA THC and CBD into your blood.

The best way to do that is boil the weed down to an oil and then consume the oil. Easier said than done. An amt = to pin head will get you higher than ever have previously experienced. Now for the bad ( or good part depending on how you look at it). You gotta swallow about 30 of those little tar balls ( or a gram [to be precise]).

Rectal insertions suppress the high A LITTLE but it is a ride of your life. After a couple weeks of daily suppositories your good to go. Even mingle with the intelligentsia is so desired. Just remember.....you are walking the earth while you rid your body of cancers and other ailments. Cool, huh?

besnook's picture

i am only going to address one of your links. the insurance industry in the usa commissioned a study to provide the foundational data for the insurance companies' actuaries to determine how high drivers might affect insurance premiums as a function of risk. the most damning thing they could find was that drivers high on pot weaved a little WITHIN THEIR LANE. the study found high drivers drove slower and were more careful. one of the interesting stats out of colorado was a drop in accidents overall and a significant drop in alchohol related duis.

MK13's picture

Study on acute usage doesn't equal long term safe usage. Two different birds.

Why would you want to smoke something that doesn't even want to stay lit?

IridiumRebel's picture

I'm a recovering alcoholic and even I know that weed is harmless.

TVP's picture

As far as law is concerned, people ought to make their own decisions.  Freedom means free to choose.

As far as the body is concerned, marijuana may damage the heart and lungs like tobacco, although it doesn't have the added 2,000 chemicals that cigarettes do.

As far as the brain/mind is concerned, that's another story.

In some individuals, prolonged marijuana abuse can cause psychosis.  It's not clear if those with psychiatric disorders use pot to self-medicate, or if THC triggers the disorder.  Some evidence exists for both.  

"Researchers now believe that cannabis consumption during critical phases of brain development can lead to a strong disturbance of the endocannabinoid system and ultimately cause an inappropriate hardwiring of the brain. Cannabis may play a role in the complex interactions involving dopamine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutamate transmission or other factors that cause psychotic disorders. However, the question remains as to why, in a general population of cannabis abusers, do only a small population exposed develop a psychiatric illness"

"Cannabis intoxication can lead to acute psychosis in many individuals and can produce short-term exacerbations of pre-existing psychotic diseases.36 Cannabis use also causes symptoms of depersonalization, fear of dying, irrational panic, and paranoid ideas, which coincide with acute intoxication and remitted quickly.7 In one survey, it was reported that 15 percent of cannabis users identified psychotic-like symptoms, the most common being hearing voices or having unwarranted feelings of persecution.8 What research has failed to show is if cannabis use is a consequence or cause of psychiatric disorders"

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2811144/

besnook's picture

read the mind part over carefully. it is full of conjecture not science.

rockstone's picture

Wow..... you don't say? The Government keeps that money? Wow...... Next you'll tell me that agents actually pocket wads of it for themselves.

Sheeeeeet.

mary mary's picture

the movie "Bad Lieutenant"

jamesmmu's picture

Support for marijuana legalization at all-time high --- 61% of Americans think marijuana use should be legal and its growing!

http://investmentwatchblog.com/support-for-marijuana-legalization-at-all...

flaminratzazz's picture

legalization means gov taxes it.

decriminalization like nmewn says

besnook's picture

it is always about the money. that is the harshest lesson in life.

trip kitchen's picture

Is this a token 420 marijuanna article?  I'm in Wash state, its a fvking non issue.  Next item on the agenda please.

flaminratzazz's picture

it really is a nonissue.. nothing changed when it became legal except people getting jailed for a harmless plant.

MK13's picture

You're right, pot is harmless - if you want to create a society of dindu nothins. Congrats Cali on that endeavor.

Madcow's picture

Pot is harmful and dangerous and probably should be illegal. 

But its not nearly as dangerous and harmful as alcohol.

 

LN's picture

"Water is harmful and dangerous and probably should be illegal."

FIFY

LN

I love the drive by down voters, if they had a brain they'd use it for a door stop, or bookend.

flaminratzazz's picture

Willy Nelson proves it sure fvks a guy up from writing songs.

besnook's picture

imagine the songs he could have written if he wasn't so high or how much more successful richard branson could have been if he didn't smoke pot.

flaminratzazz's picture

that is projection..cant be calculated...weed affects people in different ways..they might have turned out to be total bums or psychopathic killers without it too..

Sonny Brakes's picture

Marijuana is a currency.

sinbad2's picture

“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” (HL Mencken)

“Americanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”