Border Agent Fired due to Medical Marijuana
Published on 12/7/11
It is a shame that even after a decade of fighting the 'war on drugs' that law enforcement can not have an opinion on the matter that butts heads with that of their department or superior. Byron Gonzalez, a US border patrol agent was fired from his job because he spoke out against the success of the 'War on Drugs'. This is at least the second case of a public employee losing a job for similar 'infraction'. A police man in 2005 was fired and then later settled for nearly $1 million in court.
Now that a majority of Americans support full legalization of marijuana, one would think that it’s safe to voice that support without having to fear for one’s job. Well, not if you’re a cop. In fact, several cops have been fired for voicing their opinion on the failed “War on Drugs,” some privately.
One of them, named Byron Gonzalez, was a border guard. The New York Times reports that he said that if marijuana was legalized, “the drug-related violence across the border in Mexico would cease. He then brought up an organization called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition that favors ending the war on drugs.” And he got fired for stating something that is empirically true.
Another particularly jarring example goes back to 2005, when a Washington state policeman named Jonathan Wender also voiced support for marijuana legalization. When he was fired, he sued the police department and got an almost million dollar settlement – rightfully so. It’s boggling that departments keep on firing people for political reasons, especially when there’s such a large price to pay.
Perhaps the most inexplicable thing about this is that policy continues to trend the opposite direction from public opinion. Even though at least half of Americans support full legalization and 70% support legalized medical marijuana, politicians continue to fight any kind of drug law liberalization. The Obama DOJ has threatened to shut down dispensaries, the only safe place where patients can get their medicine, and many governors are stalling the processes in their own states. This report just shows that opposition to compassionate medicine and reason isn’t just confined to policy elites, but to all levels of the decision making chain.