Drug Enforcement Administration
Skip Navigation

Press Room
News Releases
E-mail updates red envelope
Speeches & Testimony
Multi-Media Library

About Us
Mission
Leadership
History
Organizational Chart
Programs & Operations
Wall of Honor
DEA Museum
Office Locations

Careers at DEA

DEA Drug Information
Drug Information Resources

Law Enforcement
Most Wanted
Major Operations
Threat Assessment
Training Programs
Stats & Facts
Additional Resources

Drug Prevention
For Young Adults
For Parents
Additional Drug Resources

Diversion Control & Prescription Drugs
Registration
Cases Against Doctors

Drug Policy
Controlled Substances Act
Federal Trafficking Penalties
Drug Scheduling

Legislative Resources

Publications

Acquisitions & Contracts

Need to know more about drugs?  www.justthinktwice.com

GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

The Peter Boyles Show Featuring SAC Jeffrey Sweetin Transcript

BOYLES: Good morning, Special Agent in Charge of the Rocky Mountain Division of DEA Jeff Sweetin is with us. Good morning, thanks for coming on the show.

SWEETIN: Good morning, Peter, thank you.

BOYLES: My pleasure. I understand as we were talking a little bit off the air, the response is to the Earleywine appearance yesterday, Understanding Marijuana. Just your overall views, and I know that you did not hear the show, but you're familiar with the argument.

SWEETIN: Well, I am, and, first of all, the primary concern in that argument and in the argument for legalization of whether it's marijuana or other illicit drugs, our concern—the enforcement concern—is that the people making that decision have all the information. Typically you don't get all the information. You get arguments. Such things as medicalization of marijuana, the need for smoked marijuana for sick people. So, a lot of these arguments are being presented one-sided. The enforcement role— really my role—is to make sure that whoever makes that decision, whether it's the public or the legislature, gets both sides of that argument before they make that decision because ultimately it's going to fall back in my lap and my peoples' lap to work and try to resolve whatever that decision is. So, you know, my concern is that people get all the facts and all the information. And I don't really believe that they are.

BOYLES: All right, what's missing and what don't people understand?

SWEETIN: Well, there's a couple things. I mean, I have to assume some of the arguments, and I didn't hear the show, but the typical arguments for legalization of marijuana are things like: It started out as it's a safe drug. Marijuana is a safe drug. Well, what's interesting is the people generally making this argument are not scientists or doctors. They're, you know, as your guest yesterday was, they're professors. You know, I did a debate two weeks ago in Fort Collins and the people that I was debating were... None of them were from the scientific community. I had a sociology professor from a college, I had the head of NORML, I had the head of the Libertarian party. So, when you boil this down to being a safe drug, people need to ask themselves, "Who's saying it's a safe drug?"

BOYLES: But are there safe drugs?

SWEETIN: There are drugs that can be used safely.

BOYLES: For instance?

SWEETIN: Well, for instance, let me give you an example. Look at morphine and opium. Those are drugs that the government...

BOYLES: But they started out as medicines.

SWEETIN: Well, they did. Well, just about all the drugs that we have started out as medicine. Marijuana isn't really one of them, but the majority of drugs you look at started out as medicine. But if you look at opium and you look at morphine, those things are... If you go into surgery tomorrow, some derivative of morphine or an opiate will be used to keep you from being in pain.

BOYLES: Mm-hmm.

SWEETIN: But what the government has said is that there are controls under... ways under which you can use that. And what's interesting is morphine and opium are both smokable drugs.

BOYLES: Mm-hmm. They're injectable, they're edible, they're...

SWEETIN: Right, but what the government has said is that there is no scientific evidence that smoking these drugs is good medicine. And I bring that back to marijuana because what the public isn't being told by the people that want to legalize drugs... It's a very simple, simple agenda. The agenda of the people that want to legalize marijuana is they want it legal to sit around and smoke marijuana and get high. Which is what they're arguing. They believe in that; many of us believe against that. But what we want is for them to be honest and say, "You know what? That's what we're working towards."

BOYLES: Now here's a lousy question for you, do you drink?

SWEETIN: Yes.

BOYLES: How much?

SWEETIN: Not much.

BOYLES: But you drink?

SWEETIN: Yes.

BOYLES: Why do you drink?

SWEETIN: I drink because I enjoy it.

BOYLES: Now if somebody told you right now they smoke dope because they enjoy it, what would you say to them?

SWEETIN: Well, the first thing I'd say to them is, "What're you smoking?"

BOYLES: They say, "Marijuana."

SWEETIN: "Yeah, but where did you get it?"

BOYLES: Well, they bought it on the street, I guess. I mean, I...

SWEETIN: OK, so really they don't know what they're smoking.

BOYLES: Or how about they grew it themselves.

SWEETIN: Hey, are they scientists?

BOYLES: I don't know.

SWEETIN: Do they know the purity levels of it?

BOYLES: I don't know, but this is the same guy who could go buy a pack of cigarettes. When...

SWEETIN: Yeah, I'm certainly not going to make the case for cigarettes or alcohol.

BOYLES: Oh, I understand that. But, I mean, if... I got into a huge war one time and was asked to speak at for a law enforcement agency up in Vail. A whole bunch of guys. And I talked about my alcoholism and I said, "You know what, you guys? Bottom line is you know that everything that you've generally seen in domestic violence or craziness or something, alcohol is in the middle of it.But we openly promote alcohol in our society."

SWEETIN: We do.

BOYLES: And the same question to you, Jeff, and it's a miserable question, and I apologize. You can go home and have a couple of beers. If some guy smokes a joint, and he says I'm doing exactly what you... And mind you, I told you this. I mean, I copped my own alcoholism and drug dependence. I told you this off the air that I gained my sobriety 17 years ago, so I ain't no cherry. And I don't get high. I mean, I've lived a pretty straight thing in 17 years. But I guess I'm asking you, if some guy says, "When I go home, I've worked all day just like Agent Sweetin did, and he has a couple of beers and I smoke a joint. Why am I different than he is, other than the law?"

SWEETIN: Well, that's the answer. That's the answer. I mean, if you're asking me to support... What your question assumes is that I would do that whether alcohol was legal or not.

BOYLES: No, I'm not assuming that. I'm saying what's the difference in terms of... Is the difference the law?

SWEETIN: Yeah, I think that's a primary difference.

BOYLES: And that's why these guys want to say, "Do away with the law."

SWEETIN: Yeah, but what they fail to acknowledge is that where the rubber hits the road, whether it's alcohol, nicotine, or illegal drugs such as marijuana... where the rubber hits the road is that not a real clean deal, where all of a sudden you say, "OK, marijuana's legal."

BOYLES: Mm-hmm.

SWEETIN: My question to that is we always talk about these in big philosophical terms. My question would be, "For whom is it legal? For kids?"

BOYLES: Mm-hmm. Well, we know kids drink at 13.

SWEETIN: Well, that's exactly the point. You're helping me make my point. But my question would be, "What drugs..."

BOYLES: Mm-hmm.

SWEETIN: If they're saying just marijuana.

BOYLES: Mm-hmm.

SWEETIN: OK? Just marijuana, OK, so for who?

BOYLES: Uh-huh.

SWEETIN: Twenty-one-year-olds and older?

BOYLES: But we try and say that about alcohol, but we know it's just...

SWEETIN: Listen, alcohol is the perfect example and you've just made the point for us.

BOYLES: Yeah. Yeah.

SWEETIN: Alcohol is the perfect example of the social cost of making something legal that's harmful.

BOYLES: Hey, no argument. As I said, that's why I think... One of my arguments why the so- called war on drugs can't be won is because we jive ourselves about alcohol and nicotine.

SWEETIN: Well, I disagree with you on that point.

BOYLES: I know.

SWEETIN: I agree that alcohol and nicotine are very bad examples. I mean, they're actually good examples for why you have to control this. But, you know, you just made a comment, you just commented on the war on drugs.

BOYLES: Mm-hmm.

SWEETIN: What does that mean?

BOYLES: I don't know. I used to think I did. I don't.

SWEETIN: But what's interesting, Peter, is you used that term, but hear that, which I...

BOYLES: Well, it was Richard Nixon's term.

SWEETIN: It was Richard Nixon's term. But when Richard Nixon said it, I don't think he had any idea what that was going to do to the way we do our job.

BOYLES: I absolutely agree.

SWEETIN: So do you believe that this is... that the fight against drug crime is a war? Do you really believe that?

BOYLES: Well, I'm told by the government it is.

SWEETIN: Who in the government tells you what I'm doing is a war?

BOYLES: Well, I see the term in the media all the time. I see the term from politicians all the time, elected officials that talk about more money for the war on drugs. I mean, Bill Clinton talked about more... he talked about funding the war on drugs. I mean, those words came out of Bill Clinton's mouth, not mine.

SWEETIN: Yeah, but there's a difference there, and I'm not going to stick up for politicians.

BOYLES: All right.

SWEETIN: But what's interesting is we couch... this is the only category of crime that we couch in terms of a war. I've never been asked...

BOYLES: No, we've had the war on poverty, we have the war on terrorism. I don't know if you can have a war on a word.

SWEETIN: Well, let me ask you this, are we fighting... How's the war on homicide and child abuse and illiteracy?

BOYLES: We've done well against it.

SWEETIN: Have we?

BOYLES: Sure.

SWEETIN: Yeah, but my question is, if you couch it in terms of a war, what does the American public want to know?

BOYLES: Or the war on poverty is another choice of a good...

SWEETIN: But, what... Well, let me ask you...

BOYLES: All right.

SWEETIN: What happened in Iraq when we went to war? Sixteen days later we wanted to be done.

BOYLES: Jeffery, but that's the point, it had an aim. Historians tell us that wars must... you must have a good war aim. That's why the sadness of southeast Asia, there was no aim to the war. But there was a war aim in early 1942 when some young GI stood behind the PT platform. That field first sergeant said, "All right, now here's the deal. We're going to end Tojo, we're going to end Mussolini, we're going to end Hitler." War aim, done. What's the aim of the war on drugs, Jeff?

SWEETIN: Well, again, I'm not going to accept the fact that we're fighting a war now.

BOYLES: Well, what're we fighting then?

SWEETIN: We're fighting crime. Very simply, what we're doing is the same thing that the detective does when he goes out to investigate a homicide.

BOYLES: So you think, honest to God, some stockbroker driving his BMW home at night that fires up a marijuana cigarette, is he a criminal?

SWEETIN: Well, according to law he is. But let's be honest. I mean, probably the argument that was made by the guy that wants to legalize it, and I didn't hear his show... he probably makes the argument that the prison's are full of that guy. Absolutely ridiculous.

BOYLES: And they're not. No, I agree, they're not. No, they're not.

SWEETIN: So let's acknowledge first off that...

BOYLES: No, they're major peddlers and they're guys who have made all kinds of deals.

SWEETIN: Exactly. But you gave the example of the stock broker and that's the one that everybody wants to think about is the guy that, "Hey, I can handle it. I'm on my way home in my Beamer. All is well." That's not reality.

BOYLES: But he's the reason the street dealer is there. He's the reason the major peddler's there.

SWEETIN: Well, he is certainly part of the reason. The demand is a major part of the drug problem, clearly.

BOYLES: Yeah, I mean, if Bobby Beamer wasn't going to buy his bag of weed from some kid in the hood, there wouldn't be a major peddler, there wouldn't be an importer, there wouldn't be the kind of crap that you guys see every day.

SWEETIN: Well, let me ask you a follow-up to that.

BOYLES: Sure.

SWEETIN: What about the kid in the hood that wants to buy from the kid in the hood?

BOYLES: Sure.

SWEETIN: And that's what you're forgetting.

BOYLES: But I don't...

SWEETIN: You're describing this as a guy that's controlling his drug problem, driving home through the Holland Tunnel and going home. What we forget is that we adults seem to see things real clear cut.

BOYLES: Yeah.

SWEETIN: Hey, either it's legal or it isn't. But historically in the United States, what we see is that whatever adults legalize, kids suffer from.

BOYLES: No argument. Hey, I've spent some volunteer time. I see guys, you know, 13-year- old kids with a Lucky Strike. I see 13-year-old kids with a 40-ounce beer bottle. And I think to myself, "My God, these... somebody is making sure that this is getting..." And that's why I don't think this thing is winnable. And I've come to that conclusion, and I don't want to see legalization. My God, we have legalized two other drugs in this country, nicotine and alcohol. The cost, and I know you know this, Jeff, the cost of those two drugs in our society outstrips the cost of the illicits again and again and again just in terms of death, in terms of job loss, domestic violence, everything that goes with that. Child abuse, it generally comes from alcohol.

SWEETIN: I agree.

BOYLES: And yet we... I turn on a sporting event, who's promoting it? Alcohol.

SWEETIN: Right.

BOYLES: And so how... I mean, this is a legitimate question that I can't answer. How can we turn in our society today, seeing the twins in the Coors Beer ad, and it was really cool to drink beer and it's really neat to get loaded on beer, and then turn around to some kid and say, "You know what? That stuff's out there staring you in the face."? I turn on MTV and there's really some cool musician with a cigarette in his mouth. Jeff, how do we do this?

SWEETIN: Well, how we do it is exactly how we're doing it. And what you just did was you made the point that the legalizers make that hey, we've got alcohol, that's a problem. We did the whole hypocritical argument, but you know what? How do we say that?

BOYLES: Mm-hmm.

SWEETIN: Let's be real here. The other side of the argument would be, well, because we have alcohol problems with massive social costs, and because we have nicotine with massive health costs, then let's legalize everything.

BOYLES: No. But look at the tremendous amount of money. I mean, I have some... I clipped some numbers here on how much money is being spent in this country. Now, if I could find my numbers and if I can't I apologize. How much money is being spent in this country on stopping or interdicting on cocaine, on heroine, on marijuana, and it's enormous?

SWEETIN: What's the amount you have?

BOYLES: I don't have a number. I thought I had a number and I don't.

SWEETIN: It's about 18 billion a year.

BOYLES: 18 billion.

SWEETIN: Yeah. And in terms of... That is a lot of money, but let me give you another way to look at it, and this is why we're in this argument. In terms of the overall federal budget, that's actually nothing. The DEA budget is about 1.6 billion.

BOYLES: Mm-hmm.

SWEETIN: Let me assert to you that the cost of drugs is going to be the same whether it's an enforcement cost, a treatment cost, a social cost. And the assumption of the legalizers is we can save this money by making the bad thing legal. Well, think about how ridiculous that argument is.

BOYLES: I know, but at the same time we face problems sometimes and we think, "OK, we're going to lower the river." And the simple way to do it is to raise the bridge. You know, have a drawbridge instead of trying to lower the river. I don't know, and again my contention—and I really believe this—is we'll never make a cut into this as long as we have a society that openly promotes the most dangerous of our drugs.

SWEETIN: Well, you know what? We are succeeding in demand reduction and I'm sure that your guest didn't talk about that because it doesn't really work for the argument of, "Uh, let's just make everything illegal." But we are succeeding in... You know, drug use by students is down.

BOYLES: Mm-hmm.

SWEETIN: Demand reduction is a major part of this.

BOYLES: Then where's all these pounds and tons of stuff that you guys grab every year? I mean, here's some of the numbers I have. Seizing drugs in the USA, my source is U.S. Enforcement Administration. In 1998, you guys confiscated 75,000 pounds of coke. Year 2000, 129,000 pounds. 2002, 135,000. In other words, more stuff was coming... You guys, you know, did a good job, you had caught more. Heroine: Year 1998, you guys seized 817 pounds of heroine. Year 2000, 1,203 pounds. Year 2002, 1,554 pounds of heroine were caught coming... Now my point is...

SWEETIN: OK. What do you believe those numbers are saying?

BOYLES: You're grabbing a lot of heroine because there's a lot of people in this country that want it.

SWEETIN: Absolutely true. But what you shouldn't assume from seizure numbers is that there's more coming in, less coming in. We're constantly asked how much dope is coming into the U.S..

BOYLES: Do you know?

SWEETIN: Well, of course we don't know.

BOYLES: Yeah.

SWEETIN: I mean, in order to answer that, I have to tell you what I'm not getting.

BOYLES: Yeah.

SWEETIN: And what I'm telling you is you keep couching the terms of what I'm doing in terms of when will we win.

BOYLES: No, but...

SWEETIN: Isn't that what you said?

BOYLES: If we have a war against this, isn't there... It was the sadness of South Vietnam, it had no end to it.

SWEETIN: Yeah, but my argument is that why is it that we keep looking at... I mean, do we really expect one day for me to say,"Hey guys, we can all go work bank robberies. We've won the war on illegal substances."

BOYLES: But wouldn't you think that if you... and again, using the words of Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon, two opposite ends of the stick, the war on drugs. And I realize that you don't want to say it's a war, but people in this country believe it's a war and they believe it's a war on drugs.

SWEETIN: And you know why they do?

BOYLES: Why?

SWEETIN: Because they don't look at it as crime. Because the people that want to legalize drugs have led people to believe...

BOYLES: What does that tell you about the job you're against? That if people don't think what you're doing is to win a war on... and they're looking the other way or they're laughing at it.

SWEETIN: No, no, that's not what I said.

BOYLES: All right.

SWEETIN: Those are your words.

BOYLES: OK.

SWEETIN: What I said was, what people are being told that, "Hey, you know what? We should have won by now. We've been fighting this thing for 30 years."

BOYLES: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah.

SWEETIN: Actually, we've been fighting it for over 100, 120 years. We've made things illegal. Society has decided that these things are harmful.

BOYLES: Yeah.

SWEETIN: Ninety-five percent of the population of this country don't use drugs.

BOYLES: I agree.

SWEETIN: And state by state we keep seeing people vote to keep drugs illegal.

BOYLES: Mm-hmm.

SWEETIN: So, are people laughing about the war on drugs? No. But what people are saying is, it's a crime, go enforce it. People that are peddling drugs to kids, and selling drugs, and you know, they probably live in your neighborhood because they've got a nice house, they make a lot of money. When I put that person in prison, I've won. I move on and we find another organization. So, my argument is that...

BOYLES: What if somebody takes his place?

SWEETIN: Of course they'll take his place. Just like a bank robber will, a child abuser, just like a terrorist.

BOYLES: No, but I mean... All right. So no matter what, then you're always... then what you're saying to us is that it's unattainable, not winnable.

SWEETIN: Well, no. I think the definition of "win" is what's important.

BOYLES: What win?

SWEETIN: We're winning every single day, except that the legalizers want people to believe that we should be done with this by now, just like we should be done with illiteracy.

BOYLES: When did the war on drugs begin? It began when Richard Nix... Well, I'm going to take a break. And when we come back we'll take calls. You want to hang on?

SWEETIN: Yeah.

BOYLES: A really good guest, Jeffery Sweetin is with us, Special Agent in Charge, Rocky Mountain Division of the DEA. We begin. John on a cell phone. John, good morning, you're on KHOW radio. Welcome to the show.

JOHN: Oh, thanks, Pete, for letting me on. Pete, I've been listening to this guy. I don't know about you, but he scares the hell out of me. This is one of the big problems. Now I'm about your age, but I never recall anybody passing a law making marijuana illegal, it was always illegal. And it was illegal because of police forces, where there are people like this fellow that tried to insinuate that it's the end of the world if somebody smokes pot, and I mean this is just been going on and on.

BOYLES: Jeff, are you insinuating the end of the world if somebody smokes pot?

SWEETIN: Absolutely not.

JOHN: Oh, no, no, you're not, but you're barging into homes, you're putting people into jail, but that's not the end of the world to you? What do you call it? How many lives have you ruined?

SWEETIN: Oh, well, let me ask you this, John. What are you're assumptions about who's going to jail in this country?

JOHN: Well, I'm...

BOYLES: John, you got a really, really bad connection. Call back, let's try this. I apologize for that. Let's go to Floyd on the cell phone. Floyd, you're on KHOW radio. Good morning.

FLOYD: Morning, Peter. First-time caller.

BOYLES: Glad you called.

FLOYD: Yeah, I have a couple of points to make. One is that the amount of tax revenue we're losing to illegal and illicit drugs is astronomical. Also, it's a known fact that the way organized crime got their foothold in this country was prohibition.

BOYLES: Mm-hmm.

FLOYD: Al Capone grossed 20 million dollars in 1927. Now we can take that tax money...

BOYLES: And, by the way, they never popped Al for alcohol, they popped him for taxes.

FLOYD: Exactly, tax evasion. You know, I'm a criminology student, and I just think it's so futile for us to spend so much money when our borders are like a sieve, and all of those numbers you mentioned earlier on what they seized.

BOYLES: Mm-hmm.

FLOYD: That's nothing compared to what's getting through.

BOYLES: All right. Let's go to the guest. Jeff, your response to Floyd.

SWEETIN: Well, he raised three points. Let me take the last one first. Floyd apparently knows how much drugs are coming in that we don't get. I'd love to talk to Floyd. Apparently the criminology program is telling him what we're missing, but...

BOYLES: Well, I think he's reflecting on your own numbers, that I got a bunch of junk to get ready to speak with you. But in '98 you guys got 75,000 pounds of coke...

SWEETIN: Right.

BOYLES: In 2000, you guys got a 129,000 pounds. In 2002, you guys got a 135,000 pounds. Somebody's throwing an awful lot of well-known substance up against the wall, and some of it's sticking.

SWEETIN: Absolutely true. But his argument is that... You know, we keep assuming the borders are like a sieve. I mean, yet you both brought the numbers out of what's being seized. So, OK, is stuff getting in that we're not getting? It's got to be. There's still drug users.

BOYLES: What do you think? It's ten times more that gets in?

SWEETIN: We have no idea.

BOYLES: I understand, but I know you could ballpark it.

SWEETIN: Congress asks that every year and we have no idea. If I knew, it would be seized.

BOYLES: Right. Well, I know. But the point is it keeps on coming.

SWEETIN: OK. Let me take the tax revenue question. The tax revenue question assumes that if we were to legalize these substances and tax them, that the amount of tax we placed on them would pay the social costs. Is that the argument?

FLOYD: Yeah, I think it was.

SWEETIN: So you believe that the tax placed on alcohol right now pays for the social cost of alcohol?

FLOYD: Well, if you take out the 18 billion that we're spending on it now, put that into the programs to fight the social problem, and the drug problem. I've worked in substance and psychiatry for 22 years. Rarely do we get a person with a big-time drug problem. What we mostly have are alcoholics.

BOYLES: Yeah, I'd say so. Yeah.

FLOYD: Alcohol is the most dangerous drug out there, and it is legal. It kills people more every year.

BOYLES: This is Peter Boyles saying this: We never, and I know that our guest doesn't like the "war on drugs" notion and that's understandable, but you know what? We'll never get a grab on the other problems because we promote the most dangerous... and we were talking about it, and Jeff was a street cop for a long time. Jeff, how many times, when you get a domestic V or something, how many times were these guys cooked when you got there?

SWEETIN: You're talking about on alcohol?

BOYLES: Yeah.

SWEETIN: My estimate would be probably nine out of ten calls for service were alcohol- related.

BOYLES: Floyd, thanks for your call. Let's go here. Uh, this is Frank on a cell phone. Frank, good morning. You're on KHOW radio. Kind enough to be with us, excellent guest, Jeffery Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge, Rocky Mountain Division of DEA. Frank, good morning.

FRANK: Uh, good morning, Peter. How are you?

BOYLES: I'm well.

FRANK: I'm a physician, and I see daily the ravages of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, but I am actually for full legalization of drugs, and not just marijuana, but all drugs, and I guess my rationale for that is more of a practical one, not a moral one. I disagree with the guest to some extent that we're making progress. I've been paying attention to this for 30 years, and the drugs seem stronger, there's a more variety of drugs, they're being used at earlier ages, and every year I hear statistics about how drug use is going down, or our interdiction is going up, but it looks like over the course of, let's say, individual decades, I guess I don't buy that. The second point is, I think the 18 billion dollar savings is incredibly low, and I'm not talking about just the effect... or the amount of money used on interdiction and crime, but if you add the money that... you take the people out of federal prisons, the money that's spent on them, you take away motivation for crime from gangs or individual addicts, not to mention the role of terrorism in drugs in the world today.

BOYLES: Mm-hmm. Yeah, the narcoterrorists.

FRANK: Yeah, I mean if terrorism money is often drug money, and if you took away the United States market by dropping the price and making it legal, you would take a significant chunk of change out of them. The issue is also that people use drugs whether they're illegal of not, and a lot of medical data suggest that there are a fixed number of addicts in society. One of the major chinks in my argument would be, if you legalized drugs, if you made half the population addicts. But most of the information that's out there says that's not going to happen, so those would be my main comments and I actually don't see a big downside to legalization.

BOYLES: OK. Hang on, Doc. Agent Sweetin.

SWEETIN: Well, real quick on the doctor. First of all, doctor, it's interesting you don't believe the statistics that go against your argument; you don't believe the ones about overall drug use in the United States is down by more this...[MISSING AUDIO]

STEVE: ...who grows marijuana deserving their house to be taken. I just have never understood that. Never will, I guess.

BOYLES: All right. When it's talking about seizure laws, I guess, aren't you?

STEVE: Right.

BOYLES: All right. Jeff, the seizure laws.

SWEETIN: Yeah, simple answer. The laws, locally and federally, if your property is used to produce drugs that are illegal—which growing marijuana is—then your property is subject to seizure.

BOYLES: Steve?

SWEETIN: What was the question?

STEVE: OK, well, did you read the Kansas City Star article and the way the DEA and law enforcement agencies across the land were using it to enrich the police department?

BOYLES: Well, that's what happens in confiscation, Steve, regardless.

SWEETIN: Well, of course.

BOYLES: It doesn't matter.

SWEETIN: Well, it's no secret or conspiracy that money that's seized is used...

BOYLES: Sure.

SWEETIN: The law says that money has to be used...

BOYLES: Yeah, Steve, they... Please, I mean, Steve, in fairness, that's what happens when they seize stuff, it gets sold at auction. I mean, if you're...

STEVE: Well, to whose benefit?

BOYLES: Well, to the benefit of the men and women who are fighting against drugs.

SWEETIN: No, that's the wrong answer.

STEVE: That's right. I think it should be to the benefit of society, not to the benefit of the crimefighters.

SWEETIN: The benefit of the people that are out there, that believe drugs should be illegal.

STEVE: What's that?

SWEETIN: Somebody's got to pay the cost of enforcement. So, why shouldn't it? If you're growing drugs in your house, Steve, and I seize your house, why shouldn't the money that I get from that house be used to fight drugs?

STEVE: OK, then does that mean I get a discount on taxes, or the money that goes...

BOYLES: All right, that's not going anywhere. Hang on, Jeff, we'll take a break here. Jeff Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge, the Rocky Mountain Division of the DEA, in response to the appearance yesterday of Mitch Earleywine, the book Understanding Marijuana. Scott, in Centennial, we got to call it quick here. You're going to be the last caller on the hour. Good morning.

SCOTT: OK, first of all, Pete, I just wanted to say that the agent... I find his tactics quite despicable. He's attacking his opponents. He's not attacking the issue. He says he's not arguing against scientists or anyone else with information.

BOYLES: We got two minutes, so jump to the conclusion if you wish.

SCOTT: OK. He isn't a scientist either. He doesn't have the facts that your guest yesterday put forth, which were scientific evidence. He hasn't answered a direct question.

BOYLES: Ask him one question you want answered.

SCOTT: OK, in Amsterdam he quoted the study where pot use in teen-agers had gone up. That's a lie.
BOYLES: I don't think he ever mentioned... He didn't mention Amsterdam. Did you mention A-dam, Jeff, at all?

SCOTT: No, he talked about Alaska..

BOYLES: He talked about Alaska. He never mentioned Amsterdam.

SCOTT: Yeah, any place where pot was legal, it went up with use in teen-agers. In Amsterdam they have a lower capital use among teen-agers than the United States, and it's legal, and that's a scientific study.

BOYLES: All right, stop there. All right, stop there. Jeff, in response to what the caller just said.

SWEETIN: Real quick answer. That's actually not what the stats show from all the European models. The European models all show that... First of all, many of them are experiments. All the experiments that were tried in Europe, there are still some ongoing. The Netherlands still has coffee shops where you can buy marijuana. Interestingly, possession of marijuana is still illegal in the Netherlands.

SCOTT: But that's the point. It's gone down and I have the scientific study that's in the book yesterday that shows it.

BOYLES: All right. We're going to end it here. Jeff, I want you to come back, you're just an excellent guest. I will put you on hold, we'll say good-bye, and then we'll book another time, another appearance, and maybe get you guys to come in studio. Fair enough?

SWEETIN: Fair enough.

BOYLES: Jeffery Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge, Rocky Mountain Division of DEA. Thank you, thank you so much.

[END OF RECORDING]


Home USDOJ.GOV Privacy Policy Contact Us Site Map