McCaffrey: Don't Legalize Recreational Pot Use

Wednesday, May 26, 2010  |  Updated 11:15 AM PDT
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General Barry McCaffrey weighs in on several important issues including Marijuana legalization and terror plots against the US.

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Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a former drug czar, on Wednesday called for the defeat of a measure on California's November ballot that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

"I think we shouldn't have our children, our airline pilots, our eye surgeons smoking pot," McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey also said students in sixth through 12th grades should especially be encouraged not to use drugs. Those who use drugs at and early age often face lifelong substance abuse problems, he said.

McCaffrey visited Sacramento to urge Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger not to cut $53 million for drug treatment in the state, as proposed in the budget. The state is facing a shortfall of about $20 billion.

McCaffrey said slashing drug treatment money from the California budget would ultimately end up costing the state more money in the long run.

"This is a tough issue," McCaffrey said. "We understand the complexities of the budget problem facing California. But at the end of the day, there's a couple of hundred thousand Californians in drug treatment. At least 35,000 of them have methadone maintenance, along with counseling, spiritual intervention, etcetera."

Cutting such funding would be a "disaster," he said.

"If you end the program, if you cut the $50 million-plus out of the California budget, first of all you'll lose $61 million in federal funding," McCaffrey said. "But more importantly, by Christmas, by next summer, we're going to have thousands of Californians back in heroin addiction, or the new heroin, OxyContin, these synthetic opiates. Methadone works, along with counseling. It stabilizes people."

This article originally appeared on KCRA.com.

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