DEA agent quits law enforcement, now works for marijuana industry


And they call marijuana the “dark side”.

An Oregon-based federal Drug Enforcement Agency agent skilled in wiretapping drug traffickers – including marijuana dealers – is now working in the medical marijuana industry as a financial consultant, the second of his colleagues to do so in recent years.
Patrick Moen worked for eight years for the DEA, but over the summer decided a switch to the “dark side” (as his former colleagues call it) when he realized the green was likely better. Money, that is.

Moen says that his $130,000 salary at the agency wasn’t enough and that the budget problems of the DEA meant his job was becoming “a bit of a drain”, he tells the Oregonian. Add to that his disillusionment with the effectiveness of the war on pot, and Moen says he saw brighter skies as a researcher for Privateer Holdings, a group specializing in marijuana business-related investments like
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Moen told the paper. “It’s not one I took lightly. I talked with friends, family and coworkers. I sought out opinions. When it comes down to it, this is an incredible opportunity for me professionally and personally.”
Moen follows in the footsteps of another former DEA agent, Paul Schmidt, who left the agency in 2010 to work for a variety of marijuana-related ventures including as a regulator for medical marijuana in Colorado and most recently as a consultant to the state of Washington as that state waded through rulemaking surrounding their marijuana legalization measure passed last year. He now holds $100-a-day legal seminars to prospective marijuana business owners.
While federal agents making the jump to the private sector is nothing new as they often have a wealth of regulatory knowledge specific to one industry or another, the idea that drug cops are now making money off of marijuana’s legalization is disconcerting to Marijuana Policy Project government relations director Steve Fox.
“This industry now is about producing and marketing a product and the people who work for the DEA have experience in a different industry, which is arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana,” he tells the paper.
For his part, Moen says none of his friends at the DEA have hung up on him when he told them news over the phone, and admits that many of the younger DEA agents think marijuana should be legal in the first place so they can move on to more important things.
“Now that people can open up,” he said, “I realize this is a product that someone’s parents use, someone’s friend uses. People that are professional and that have families and that they all view it as an acceptable, better than acceptable, as a better alternative than other options: That was an eye opener.”
But we can’t imagine that there isn’t anyone in Moen’s former post that isn’t itching to drag him or Schmidt into a federal courtroom just to prove a point.