Pitchman for marijuana running for office

March 4, 2008 5:11:55 AM PST
A former narcotics officer who advocates the legalization of drugs has a new career goal - congressman.

Barry Cooper is running as a Libertarian candidate in the 31st Congressional District in Central Texas. He faces Republican incumbent John Carter and Democrat Brian P. Ruiz, a consultant.

None of the three has an opponent in Tuesday's primary.

Cooper, a police officer in several Texas towns, became a successful narcotics officer after joining the Permian Basin Drug Task Force, a regional group in West Texas.

Cooper, 38, said he took part in 800 drug busts, and seized more than 50 vehicles and $500,000 in cash and assets.

However, he soured on his former profession and now advocates the legalization of drugs, saying that would mean addicts could receive better treatment and drug-related crimes would decrease.

Cooper said laws prohibiting the growing, selling and consumption of drugs, marijuana in particular, are misguided.

"Americans are not going to stop growing it, they're not going to stop buying it, they're not going to stop smoking it, even if you continue to put them in jail," Cooper said.

He has been selling tips on marijuana use. His latest DVD, "Never Get Raided," shows how to buy, sell and grow pot without going to jail, and how to identify undercover officers.