Ask former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara when he began to support the notion of legalizing marijuana, and you don't get a short answer. It began half a century ago, when he was a rookie cop busting dope fiends in Harlem on a daily basis. It continued as he rose up the ranks, and was sent by the New York Police Department to earn advanced degrees in Harvard — where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on “the history of criminalizing drugs and its impact on the police.” And he served for 18 years as police chief at two major American cities, and knows better than most what it takes to prosecute a war on drugs.
Perhaps the shortest answer is that McNamara has felt this way for most of his lifetime. He wasn't in a position to say so before — but he sure is now.