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DEA agent's career up in smoke: Patrick Moen leaves DEA for marijuana industry

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Former DEA Agent Patrick Moen’s career with the government has just gone to pot – literally. The 36-year-old Moen quit his post in Portland late last year after over a decade spent in drug enforcement, joining the burgeoning private industry of legalized marijuana sales.

The Seattle Times on Sunday profiled Moen and his career change, and reported that his former DEA boss is none too happy.

“It is disappointing when law enforcement officers, sworn to uphold the laws of the United States with honor, courage and integrity, abandon their commitment to work in an industry involved in trafficking marijuana,” Seattle-based DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Barnes, Moen’s former boss, said.

Moen, who is an attorney, has been in law enforcement since he joined the ranks of NYPD’s police force at age 20, and has spent the last 13 years battling drug rings throughout the Pacific Northwest. Now, he will assist his new company, Privateer Holdings, with compliance with state and federal legalized marijuana laws.

“I think he doesn’t represent the hard work of every other agent and the DEA,” DEA spokeswoman Dawn Dearden told Fox News on Tuesday.

Moen says it was not an easy decision to reach.

“It’s not one I took lightly,” the former 11-year DEA agent said. “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.”

Privateer Holdings, founded by Yale MBAs Brendan Kennedy and Michael Blue, invests in businesses that work to legalize and market marijuana, such as Leafly, a website that reviews strains of pot.

While Moen’s former employers are not thrilled about his 180 degree flop, the weed grass is not necessarily greener on the pot side of the fence either.

Mitchell Stern, owner of Burning Bush Nurseries, took to Twitter last week and lambasted Moen, calling him a “rat” and an “opportunist” and urging his peers in the marijuana field to avoid funding with Privateer.

“This man made a career of putting people like me, my friends and my co-workers in jail,” said Stern in an interview, adding that he’s never been arrested. “I don’t think he’s in this to right a wrong. He’s in this to make money for his own personal benefit.”

For more on the interview with Moen, head over to the Seattle Times.

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