“Marijuana is safe, we know it is safe. It’s our cash cow and we will never give up,” Belita Nelson told an audience of doctors and nurses at the Marijuana for Medical Professionals Conference in Denver, Colorado this month. 7Nelson says that was the first thing she learned from her Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) education coordinator, Paul Villaescusa, when she was hired in the Dallas office in April 1998.“I was having fun, I was very good at my propagandist job—I was the chief propagandist for the DEA,” she said.Nelson represented the DEA in the international media from 1998 to 2004. She did regular appearances on the talk show circuit, including the Oprah Winfrey show and Nightline, espousing the dangers of cannabis. Today she advocates for its medical use, specifically in the treatment of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in professional football players through an organization she founded: The Gridiron Cannabis Foundation.Belita Nelson grew up in what she calls a “Texas Football Family”. Her father loved the Dallas Cowboys and taught her “life lessons from football.” Football has always been a major part of her life and she has often called well-known players her friends.The DEA Agent and The Dallas Cowboys Star She says in 2000, two years into her tenor at the DEA, a close friend and Dallas football player was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer. She watched him go through three rounds of chemotherapy and deteriorate from 340 to 140 pounds. She says he could no longer eat or sleep and was miserable.Nelson went home and asked her then-teenage son if he could find her marijuana. “Even if the DEA is behind my name I am not willing to sit here and watch my friend die,” she said.The cannabis helped; he started eating and gaining weight and slept more restfully at night. With new motivation he started a clean eating and juicing diet to complement the marijuana therapy and lived an additional nine years. Nelson says she even grew the cannabis herself so that she knew it was safe and not smuggled from Mexico.