Federal lawmakers are becoming skeptical of the DEA’s marijuana eradication program.
In a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is responsible for holding Uncle Sam’s leash, eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked the agency to dig into the DEA’s controversial cannabis eradication program to find out just how effective it really is now that the plant has been legalized in over half the United States.
“Over half the states have now legalized marijuana in some form, yet the DEA continues to funnel millions of tax dollars every year into marijuana eradication,” reads the letter obtained by Marijuana.com. “As Congress evaluates how to allocate government funds over the next fiscal year, it is critical that we have an accurate picture of what the DEA’s [cannabis eradication] funds are being spent on, where, and how effectively.”
The letter stems from a series of documents obtained by journalist Drew Atkins which show the DEA continues to spend in upwards of $14 million per year to eliminate the pot plant from the face of the nation. Yet the funding allocation reports shows these missions often lead to the discovery of absolutely no plants.
That was the case in Utah, where law enforcement received $73,000 to ensure all of the illegal marijuana grow operations throughout the state were destroyed. However, by the end of the year, the taxpayers had essentially shelled out a substantial amount of cash so a team of drug cops could scour the land, only to come up empty handed.
It is for this reason that federal lawmakers want the GAO to investigate the eradication program in order to get a better grip on how much of its funding is necessary and what is essentially being flushed down the drain.
The congressmen are asking for firm details on the allocation of the DEA’s eradication budget.
U.S. Representative Ted Lieu of California, one of lawmakers responsible for penning the letter, has been trying to dismantle the DEA’s eradication program for the past couple of years. In 2015, he introduced a couple of measures aimed at stripping the DEA’s budget, one of which would have allocated $9 million for programs benefiting abused children. Not surprisingly, neither proposal has received much consideration.
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