Federal lawmakers are doing everything they can to weaken the power of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Earlier last week, the House of Representatives made a historical move by putting their seal of approval on several proposed amendments aimed at prohibiting the DEA from spending tax dollars to shakedown states that have legalized marijuana.
One of the proposals, introduced by Representative Ted Lieu of California, suggests amputating the agency’s infamous cannabis eradication program, arguing that it is a waste of valuable resources now that so many states have legalized the herb. The proposal would eliminate half of the DEA’s $18 million budget to pay for the destruction of plants, while reallocating $9 million to programs that help abused children.
“This is a ridiculous waste of precious federal resources, especially when multiple states and jurisdictions have already legalized marijuana,” Lieu said in a statement. “It is time for the federal government to stop making marijuana use or possession a federal crime.”
The DEA’s Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program has been in full swing in all 50 states for the past three decades, a feeble attempt to “halt the spread of cannabis cultivation” in America. Yet, despite the fact that over half the states have now legalized marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes, the agency continues to pour millions of tax dollars into efforts aimed at annihilating grow operations. [link: ]
In 2014, the DEA destroyed 3,904,213 cannabis plants from outdoor grow operations and another 396,620 indoors. These take downs, according to the agency, resulted in the seizure of over $27 million in assets and the arrest of 6,310 people.
However, the word on Capitol Hill is that the DEA is about to experience its first round of financial filleting. Earlier this week, public affairs expert Ron Bonjean told Fox News that the DEA’s budget “is going to be cut severely,” because there is no longer any justification for why the agency should destroy plants when the federal government is not even enforcing marijuana laws.
While this subject has been part of a large political debate for the past several years, lawmakers like Representative Lieu believe the redirection of DEA funds is long overdue.
“We need to focus our resources where they are actually needed,” he said, “standing up for children who have been victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault, not spending taxpayer dollars on going after people who grow marijuana plants.”
The proposed budgetary slashing for the DEA all depends on whether it is attached to a federal spending bill that will be passed later this year. There is speculation, however, that the arrogance of the agency may have sealed its own coffin. Some say reports of orgies and the fraternization with known drug cartels—as well as countless other abuses of powers—have federal lawmakers champing at the bit to cut Uncle Sam’s drug enforcement henchmen off at the knees.
(Photo Courtesy of Marijuana.com)
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