Days after a legion of activists and federal lawmakers petitioned to have DEA acting chief, Chuck Rosenberg, tarred and feathered in the streets of Washington D.C. for calling medical marijuana “a joke,” a mob of influential bruisers on Capitol Hill have stepped up to clobber the agency while they are down.
Congressman Ted Lieu and a band of like-minded House members submitted a letter last week calling for leadership to support the elimination of funds used by the DEA to operate its controversial marijuana eradication program. As it stands, Uncle Sam’s drug enforcers receive $18 million a year to pull a weed that is legal in over half the nation. The group insists that a portion of this money—$9 million—would be better invested in programs that help victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
This push to strip funds away from the DEA is a result of the agency’s indiscretions over the course of the past several months. In fact, a number of federal lawmakers came out swinging at the face of the nation’s dope sniffers earlier this year after news of drug agents having orgies with cartel-paid hookers became the center of the national spotlight.
In June, the House of Representatives signed off on several proposals aimed at prohibiting the DEA from using tax dollars to further its misguided agenda.
One of those amendments, introduced by Congressman Lieu, suggested at least a partial castration of the DEA’s Cannabis Eradication & Suppression Program. The House passed Lieu’s amendment in a voice vote without any opposition.
The letter addressed to Speaker Paul Ryan, Democratic majority leader Nancy Pelosi, Chairman Harold Roger and Ranking Member Nita Lowey begs for the inclusion of Lieu’s amendment in the federal spending bill currently being gnawed on by the political animals in the House and Senate. The goal is to prevent the DEA from wasting taxpayer money to support a program that has long since become a relic of the dark days of prohibition in America.
“The Cannabis Eradication Program’s sole mission is to eradicate marijuana plants and arrest growers. However, historical data indicates that the vast majority of plants seized under this program are wild plants descendant from industrial hemp,” reads the letter. “There is no justification for spending this kind of money on an antiquated program never shown to be effective.”
Earlier this year, public affairs expert Ron Bonjean predicted the DEA’s budget was “going to be cut severely,” in the near future because the agency is no longer able to justify the destruction of marijuana plants.
Unfortunately, as we learned this year with respect to the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which was supposed to prevent the DEA from unleashing their wrath against members of the medical marijuana community, even if Congressman Lieu’s amendment is attached to the Fiscal Year 2016 budget, there is a distinct possibility that the agency will use its greasy interpretation skills to find a way to continue running the eradication program at full speed.
The DEA has undoubtedly proven to be a rabid devil dog that keeps coming back no matter how many appendages are cut off. However, it is conceivable and even somewhat expected that the arrogance of the agency has prompted federal lawmakers to go for the jugular of the beast, with $23 million in DEA budget cuts potentially landing in the upcoming spending package.
Lawmakers must decide which amendments will be included in the budget before the current spending deal comes to an end on December 11.