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Federal Lawmakers Push to Cut DEA Marijuana Eradication Funds

Golden Cannabis Plant
Photo by Taylor Kent


Federal Lawmakers Push to Cut DEA Marijuana Eradication Funds

Over the last year, the DEA has found themselves in a good amount of hot water which may come back to haunt them in the next fiscal year.

Not only were there reports from this spring where DEA agents were found to be throwing wild sex parties funded by drug cartels in Columbia, but the current head of the administration, Chuck Rosenberg, is also being pressured by lawmakers to be removed from his position after commenting that medical marijuana is nothing more than “a joke.” A petition on calling on President Obama to initiate Rosenberg’s removal already has over 125,000 signatures in support.

To add to this, just last week 12 federal lawmakers wrote a letter to House leaders asking to reduce the amount funding that the DEA receives for its Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program. The letter states that the program, designed to rid the country of illegal cannabis operations, has actually achieved to seize vast amounts of industrial hemp.

“The Cannabis Eradication Program’s sole mission is to eradicate marijuana plants and arrest growers,” the letter reads. “However, historical data indicates that the vast majority of plants seized under this program are wild plants descendant from industrial hemp. They are not intentionally grown, and they are not suitable for recreational or medical use. Therefore, the seizure of these plants has served neither an economic nor public-safety nor a health-related purpose. Its sole impact has been to expend limited federal resources that are better spent elsewhere.”

The letter of proposal, written by Democratic Representative Ted Lieu and 11 other lawmakers, concerns a proposed amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2016. This act sets the budgets for many agencies within the government structure. The proposed amendment would cut the budget for the DEA’s Marijuana Eradication Program in half, from $18 million to $9 million.

The $9 million taken from the program would be redistributed to other programs that, according to Rep. Lieu’s letter, would “play a far more useful role in promoting the safety and economic prosperity of the American People.” It’s proposed that $4 million would be repurposed to the Violence Against Women Act Youth-Oriented Program, another $4 million would be given to the Victims of Child Abuse program and the rest would be set aside in the Spending Reduction Account for later use in other necessary programs.

“Despite the programs’ proven ineffectiveness and the seismic shift in attitudes on marijuana policy within Congress and across our nation, the DEA continues to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on its Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression program, spending $18 million in 2014 alone,” Rep. Lieu explains in his letter. “There is no justification for spending this kind of money on an antiquated program never shown to be effective.”

Should the DEA’s Marijuana Eradication Program’s budget be cut? Or should the program be disbanded altogether? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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