Members of Congress Hope to Slash DEA’s Cannabis Eradication Budget


The federal government is still spending millions of dollars eradicating marijuana plants, even spending money in states that have legalized cannabis. While law enforcement officials have claimed that they need these funds to help battle cartels, some members of Congress state that historical data shows that a vast majority of plants eradicated under Uncle Sam’s marijuana eradication program are merely wild plants descended from industrial hemp. These members of Congress are hoping to cut the marijuana eradication budget by half (very happy and not surprised to see my representative, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, as a signer to the letter). The fact that a group of House Democrats are wanting to slash the Drug Enforcement Administration’s budget is just the latest bit of bad news for the DEA as Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post reports:

The chief of the agency stepped down in April under a cloud of scandal. The acting administrator since then has courted ridicule for saying pot is “probably not” as dangerous as heroin, and more recently he provoked 100,000 petition-signers and seven members of Congress to call for his head after he called medical marijuana “a joke.”

This fall, the administration earned a scathing rebuke from a federal judge over its creative interpretation of a law intended to keep it from harassing medical marijuana providers. Then, the Brookings Institution issued a strongly worded report outlining the administration’s role in “stifling medical research” into medical uses of pot.

Unfortunately for the DEA, the year isn’t over yet. Last week, a group of 12 House members led by Ted Lieu (D) of California wrote to House leadership to push for a provision in the upcoming spending bill that would strip half of the funds away from the DEA’s Cannabis Eradication Program and put that money toward programs that “play a far more useful role in promoting the safety and economic prosperity of the American people”: domestic violence prevention and overall spending reduction efforts.

Representative Ted Lieu will be seeking to completely defund the the cannabis eradication program next year, a wise move considering the major issues facing our nation. It is time that the federal government stop wasting hard-earned tax dollars on the War on Marijuana. Not only does the immoral war waste resources, but it unnecessarily ruins lives. It is great to see Rep. Lieu and other sensible legislators chipping away at a failed war being waged against our own nonviolent citizens.

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.