REPS LIEU AND POLIS LEAD BIPARTISAN LETTER CALLING FOR NO FUNDING FOR DEA CANNABIS ERADICATION PROGRAM

March 15, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressmen Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Jared Polis (D-CO) are leading a letter signed by a bipartisan group of 14 Members urging Congressional leadership to prohibit millions of taxpayer dollars from being appropriated to support the Drug Enforcement Administration’s wasteful Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program. Because shifting attitudes have led more states to legalize or decriminalize cannabis, the Members are calling on Speaker Paul Ryan, Leader Nancy Pelosi, Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen and Appropriations Ranking Member Nita Lowey to reduce funding for the DEA’s ineffective and unnecessary program. In January, Rep. Lieu reintroduced legislation to curb civil asset forfeiture funds from being used by the DEA for cannabis eradication.

In the letter, the Members write:

  • Throughout the country, states are increasingly turning away from marijuana prohibition and enacting alternative policies to lower crime rates, free up limited law enforcement resources, and keep drugs out of the hands of children. To date, nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and 29 states and the District of Columbia now allow marijuana for medical use. There has also been a great deal of movement on the science behind marijuana, and consequently, the marijuana policy landscape in Congress has shifted to more closely match the needs of the states we represent.
  • In 2015, by a voice vote, the House of Representatives passed House Amendment 296 to H.R. 2578, the Commerce, Justice, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016. This commonsense amendment targeted $9 million dollars in the Cannabis Eradication Program in the DEA budget and redistributed it to three accounts that play a far more useful role in promoting the safety and economic prosperity of the American people: the Violence Against Women Act Youth-Oriented Program, the Victims of Child Abuse program, and the Spending Reduction Account.
  • Last year, many of us introduced a similar amendment to H.R. 3354, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018. The amendment again reduced funding for the DEA by $9 million to eliminate the Cannabis Eradication Program, but the savings were directed to deficit reduction. Consequently, the Congressional Budget Office scored the amendment as reducing budget authority by $9 million and reducing outlays by $7 million in Fiscal Year 2018.
  • Despite both the Cannabis Eradication Program’s 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 this program, spending $22 million in 2015 alone. There is no justification for spending this kind of money on an antiquated program never shown to be effective.

READ THE FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER HERE

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