Lawmakers Push to Reduce DEA Marijuana Eradication Funds | Marijuana

Lawmakers Push to Reduce DEA Marijuana Eradication Funds


The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is in hot water on Capitol Hill on a number of fronts.

Late last week, for example, a bipartisan group of lawmakers called on President Obama to fire Chuck Rosenberg, the agency’s acting administrator, after he called medical marijuana a “joke.”

And now a group of 12 House members is pushing to take money away from DEA’s efforts to eradicate marijuana plants and devote the savings to programs aimed at preventing child abuse and violence against women.

“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,” the lawmakers, led by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), wrote in a letter to House Republican and Democratic leaders. “There is no justification for spending this kind of money on an antiquated program never shown to be effective.”

The letter urges Congressional leadership to include the substance of an amendment that Lieu sponsored, which passed the House on a voice vote in June, in the final Fiscal Year 2016 spending package that appropriators from both chambers are now negotiating. The Lieu proposal was one of a series of amendments adopted by the House that, in total, cut $23 million from DEA’s budget and shifted the funds to things like solving the rape kit testing backlog, helping child abuse victims and paying for police body cameras.

Including Lieu’s $9 million shift from DEA would be an “important and needed step forward to cut waste from our federal budget and focus our limited resources on programs [that]have proven to be effective at preventing violence, assisting children who have victimized, and promoting public health,” the lawmakers wrote.

Besides Lieu, other members signing the letter are Reps. Jared Polis (CO), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Steve Cohen (TN), Eric Swalwell (CA), Mark Pocan (WI), Mike Honda (CA), Barbara Lee (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL(, Raúl Grijalva (AZ), Beto O’Rourke (TX) and Sam Farr (CA). All are Democrats.

Current funding for the federal government runs out on December 11, and leaders from both chambers of Congress are working to finalize a spending package that can earn enough votes to pass before that date.

About Author

Tom Angell covers policy and politics for Separately, he serves as chairman of the nonprofit organization Marijuana Majority, which works to ensure that elected officials and the media treat legalization as a serious, mainstream issue. Marijuana Majority led the effort to get the U.S. Conference of Mayors to pass a resolution telling the federal government to respect state marijuana laws, and orchestrated the first-ever endorsement for marijuana legalization by a U.S. Supreme Court justice (John Paul Stevens). Previously, Tom worked for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (All organizations are listed for identification purposes only.)


  1. Nixon starting the DEA was fraud and a farce to begin with…a big white elephant…gop does not like to talk about…

  2. cannabis prohibition was based upon the acceptable racist tones of the 1930’s and again re-enforced under the paranoia of Richard Nixon and his fear of the ” pot smoking Jews and God-damn Hippies”…
    We as a society are now demanding an end to this senseless war on the sick and suffering as the American Slave Trade with the for-profit prison industry will now be able to find closure as we end the war on cannabis and the good people who support ending this racist law nationwide.

  3. Meyer Lansky (RIP Katy) on

    I notice a good portion of Reps that signed the bill are states where marijuana is already legal to some extent, or, states where the penalties are typically relaxed

  4. These crooks are trying to whitewash law enforcement from misappropriating and commandeering hundreds of millions from Americans and placing it into their other law enforcement hands. This is a great rip-off of the American people. Soon no ones bank account will be safe.

  5. We can help the legislators eliminate the eradication funds while redirecting the focus of the DEA, by contacting our representatives in Congress to uphold the Constitution by enacting this reformed definition of marijuana:

    16. The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L. which is prohibited from being grown or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company.

    This year is a good time to write them a letter.

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