Congressmen Push to End the Federal War on Weed
Author: Justin Mckibben
We have seen how there were serious political efforts going into removing the federal government’s claws in the fight against marijuana in the states, and about how the midterm elections this time last year have brought with them a wave of continuous change in weed policies around the country.
Several states are already gearing up to follow the trend this coming November by reforming their marijuana regulations and legalizing the use of weed for either medical or recreational use, and some are soon to allow both.
But it ain’t over until it’s over, and despite the growing popularity weed is still illegal under federal law. Now there is even more effort being put into putting a stop to any and all federal interference in the states individual initiatives to legalize marijuana.
Saying No to the DEA
In an act of bipartisan support that would probably surprise some, there are members of both political parties fighting to make this big change a reality. 2 congressmen have stepped into the fold in the past months intent on pushing the progress in weed policies further.
- Democrat Ted Lieu of California
- Republican Justin Amash of Michigan
These men have chosen to work together on new legislation that would block the DEA from using federal funding to aggressively cracking down on weed in the states.
As we were saying before, the House of Representatives unanimously passed an amendment earlier this year that was designed to diminish the funding for the DEA’s marijuana eradication efforts by 50%. This was already a huge hit to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s budget for going after the state weed laws, and was largely due to the failed tactics used during the American ‘war on drugs’ that many speculate may have done more than a fair share of damage itself.
Now politicians are saying even that is not enough. Representative Ted Lieu of California authored the amendment, and is now trying to go a step further and eliminate all the funding for the DEA’s work against legal weed, confident that the voters will support it. In an interview Lieu stated:
“We had such strong support [in June], we figured why not just eliminate all funding. It’s a waste of federal resources and ends up driving up prices for Americans.”
All that makes perfect sense. With so many people stepping up to support the laws in their individual nation one way or another, it seems a waste of money for federal funding to be used to aggressively hunt and prosecute people involved in weed-related activity their state has already deemed illegal.
Who are you really protecting from these growers, businesses and users if their own community has approved their existence?
Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program
Through the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program the DEA has already done a lot, including:
- Spent $18 million in 2014
- Arrested 6,310 people
- Confiscated over a million marijuana plants
Not saying these are all bad things, but if we take a closer look at some of the circumstances, the program isn’t exactly the best thing out there.
Civil Asset Forfeiture
For one, the program is funded through the Department of Justice’s civil asset forfeiture fund, which has been highly controversial since this initiative allows the authorities to seize money and property from people who have been suspected of a crime… but not convicted.
Amash is against this element of the war on weed because he feels civil assets forfeiture allows-
“innocent people to have their property taken without sufficient due process.”
This subject has been debated time and time again, because of the maze of red tape and scandals of corruption that wraps around these situations.
Amash is believes this aggressive federal enforcement is a problem because he says enforcement is a state-level issue, so the federal government should not be expending resources on marijuana prohibition, especially with so many states eliminating weed prohibition. Why should the DEA be able to procure all the belonging of an individual because of weed when their state legally permits them to use it?
Marijuana activist groups from all over are supporting this cause this year, including:
- The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)
- Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
Weed advocacy groups have praised the bill as a key concept in the fight towards blocking federal prohibition of weed in America. So while the individual states work to decide what’s best for them, still more are going to push for the federal government to stop spending money to contradict the states choices.
While marijuana can be harmful to recovering addicts, it is still important to understand 2 things (in this addicts opinion):
- That alcohol is legal and it too is dangerous for an addict. Being legalized does not make it safe for us. We still have to remember the hopelessness and devastating drugs deal to our lives.
- A lot of the money being used to persecute people in the states for using a drug their own elected officials have given them a right to use could be more effectively spent developing treatment for addiction and promoting programs to help educate the communities and prevent substance abuse.
Drugs and alcohol hurt people, no doubt about it. Legal or not legal they hurt people, and when recovering from addiction we must learn that. We should also continue as a society to work towards addressing addiction as the health issue it is. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135