For decades, a US government agency has spent millions of dollars of taxpayer money to hunt down and eradicate a species of plant. Yes, the DEA. And it seems their efforts have been for nothing as there are now more adult marijuana smokers in the US than ever. The real problem is not the mistakes of our past, but the persistent efforts of so many still fighting the losing battle that is prohibition. Even in states that have completely legalized cannabis, like Washington state, the DEA refuses to compromise until their federal funding is cut. Other states to legalize recreational cannabis like Oregon and Colorado saw major drops in DEA funding, Oregon dropping by 80% and Colorado dropping down to $0 since legalizing marijuana. In 2016, Washington state received $760,000 from taxpayers for marijuana eradication making it the fourth-highest funded state. It's clear the continued aggression towards marijuana is not an attitude shared by the public and the policy should instead reflect the state's laws.
“While the DEA’s Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program has been in effect nationwide for three decades, the recent trend in state laws to legalize and decriminalize the production, distribution or consumption of marijuana calls into question the necessity of such a program,” the letter states.
“I don’t believe the arguments that this program is needed. From a taxpayer’s standpoint, it doesn’t make any sense that Washington state is still spending so much money on marijuana eradication,” Lieu said. “There are so many more worthwhile uses for it.”
“I hear it all the time: ‘You guys still have an outdoor-eradication program when you’re a legalized state? How does that make sense?’ ” Sweet said.