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U.S.: Congress Voting On Amendments To Rein In Troubled DEA

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Amendments Would Prohibit DEA from Undermining State Marijuana Laws; Shut Down DEA’s Controversial Bulk Collection Surveillance Programs; Cut Agency’s Budget

Amendments Come in Wake of Recent Forced Resignation of Agency’s Head, Michele Leonhart

As the U.S. House of Representatives considers the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill today and tomorrow, legislators could vote on at least seven amendments designed to reduce the power of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and cut its budget.

The DEA has existed for more than 40 years, but little attention has been given to the role the agency has played in fueling mass incarceration, racial disparities and other problems exacerbated by the Drug War. Congress has rarely scrutinized the agency, its actions or its budget, instead deferring to DEA administrators on how best to deal with drug-related issues.

That all has changed recently after a series of scandals that sparked several hearings in the House and Senate and forced the resignation of the DEA’s beleaguered head, Administrator Michele Leonhart.

“There’s unprecedented support on both sides of the aisle for ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states set their own drug policies based on science, compassion, health, and human rights,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “The more the DEA blocks sensible reforms the more they will see their agency’s power and budget come under deeper scrutiny.”

U.S.: Congressmen Take Aim At Federal Marijuana Ban

Photo: THC FinderBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's been 43 years since the Nixon Administration kicked off the modern War On Drugs with the federal Uniform Controlled Substances Act -- and a few members of Congress have begun a push to finally overturn the ban on marijuana.

About 10 lawmakers, mostly liberal Democrats, are writing bills they say will serve as legislative guideposts for the future if, as expected, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives ignores their proposals during this Congress, reports Raju Chebium of USA Today.

It's time to end the federal prohibition on cannabis, according to Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), because 18 states have legalized medical marijuana and many others are also exploring that option due to growing public support.

"Maybe next year, maybe next Congress, but this is going to change," Blumenauer said. "And the federal government will get out of the way."

"I'm very patient," Blumenauer explained. "I've been working on this one way or another for 40 years, and I think the likelihood of something happening in the next four or five years is greater than ever."

Meanwhile, the old guard of prohibitionists keeps beating the drum for the status quo in the War On Drugs.

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