Washington DC – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-CA) and Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) announce the introduction of their Stop Civil Asset Forfeiture Funding for Marijuana Suppression Act.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spends millions of federal dollars each year for its Domestic Cannabis Eradication / Suppression Program. Through this program, the DEA spent $18 million in 2014 alone and arrested 6,310 people. As many states across the country continue to ease restrictions on marijuana or legalize it entirely, this federal program represents a waste of precious federal resources.
The DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program is funded through the Department of Justice’s problematic and controversial civil asset forfeiture fund. Civil asset forfeiture enables police to take away property from individuals who have not been convicted of a crime.
“As multiple states legalize marijuana across our nation, it is a huge waste of federal resources for the DEA to eradicate marijuana,” said Congressman Lieu. “The federal government should focus its precious resources on other issues and let the states innovate in the cannabis field. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill along with Congressman Amash.”
“Civil asset forfeiture allows innocent people to have their property taken without sufficient due process, and this program encourages civil asset forfeiture by allowing the DEA to use the proceeds of seized property to fund marijuana prohibition enforcement,” said Congressman Amash. “This is especially troubling given that the federal government should not be expending resources on marijuana prohibition—enforcement is a state-level issue, and an increasing number of states are deciding to back off from prohibition. I’m pleased to introduce this bipartisan bill with Congressman Lieu to stop the use of civil forfeiture proceeds for this element of the federal government’s marijuana enforcement efforts.”
“Representatives Lieu and Amash should be commended for having the insight to understand our current approach isn’t working and the courage to do something about it,” said Dan Riffle, Director of Federal Policies, Marijuana Policy Project. “The Marijuana Policy Project wholeheartedly supports this sensible legislation and we look forward to helping to pass it.”
“Rep Lieu has shown leadership on the cannabis eradication issue since championing an amendment earlier this year to slash funding to the program, and Rep Amash is a tireless opponent of the type of wasteful spending that the DEA symbolizes. Drug Policy Alliance is proud to support this bill,” said Michael Collins, Policy Manager at Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs.