While the federal government usually disproves of efforts to legalize marijuana at the state level, they also don't get directly involved in preventing those efforts from coming to fruition. But one anti-drug group says that's no longer the case.
Drug Safe Utah, an anti-cannabis organization that's working to prevent Utah from legalizing medial marijuana through a ballot initiative this fall, lists an unusual group as one of its affiliates: the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Salt Lake City Metro Narcotics Task Force. This would not only be unusual, but also illegal considering the Hatch Act prevents members of the executive branch of the federal government (except for certain high-ranking officials) from taking part in political activity. A spokesperson for the DEA national headquarters says that they do not endorse any political legislation, for or against, but there was no response to Think Progress from the DEA's Salt Lake City Metro Narcotics Task Force.
Of course, this is not something that should be ignored. Drug Safe Utah is basically claiming that members of the federal law enforcement are supporting their efforts to defeat the state's medical marijuana initiative. That would give their organization more legitimacy in the eyes of many voters. In fact, a spokesperson for the Utah Medical Association, which is also an affiliate of Drug Safe Utah, said that's why they have them listed!
“Our reasoning behind wanting to put some law enforcement behind it is I think it adds legitimacy to the campaign when law enforcement is seen as being on your side,” Utah Medical Association VP for Communications Mark Fotheringham told ThinkProgress.
Fotheringham also said that this wasn't a case of Drug Safe Utah just putting it on there without permission. He said they asked the DEA task force, and they approved the request.
Drug Safe Utah isn't exactly playing fair in this campaign either. A memo published by Marijuana Moment showed that the organization is telling its canvassers to lie to voters about the bill to sway their opinion. Older voters are supposed to be told that the ballot initiative will allow people to smoke marijuana whenever they want, while young voters are supposed to be told that they can only smoke it, not use edibles or vapes.
So basically Drug Safe Utah is telling lies about a ballot initiative and getting a DEA task force to violate federal law to support its position.
Yes, they definitely have the moral high ground.
(h/t Think Progress)