Marijuana Is Legal In Oregon, But DEA War On Cannabis Continues

In 2014, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spent $960,000 to eradicate cannabis in Oregon, only to see the state legalize recreational weed in November of the same year.

So, does that mean the war on cannabis is over in Oregon?

In a word, no. The DEA still set aside $760,000 specifically for Oregon in its 2015 budget - part of its ongoing national program to eradicate cannabis. The DEA says it's trying to dismantle Mexican drug cartels backing illegal, large-scale marijuana cultivation in the state.

Some see the expensive program as a wasteful relic.

"When there were huge cartel problems, we needed that money, but now we don't," said Jackson County Sheriff Corey Falls in an interview with KGW, the Portland NBC affiliate.

Falls said drug cartels are now trafficking heroin and methamphetamine instead of cannabis.

Representative Ted Lieu (D-California, 33rd District) agrees. He wants to end the war on cannabis nationwide: "I think the DEA's marijuana eradication program is a huge waste of federal taxpayer dollars," he told KGW.

Lieu has bi-partisan, broad-based support in the House of Representatives. In June, the House unanimously approved a motion to halve the $18 million annual budget for the DEA program.

But Lieu isn't stopping there. He's trying to build support for eradicating the program entirely. Lieu and Republican Justin Amash are working on legislation to eliminate the forfeiture program, which allows the DEA to fund its programs through assets seized from suspected criminal operations.

h/t KGW, U.S. News and World Report, The Washington Post

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