Marijuana: Obama is Champion Spender on Medical Enforcement

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Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 10:05 AM
click to enlarge JOSEPH ADAMS / FLICKR
  • Joseph Adams / Flickr

President Obama has said cracking down on medical marijuana in states where it's legal, like California, wouldn't be a priority for his law enforcement agencies.

But a new report by the group Americans for Safe Access not only says that Obama has been tough on weed, but that his administration's spending on medical cannabis enforcement has "dwarfed" that of the George W. Bush and Bill Clinton White Houses.

The report, called "What's the Cost," says Obama's Department of Justice is responsible for $300 million of about $500 million spent on federal marijuana enforcement since 1996.

ASA says the money was used, in part, ...

... to investigate, raid, arrest, prosecute, and imprison hundreds of medical marijuana patients and their providers.

The organization slams Obama for outspending his predecessors:

... President Obama has dedicated nearly $300 million to such enforcement efforts, despite his repeated pledges to not use Justice Department funds in this way. In 2011 and 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spent four percent of its budget on the medical marijuana crackdown. Having conducted at least 270 paramilitary-style raids during the past four years, Obama's DEA spent approximately $8 million to carry them out. However, the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on raids was dwarfed by the amount spent on investigative efforts preceding raids, indictments, and lawsuits, which has totaled more than $200 million.

click to enlarge KATHEIRNE HITT / FLICKR
  • Katheirne Hitt / Flickr

The group says 3 out of 4 federal asset forfeiture lawsuits involving medical cannabis crackdowns since 1996 have happened under Obama's watch.

The ASA wants congress to stop funding federal enforcement involving otherwise legit medical marijuana suspects. It's also calling on lawmakers to allow the "compassionate release" of medical convicts.

Good luck with that.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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