A member of the Georgia National Guard force searches for illegal marijuana plants.

Georgia National Guard

Feds Request Report on DEA Cannabis Eradication Program

Seven congressional Democrats along with one Republican have written a letter to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro requesting the Government Accountability Office to “produce a report on the cost effectiveness of the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program,” calling into question the “necessity” of the program.

The lawmakers cite an Oct. 7 Washington Post report that discovered the DEA spent $73,000 on the program in Utah, “but did not find a single plant to eradicate.”

“Over half the states have now legalized marijuana in some form, yet the DEA continues to funnel millions of tax dollars every year into marijuana eradication,” the letter reads. “As Congress evaluates how to allocate government funds over the next fiscal year, it is critical that we have an accurate picture of what the DEA’s DCE/SP funds are being spent on, where and how effectively.”

Specifically, the congressmen want the agency to report:

  • The cost per plant per state and the total program cost over the last three to five years.
  • How the states have used those funds
  • How the DEA measures the program’s success
  • How many states had zero eradications
  • The “mean, median, and mode” of plants destroyed at each source
  • The total amount of cannabis that has been eradicated or suppressed by the program in the past three to five years, and how much of that was in states with medical or recreational cannabis laws.
  • What types of levels of coordination happen between the DEA the U.S. Department of Agriculture and US Forest Service.

According to the Post report, the DEA spends $14 million annually on the eradication program and 12 members of Congress have proposed eliminating the program altogether.         

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