DEA Denies Politicking Against Marijuana Initiative

On Monday, I wrote over at 5280.com about a DEA officer who reportedly was attempting to raise money to campaign against the legalization of marijuana initiative that will be on the Colorado ballot in November. The initiative, sponsored by Safer Colorado, would legalize possession by adults of up to one ounce of marijuana. Denver voters passed a similar initiative last year, but the state said it would continue to enforce its law which makes such possession a petty offense punishable by up to a $100 fine. (Colorado also has a medical marijuana law that allows people to obtain a state license to possess and grow up to six plants if they submit a letter from their doctor.)

Today, the DEA responded to the report it intends to campaign against the measure and says it's not true.

There have been reports recently that the state's Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) would use $10,000 to campaign against the initiative. Tuesday, however, DEA agent Jeff Sweetin said that is simply not true. Sweetin opposes the initiative that would make it legal to carry up to 1 ounce of marijuana.

The DEA said it will not overstep its mission, which is to enforce drug laws, but Sweetin said it will continue to educate the public about the dangers of smoking pot. The DEA said any amount of marijuana should be illegal.

What are those dangers? According to the DEA, still stuck in the Reefer Madness mentality of the 1930's,

"All the research we see on marijuana continues to tell us it's a very dangerous, addictive substance," said Sweetin.

Addictive? When was the last time you saw someone go through withdrawal symptons like the D.T.'s from pot? Dangerous? How many people have died smoking pot? Alcohol is far more dangerous.

There's two months to go to convince Colorado voters to approve the legislation. Tarring people with a criminal record, even just a petty offense, for smoking marijuana is dumb and a waste of the state's criminal justice resources. The conviction shows up on public records. Even though no jail time is involved, the courts make offenders take a drug class -- and insist that no other violations be incurred for a period of time.

Safer's point is that pot is less harmful than alcohol. Check out their website, and if you can, help them out.

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    Re: DEA Denies Politicking Against Marijuana Initi (none / 0) (#1)
    by Pete Guither on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 06:49:35 AM EST
    There's still something fishy here. In the August 29 story mentioned here, we read...
    "We don't have $10,000 in money. There may be organizations that are raising money," said Sweetin. "There is no $10,000 in money that I've ever heard of."
    but in the August 28 story in the same media outlet linked at the bottom of the page...
    Sweetin said the $10,000 available for the campaign came from private donations, including some from agents themselves.
    No reason is given by the Denver Channel as to why he knew where it came from one day and had never even heard of it the next day.

    Re: DEA Denies Politicking Against Marijuana Initi (none / 0) (#2)
    by Che's Lounge on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 07:05:30 AM EST
    In CA we passed a proposition to legalize medical marijuana. Despite the 60%= approval, the Republican Guard dominated San Diego County and Riverside County Boards of supervisors are still (with DEA and local sheriffs' help) closing down cannabis clinics, based upon the federal statutes. Republicans for states rights? Not here. Let George do it!

    Re: DEA Denies Politicking Against Marijuana Initi (none / 0) (#3)
    by Che's Lounge on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 07:09:57 AM EST
    I meant 60%+

    The DEA should follow the links here to see what British experts think about marijuana and other drugs.

    Re: DEA Denies Politicking Against Marijuana Initi (none / 0) (#5)
    by Che's Lounge on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 09:12:00 AM EST
    Daniel, The rightards will not allow the US to even consider, much less take the advice of, Europeans' views on drugs. They have their alcohol and Ambien. No one else deserves the same freedoms, because it might cause the "terrists" to hate us even more.

    I have to agree with Pete, something stinky here. According to the August 27th Daily Camera. article:
    Jeff Sweetin, the special agent in charge of the Denver office of the DEA, said voters have every right to change the laws. And the law allows his agency to get involved in that process to tell voters why they shouldn't decriminalize pot. "My mantra has been, 'If Americans use the democratic process to make change, we're in favor of that,'" he said. "We're in favor of the democratic process. But as a caveat, we're in favor of it working based on all the facts." Sweetin said the $10,000 the committee has to spend came from private donations, including some from agents' own accounts. He said the DEA isn't trying to "protect Coloradans from themselves" but that the agency is the expert when it comes to drugs. "The American taxpayer does have a right to have the people they've paid to become experts in this business tell them what this is going to do," he said. "They should benefit from this expertise."
    So, what is it agent Sweetin, yes or no? If it is true then state elections may be in jepordy. Imagine the Faith Based Office in the WH backing (with either money or name) anti-gay marriage initiatives, or the DOD behind a "Stay the course" initiatve. There are some real dangers here.

    Something wasn't right. I talked to the DEA spokesperson, the Boulder reporter, and Tvert. And it's still a little weird.

    Think about it. The DEA is using tax dollars from citizens, to influence an election so that they can unjustly throw more of those citizens in jail? Without all of the over 700,000 marijuana arrests made each year in the US, what would all those DEA agents do? 750,000 arrests in one year is about 1.5 arrests PER MINUTE! Think of all the DEA agents it takes to work on this huge number, and think of all the money and property that they get to "steal" from these peopel. It's sickening when you see the quotes from DEA and ONDCP making general statements about the "dangers" and potential for "addiction" concerning marijuana. And it looks like the national news media has a thorough blackout about this story. Can't find any major media outlet, outside Colorado, who will even mention this story.