The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
Now that the initiative to legalize adult possession of small amounts of marijuana has made it onto the November ballot, a DEA agent is seeking to launch a campaign to defeat it.
In an e-mail, an agent named Michael Moore sought a campaign manager to defeat the measure, which would allow people 21 and older to have up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Voters will decide on it in November. The e-mail was sent from a U.S. Department of Justice account and asks those interested in helping to call Moore at his DEA office, the Camera reported, and Moore said there was $10,000 available to launch the campaign.The Perfect Gift For Everyone On Your List!Give a Gift Now »
Give One Year of 5280 for just $16.
Safer Colorado, which sponsored the pro-legalization initiative, provides a good response:
“Our federalist system is based on the notion that states can establish their own laws without federal interference. The DEA … is thumbing its nose at the citizens of Colorado and the U.S. Constitution,” said Steve Fox, the group’s executive director.
In other words, the government should “stay out of politics.”
Since Moore and other agents, some of whom have put their own money into the campaign kitty, are federal rather than state employees, their action is not illegal:
Colorado law prohibits state employees from advocating for or against any political issue while on the job, but federal law allows federal employees like those who work for the DEA to take part in nonpartisan politics.
The thousands of Coloradans who signed the petition know full well what the law is and they want it changed. The issue may be neither Republican nor Democrat, but the DEA is hardly a dis-interested, non-partisan entity. Maybe it’s time to expand the scope of the law to include federal employees attempting to influence state ballot initiatives.
By the people and for the people should not include the D.E.A.
On a lighter note, I wonder what features a D.E.A. ad campaign would contain. Since according the the Government, drugs and terrorism go together like a hand and glove, will it be the modern version of Reefer Madness — telling people if they smoke pot they may morph into a terrorist like Osama bin Laden? Will it be medically oriented, featuring a person in bed in pain from MS with a voice-over telling them marijuana won’t really make them feel better? Or maybe a person throwing up after chemotherapy and a voice-over telling them marijuana won’t stop the nausea?
The proposed law doesn’t mandate that anyone try marijuana. It merely eliminates criminal penalties. Why can’t the DEA agents who don’t want to smoke marijuana “just say no” and leave everyone else alone?