“The letter notes racial disparities in the agency’s enforcement of drug laws”
Two key House lawmakers sent a letter to the attorney general on Friday, condemning the recent expansion of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) authority amid mass protests and criticizing the agency’s objectives as out of step with the movement to legalize marijuana and reschedule other drugs.
And on Monday, two other House members wrote a similar letter, urging that the broader authority policy allowing DEA to conduct covert surveillance of protestors and “enforce any federal crime committed as a result of the protests” be rescinded and suggesting that Congress reevaluate the types of policies the agency should be able to enforce, including drug prohibition.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) told Attorney General William Barr that the temporary expansion of DEA power, which was first reported by BuzzFeed, is unwarranted and their “narcotics interdiction tactics” are inappropriate to deal with protestors. Further, they said “DEA’s rigid refusal to consider, let alone adopt, even minor reform of the way it carries out business portends a further unnecessary escalation of this week’s protests.”
The letter notes racial disparities in the agency’s enforcement of drug laws, particularly for cannabis.
The administration’s “counterproductive focus on non-violent drug offenses is a plain reminder that the DEA is out of touch with the Nation’s shift from the drug war model to policies of substance abuse treatment, rescheduling drugs, legalizing marijuana, and reducing harsh drug sentences,” they said.
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