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Feds Spent More On Marijuana Prohibition In 2018 Than Fighting Domestic Terrorism

The DEA spent $18 million last year eradicating illegal marijuana grows, though it allegedly doesn’t know where most of the money went.

According to a new report from VICE News, the government poured additional cash into prohibition efforts final year than it spent on stopping incidents of domestic terrorism.

Final weekend’s tragic mass shootings in Texas and Ohio have re-focused the country’s interest on domestic terrorism. Political leaders continue warning of the threats posed by immigrants and religious minorities, but ideal-wing extremists born on US soil have been accountable for launching additional attacks and killing additional Americans than foreign terrorists have for practically two decades now.

However, as the quantity of deadly assaults raise, the Trump administration has reduce funding for government agencies developed to fight domestic terrorism. The Division of Homeland Safety (DHS) has drastically decreased funding and employees devoted to fighting deadly homegrown extremism, in favor of ramping up its anti-immigration efforts.

“This administration has shown that they are minimizing the concern of domestic terrorism,” mentioned former DHS analyst Daryl Johnson to VICE News. “At a time when we have heightened activity and the physique count keeps increasing, education is getting defunded and grant cash taken back.”

Under the current administration, funding for programs targeting right-wing radicals like those responsible for the recent shootings has been cut. The funding for these programs has been re-allocated to new initiatives that target immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and other minority groups.

“The government in fact has reduced resources to counter domestic terrorism, leaving our communities vulnerable to the next inevitable tragedy,” said George Selim, former head of the DHS Office of Community Partnerships (OCP), to Congress, VICE News reported. In the final year of the Obama administration, the OCP received $21 million in funding. The current administration cut the budget down to $3 million, reducing its staff from 16 employees and 25 contractors to just 8 employees.

The OCP was created to fund community efforts to end extremism on a local level. The agency distributed grants to organizations like Life After Hate, a group that helps people leave white supremacist groups. “I think those grants are important,” said Mary McCord, former DOJ national security official, to VICE News. “The federal government is never going to be truly successful in countering violent extremism without help, because anything with the words ‘US government’ slapped on it is going to be suspect in the community.”

Beneath the existing administration, funding for applications targeting ideal-wing radicals like these accountable for the current shootings has been reduce. The funding for these applications has been re-allocated to new initiatives that target immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and other minority groups.

“The government in reality has lowered sources to counter domestic terrorism, leaving our communities vulnerable to the subsequent inevitable tragedy,” mentioned George Selim, former head of the DHS Workplace of Neighborhood Partnerships (OCP), to Congress, VICE News reported. In the final year of the Obama administration, the OCP received $21 million in funding. The existing administration reduce the price range down to $three million, decreasing its employees from 16 staff and 25 contractors to just eight staff.

The OCP was developed to fund neighborhood efforts to finish extremism on a regional level. The agency distributed grants to organizations like Life Just after Hate, a group that aids men and women leave white supremacist groups. “I consider these grants are essential,” mentioned Mary McCord, former DOJ national safety official, to VICE News. “The federal government is by no means going to be actually thriving in countering violent extremism devoid of enable, due to the fact something with the words ‘US government’ slapped on it is going to be suspect in the neighborhood.”

Final year, the government spent $18 million — the very same quantity Trump reduce from the OCP — on seizing and destroying cannabis plants. This funding was granted to the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Plan (DCE/SP), a plan that has been locating and destroying pot farms due to the fact 1981. Significantly of the program’s funding was reportedly applied to enable California destroy its thriving black market place, but the DEA apparently does not even know exactly where all of its cash goes, according to the Government Accountability Workplace.

Even although the multimillion dollar DCE/SP price range appears intense, it essentially pales in comparison to other government funding excesses, VICE News unveiled. Just final September alone the Division of Justice spent $21 million on furnishings. In just two months of 2017, the DHS and the Division of Defense spent $14 million on safety information accompanying Trump’s golfing vacations to Mar-a-Lago. That very same year, the DHS gave yet another $14 million to a consultancy firm just to employ two border patrol agents.

It appears unlikely that the existing administration will adjust its stance on fighting ideal-wing extremism, but subsequent year, the nation will have a possibility to elect leaders who comprehend that domestic terrorism is far additional severe than cannabis prohibition.

However, a 1970s-era program designed to uncover and eradicate illegal marijuana grows is still going strong. The Drug Enforcement Agency program, called the “Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Program,” costs around $18 million. Most of that funding is spent in California, where marijuana is legal, though the state maintains a highly lucrative black market. While helicopter rentals account for the highest cost, the DEA allegedly doesn’t even know where most of that allocated budget goes, according to the Government Accountability Office.

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Some other exorbitant expenses from the Trump administration includes $21 million spent on furniture by the DOJ last September. In the same month, the DHS blew $51 million on public relations. And the DOJ and Department of Defense spent around $14 million for Trump’s four visits to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida between February and March 2017.

Maybe the first step, however, is recognizing that fighting domestic terrorism requires more funds than maintaining marijuana prohibition in states where the plant is legal.

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