Michael Moore Hates Marijuana

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The Colorado Springs Gazette rebukes the DEA for meddling in state elections by campaigning against a marijuana legalization initiative that Colorado voters will consider in November. This week the Boulder Daily Camera reported that a DEA agent named Michael Moore had sent an e-mail message to political consultants seeking help finding someone to manage a campaign against the Colorado Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative, which would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by people 21 or older. Moore mentioned that he had $10,000 in seed money for the campaign.

According to the DEA, the money was raised through private donations (from DEA agents, among others). But Moore used a Justice Department e-mail account to send the message and seems to view opposing the initiative as part of his job. "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," the special agent in charge of the DEA's Denver office told the Daily Camera. "They should benefit from this expertise." (If so, why bother raising the $10,000 through private donations, instead of just spending taxpayer money?) The Gazette, which has not taken a position on the initiative, is not buying the DEA's "just the facts" pose:

We question the DEA's credibility as an honest broker of information…given the agency's record of selectively presenting the facts in a way that bolster its opposition to drug legalization and medical marijuana use, and given the overzealous way the DEA has gone after doctors and patients that do believe in marijuana's medical benefits, even in states that have approved such uses. It's also impossible to see the DEA as a disinterested party in the debate, given that the agency depends for its existence on the government's prohibition against certain drugs.

The DEA says Moore's on-the-job political activity does not violate the Hatch Act, which applies only to partisan elections. The Gazette says it's wrong even if it's legal:

If the DEA wants to make itself look hard-headed, hardhearted and ridiculous prosecuting medical marijuana users, that's one thing. But when it begins meddling in the political process, to influence a policy decision that only Colorado voters can and should make, that's another….The DEA should immediately put a stop to such activities and butt out of Colorado's business. If it can't find better uses for the taxpayers' money, Congress should slash its budget accordingly.

[Thanks to the Independence Institute's Mike Krause for the tip.]

NEXT: What the Hell?

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  1. Well of course DEA agents don’t want to see pot legal. Then they’ll have start working for a living like the rest of us.

  2. Seed money?

  3. About 30 years ago, I was browsing in the Government Printing Office bookstore, when I came upon a pamphlet issued by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (as it was then known), outlining all the ways that proponents of fluoridation of local water supplies could make sure that their side won any referendums on the issue. It struck me at the time that, regardless of the merits of fluoridation itself (and as one who has lived with fluoridated water all my life and never had any cavities, I’m all for it), the federal government had no business taking sides in local elections.

  4. But Moore used a Justice Department e-mail account to send the message and seems to view opposing the initiative as part of his job

    And, as covered in the Denver Rocky Mountain News, DEA contact information was given for people who wanted to make a contribution to the anti side of our Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative, which would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by folks here in Colorado.

    This outrage is tyranny! We are being forced, via the payment of our federal taxes, to take the government’s side of a political initiative, and it’s even a local political initiative!

    Regardless of our inclinations concerning the legalization of marijuana, this government interloping must be stopped. Each of us should contact our representative and senators and tell them that we want this, and any, utilization of taxpayer money to promote the government’s side of a political initiative to stop immediately.

    http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

    This outrage may not run afoul of the Hatch Act, but it certainly runs afoul of individual liberty.

  5. Wow- I could see the (long dead) Colorado Springs Sun standing up to the DEA, but the Gazette I remember would have been more likely to cheer them on.

    I guess things do change. Go Gazette! Sic ’em!

  6. Please. They’ve been doing this for years. Have you guys seen pushingback.com? It’s a DEA funded “blog”. Comments are disabled, but you can mail them! I suppose that’s a handy way to snitch out people that you don’t like. But anyway, pushingback.com constantly crows about referendums being lost and disparages those which are won and encourages governmental disobedience of the will of the voters – for example, should a police chief refuse to stop arresting people for marijuana simply because city law now prohibits this practice, this undemocratic official will be held up as a hero.

    I did write pushingback.com and asked if their site was an official government publication. The answer was affirmative.

    And while I wonder why the government gets to spend tax money specifically to get itself reelected, I don’t think that’s right, honestly most people don’t care.

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