DEA expands powers to target protesters

Posted on June 4th, 2020 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

BlackLivesMatterAs first reported by Buzzfeed News, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is expanding its powers so that it can assist "to the maximum extent possible in the federal law enforcement response" to the wave of ongoing nationwide protests that have followed the killing of George Floyd by a member of the Minneapolis police.

According to a DEA memorandum, the agency requested that the Justice Department expand the agency's policing powers beyond the enforcement of federal drug laws to include the enforcement of "any federal crime committed as a result of protests over the death of George Floyd." Buzzfeed reports that the agency was granted permission to exert these new, expanded policing powers nationwide for a period of 14 days.

In response to the agency’s expansion of police powers beyond its purview of drug law enforcement NORML's political director Justin Strekal said in a statement:

"The DEA has long misused its drug enforcement powers, and especially its powers to enforce federal marijuana prohibition, to target dissident groups and populations of color. Therefore, it is hardly a surprise that this agency is seeking to greatly expand its power and scope during these tumultuous times to further target those who have been disproportionality impacted by both police misconduct and the war on drugs and are daring to speak out against it."

Strekal further cautioned that those engaging in peaceful protests could also be subjected to DEA action arrest for the possession or use of cannabis—regardless of its legality in various states.

He said: "Despite changes in the legal status of cannabis in the majority of US jurisdictions, marijuana possession and use remains a violation of federal law. The DEA possesses the power to strictly enforce these violations of law. Because we know that the DEA is playing a more prominent role in surveilling these activities and taking law enforcement actions, NORML reminds anyone participating in these events to refrain from the possession or use of cannabis while doing so." (NORML)

Graphic:  Checkin Trapps


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