Published on September 21st, 2015 | by News Feed
DOJ Threatens States: Change Drug Property Seizure Laws And Lose Federal Funding
If you are hoping that marijuana will eventually be legalized nationwide, you might want to get a dose of reality. Based on recent events, the feds are just as dirty as ever and no closer to ever lightening up on marijuana laws. Why? It all comes down to money.
When Eric Holder came into the DOJ as the newest Attorney General, he was greeted with much fanfare and excitement because many people thought that he would change many of the corrupt and outdated laws that are crippling this country. However Holder has proven to be just another shill for the monopoly of government power. Holder released a statement in early 2015 that claimed the government was going to reform the current asset seizure laws as they pertained to suspected drug dealers/users.
The current laws made it acceptable for local law enforcement to take all the property and either keep it or sell it at auction. However it has become clear through the revelation of once secure emails and other communications, that Holder was doing nothing more than simply trying to smooth talk his way into the hearts and minds of the drug activists.
Many of the most prominent activists around the country thought that change had finally come. The real reason for this optimism was due in large part to the speech Holder gave in which he stated that, “Effective immediately, the Justice Department is taking an important step to prohibit federal agency adoptions of state and local seizures, except for public safety reasons.”
In this speech Holder did nothing but offer lip service to a real problem facing the country. Holder entered office under the guise of changing the institution of law and making it more user friendly. In fact he was said to be the most progressive figure in the Obama Administration. However recent information has shown that he was nothing that many thought he was.
Outwardly the DOJ was saying that they wanted this law changed and reformed to better protect the citizen of the country from police overreach. Inwardly they were doing the exact opposite. It has been shown that the DOJ was secretly talking with all state law enforcement leaders and reminding them that if these laws changed they would be forfeiting their share of Federal Funding for law enforcement. The money came from the Equitable Sharing Program and it could be cut of very easily. The DOJ was simply using the treasury department to maintain the status quo.
While some might think this is just a rumor started by the right to make the left look bad, the truth is that New Mexico, a known Democratic stronghold, has already suffered the repercussions Holder suggested. Gov. Susana Martinez wanted the law changed, had the law changed, and then had her federal funding cut off.
California was another state that was planning to reform the states asset seizure laws. Senate Bill 443 was written and talked about a great deal. The bill would have required that all property and assets seized in a drug bust would have to be held by the authorities until a conviction was reached. If a conviction were not reached then the property would be returned. While the law makes perfect sense for a justice system that claims innocence until proven guilty, the DOJ did not like this law and they began to circulate information not derail the bill. Once information regarding funding was hared with the California Senate, it did not take long for the bill to be shot down. The DOJ went as far as to say that the law would make it harder for them to give funding to the local law enforcement agencies.
“I highly doubt our federal agencies can figure out whether a conviction occurred in any timely manner,” wrote Melissa Nasrah, legal counsel for the Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture. “[It] seems the legislation, in effect, takes decision-making authority away from Treasury. Accordingly, I think I would still advise our policy officials here that it would be prudent to not share with CA agencies should this law be passed.”
This is why Senate Bill 443 was DOA and has not moved forward. The California District Attorney’s Association drafted an email and sent it to one of the main authors of the bill, Holly Mitchell. The letter was also sent to every member of the California legislature. According to the letter the new law would, “essentially deny every law enforcement agency in California direct receipt of any forfeited assets” because it would “cripple” their ability to profit when “arrest and incarceration is an incomplete strategy.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the modern day government works for you and I. It doesn’t matter if a person is actually convicted or not. If the cops bust you with drugs, they can take everything you own on the grounds that you probably just bought it with drug money anyway. It’s unfair and it’s just another way that our crooked government is continuing a losing war on drugs.