House Member Argues U.S. Grants Shouldn’t Pay for Pot Enforcement


A Democratic U.S. House member argues that federal anticrime grant money should not be used to enforce anti-marijuana laws. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) asked Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, at an oversight hearing yesterday to find out how much money under the Byrne law enforcement grant program is used for marijuana enforcement. reports that Cohen said such enforcement is “turning a whole generation of young people against the system and that’s somemthing we can’t afford.”

In her opening statement, Robinson said her agency manages almost 14,000 active grants totaling almost $10 billion, “yet we consistently exceed our statutory monitoring requirements. “Last year, we monitored more than twice the amount required by law.” She also said the agency had cut staff travel expenses by 39 percent and saved $2 million through freezes on hiring, promotions, and staff training. Citing the recent Justice Department Inspector General’s report on conference spending, Robinson said she had barred “all food and beverage costs under OJP grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements, except in extraordinary circumstances.”

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