BOULDER — A Drug Enforcement Administration agent has asked political campaign professionals for help defeating a statewide ballot issue that would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, the Daily Camera reported in Sunday editions.
In an e-mail, an agent named Michael Moore sought a campaign manager to defeat the measure, which would allow people 21 and older to have up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Voters will decide on it in November.
The e-mail was sent from a U.S. Department of Justice account and asks those interested in helping to call Moore at his DEA office, the Camera reported, and Moore said there was $10,000 available to launch the campaign.
That prompted members of Safer Colorado, the group supporting the ballot proposal, to say the government should stay out of politics.
"Our federalist system is based on the notion that states can establish their own laws without federal interference. The DEA ... is thumbing its nose at the citizens of Colorado and the U.S. Constitution," said Steve Fox, the group's executive director.
Jeff Sweetin, the special agent in charge of the Denver office of the DEA, said the law allows his agency to tell voters why they shouldn't decriminalize pot.
"We're in favor of the democratic process. But as a caveat, we're in favor of it working based on all the facts," he said.
Sweetin said the $10,000 available for the campaign came from private donations, including some from agents themselves.
Colorado law prohibits state employees from advocating for or against any political issue while on the job, but federal law allows federal employees like those who work for the DEA to take part in nonpartisan politics.
An official from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which investigates violations of the act, said last week that the DEA hasn't run afoul of the law, the Daily Camera reported.