In an email to supporters sent Friday, the Drug Policy Alliance questioned why the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was considered essential during the government shutdown.

"The government shutdown has closed our national parks and furloughed almost a million federal employees, but the Drug Enforcement Administration remains 'essential' enough to carry on the drug war. You and I both know the DEA isn’t effective. So why is it considered essential?" Bill Piper said in the email.

The group, which seeks to end the war on drugs, urged supporters to sign a petition that calls on Congress to defund the DEA.

"The DEA is one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of marijuana law reform and ending the drug war," the email added. "It blatantly lies about marijuana and other drugs while blocking and ignoring scientific research. It relies on dishonesty and scare tactics to promote its vested interests. It undermines the will of voters in medical marijuana states with militarized raids that have resulted in the deaths of innocent people. And it’s been secretly using NSA and CIA programs to spy on virtually all Americans."