A police truck with the DEA insignia.

Brett Neilson

DEA Threat Assessment Survey Blames Media for Difficulty Enforcing Cannabis Laws

In their latest Threat Assessment, an annual survey of U.S. law enforcement agencies, the DEA claims that the “abundance of media attention” has made it difficult to enforce and prosecute cannabis-related offences.

“Many states have passed laws allowing the cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana within their respective states. Due to these varying state laws, as well as an abundance of media attention surrounding claims of possible medical benefits, the general public has been introduced to contradictory and often inaccurate information regarding the legality and benefits of marijuana use. This has made enforcement and prosecution for marijuana-related offenses more difficult, especially in states that have approved marijuana legalization.”

Additionally, just 4.9 percent of survey respondents said that cannabis was the drug that concerned them the most, down from 6 percent last year. In the survey, the average strength of cannabis seized was up from 1995 levels, from 4 to 12 percent, as was the potency of “hash-oil” from 13 percent in 1995 to 55 percent.

The agency asserts that international drug traffickers have established themselves in states with legal cannabis markets in order to grow product for illegal sale. However, they fail to back up that claim with hard numbers of arrests.

“Since the legalization of personal-use marijuana, there has been an influx of not only individuals, but organized groups of individuals who have relocated to Colorado for the sole purpose of producing marijuana to transport and sell in other markets,” the report states.

The report indicates that the total weight of cannabis seized from drug trafficking operations along the Southwest Border of the U.S. has declined 23.6 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Nevertheless, the report shows that the number of cannabis overdose deaths remains zero, while heroin overdoses have outnumbered gun deaths for the first time in history.

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