The DEA is Not Only Seizing Less Cannabis, They’re Asking to Increase Their Legal Grow 3x for Medical ResearchRebecca KelleyApril 10, 2015
The Drug Enforcement Administration is seizing less cannabis year over year, according to its own records. In 2009 the agency confiscated and destroyed 10.4 million cannabis plants, whereas in 2013 the numbers fell to 4.4 million and last year the DEA seized 4.3 million. The steady decline can be attributed to fewer funds being made available for enforcement, partly due to the economic recession and partly because both the public and the government's stance on cannabis has softened considerably over the years (the former moreso than the latter, but hey, a step forward is still some semblance of progress).
With more states looking to legalize in the next few years, as well as less funding being generated from local and state police asset seizures (which helped fund the DEA's efforts), the downward trend should continue. Meanwhile, the DEA is shifting from the ones doing the confiscating to the ones doing the growing — the administration has proposed to increase the amount of cannabis it's legally allowed to produce by more than 300% in order to meet the demands of researchers who are studying the potential medical benefits the plant has to offer.
If it sounds weird that the DEA is simultaneously seizing cannabis grows and growing their own plants for research purposes, well, it is. But hopefully we'll continue to see the DEA shift its focus to regulating the legal market and focusing their efforts on illegal grows and activity that damages the positive progress the industry is making. Besides, we do need more cannabis research to help propel the industry forward, so if the DEA can make it happen, the administration is actually doing something positive for the cannabis community.