Since 2012, 19 states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for adults over the age of 21. In total, 38 states and DC have legalized medical marijuana — meaning that a majority of Americans have access to cannabis, whether medically or recreationally. There are just 12 states in the country left that outlaw cannabis entirely — and even they are fading fast.
Currently, 144 million Americans live in states where recreational marijuana is legal and decriminalization measures are currently sweeping through all the other states where it is not. The war on weed is crumbling and the drug warriors who’ve ruined an untold number of lives over this plant are quickly finding themselves on the wrong side of history.
Despite the prohibition wall collapsing and legal cannabis winning the drug war, there are still police state-addicted tyrants holding strong while attempting to maintain their relevancy through enforcement. The US Drug Enforcement Administration is full of these tyrants and their latest numbers prove just how bad their addiction to the drug war is.
In the last two years, one would think that cannabis plant seizures and arrests related to marijuana would go down thanks to widespread legalization. Unfortunately, however, one would be wrong. The DEA is still carrying out its Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program with a vengeance.
Federal law enforcement agents and their partners seized over 5.5 million cultivated marijuana plants and made more than 6,600 marijuana-related arrests in 2021, according to annual data compiled by the DEA.
According to figures published in the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program Statistical Report, agents and their partners confiscated approximately 5.53 million cultivated cannabis plants last year – a 20 percent increase over 2020’s totals. Law enforcement also reported making 6,606 marijuana-related arrests, a 25 percent increase over the prior year’s totals (when agents reported 4,992 arrests),,,,, for a plant.
These numbers are record-breaking and are the highest since 2011 — before any states had legal weed. Since then, arrests have been going down but in 2021 a surge began once more as police-state worshipping tyrants ramped up their hatred of this amazing plant and the people who choose to grow it.
Commenting on the data, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “At a time when the overwhelming majority of voters support legalization, and when more and more states — and even members of Congress — are moving toward this direction, it is troubling to see federal agents and their local partners reversing course and reinvigorating their marijuana-related enforcement activities.”
NORML’s Political Director Morgan Fox added: “The fact that these interdiction efforts are growing — at great cost to the taxpayer — despite increasing momentum for legalization is a testament to the failure of federal prohibition and unnecessarily burdensome state regulatory policies. Lack of access to banking services and capital, high barriers to entry into legal cannabis markets, and exorbitant tax rates at all levels of government are clearly hampering the ability of licensed cannabis businesses to compete with the unregulated market. The solutions to this situation are beyond obvious at this point, and they don’t involve law enforcement officers putting themselves at risk by dropping out of helicopters or conducting armed raids. It is incumbent on policymakers to pursue evidenced-based, market-oriented, and justice-focused policies to minimize unregulated cannabis activity, and they’ve never had a better opportunity to do so.”
Making these seizures and arrests is big business for the DEA which profits immensely from prohibition. In 2021 alone, feds raked in more than $100 million in seized assets from the prohibition of cannabis.
Disturbingly enough, most of these arrests and asset seizures are taking place in states where weed is legal. The overwhelming majority of these plant seizures and arrests have taken place in California whose seen 86 percent of the seizures and 60 percent of all the arrests.
As California struggles with record opioid overdoses, skyrocketing homelessness, and rampant crime, one would think that arresting people for cannabis would be at the bottom of their list of priorities. Unfortunately, however, it is not and these arrests will only make the aforementioned issues that much worse.
It is no secret that a marijuana conviction is a blow to individual freedom—even if you were lucky enough not to go to jail or have already gotten out. A drug conviction limits the ability of people to get a job, borrow money, or even find a place to live — fueling homelessness, crime, and despair. This attack on freedom also leads to a function known as recidivism which limits an individual’s choices thereby fostering an environment that will lead to that person ending up back in jail.
Unfortunately, however, as these recent numbers illustrate, there are still plenty of dinosaurs in costumes willing to cage people for a plant. So, as we keep winning these small battles, it is important to stay on point—because the war is still far from over.