DEA: Marijuana Plant Seizures Decline to Lowest Levels in Nearly a Decade

DEA seizures of indoor and outdoor cannabis crops declined dramatically from 2011 to 2012 and are now at their lowest reported levels in nearly a decade, according to statistics released online by the federal anti-drug agency.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2012 Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Statistical Report, the total number of cannabis plants eradicated nationwide fell 42 percent between 2011 and 2012. This continues a trend, as DEA crop seizures previously fell 35 percent nationwide from 2010 to 2011.

In 2010, the DEA eliminated some 10.3 million cultivated pot plants. (This figure excludes the inclusion of feral hemp plants, tens of millions of which are also typically seized and destroyed by DEA agents annually, but are no longer categorized in their reporting.) By 2011, this total had dipped to 6.7 million. For 2012, the most recent year for which DEA data is available, the total fell to 3.9 million — the lowest annual tally in nearly a decade.

The declining national figures are largely a result of reduced plant seizures in California. Coinciding largely with the downsizing of, and then ultimately the disbanding of, the state’s nearly 30-year-old Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program, DEA-assisted marijuana seizures in the Golden State have fallen 73 percent since 2010 — from a near-record 7.4 million cultivated pot plants eradicated in 2010 to approximately 2 million in 2012. DEA-assisted cannabis eradication efforts have remained largely unchanged in other leading grow states during this same period.

The DEA’s 2012 Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Statistical Report is available online here.

15 thoughts

  1. The money is better spent on the eradication of giant hogweed and poison hemlock, two Unwanted Invasive Species, especially the former: public service information ads how to identify, tell the difference, how to handle or not, spraying and eradication. Very few people give a shit about cannabis eradication these days when it comes down to getting rid of plants. You can add kudzu and mile-a-minute weed to the list.

    De-fund the DEA’s cannabis eradication programs, and redirect the money to getting rid of giant hogweed, poison hemlock, kudzu and mile-a-minute weed.

  2. Baby steps to the end of prohibition of marijuana is the best we can expect….do your part and send letters to your state representatives

  3. What is other leadeing grow state,s? As out side growing.? In side growing is nation wide. They blew all our money in Calf. What I get out of this.

  4. After funneling billions of our tax dollars to the DEA over the years, thankfully, their organization has proven to be a complete failure. There are millions more Americans using marijuana now than when the DEA was created. Their lies and propaganda have been exposed.

    It is time to either get rid of the DEA altogether, or to give them a new mission. I suggest giving them a mission that actually helps people instead of hurting them.

  5. The only thing that can get things done is money and votes. Most of us have voting rights, some have money. If ya have some money to spare – contribute to Normal or a like organization and/or email this message to your elected officials and stand firm. Also send to like minded friends and family:

    I can no longer support elected officials or organizations that support current prohibition laws. I have decided not to vote for any politician that does not publicly support the removal of all penalties for the private possession and endorse responsible use of marijuana by adults, including cultivation for personal use, and casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts.
    20 million arrested is 20 million reasons why.
    The problem is the law – not the plant.

  6. @Sam
    The hemp plants are all that the government paid by petrochemical industries ever cared about eradicating in the first place. Can’t have a wild supply of renewable oil and cellulose resource from a weed that doesn’t require much fertilizer, water or pesticides when you want to keep the price of petroluem-based products at a controlled high…

  7. I’ve heard that poison hemlock grows wild here in south east Idaho. Yet I don’t see law enforcement breaking down anyone’s door for growing a very dangerous plant.

  8. There is a connection between the reduction in profit motivation to restrict supplies of feral hemp and the decreased supply of water west of the Mississippi. When will hemp replace corn for cellulose ethanol supplies?
    We have to keep up the pressure to legalize our right to domestically grow both marijuana and industrial hemp. I wouldn’t settle for less than an acre of hemp per household. At the “root” of our marijuana prohibition resistance we are fighting for self-sustainability, for our health, and ultimately the health of our planet.
    Here in Texas as I have posted with the NORML blog before, Medina Lake has gone dry. Beautiful multi million-dollar homes overlooking what used to be Lake Travis look like someone parked a city next to a toilet bowl.
    Marijuana will legalize in the great state of Texas because hemp uses less water than corn. In 25 years there will not be enough sustainable water in an area from Texas to Kansas to continue to grow viable corn crops. While cellulose ethanol has artificially inflated the cost of corn food products, no farmer makes money when the entire crop turns brown. Drought interrupted by occassional flooding is our new climate on the west side of the bread basket of the Mississipi river. That means shorter, less profitable growing seasons. That means the corn belt from Iowa to Louisiana will have to keep up with rising corn and soy demands from China by themselves while the rising price of corn syrup will put Hostess out of business (again). And here’s the real ringer for marijuana reform: when drought gets really bad, ethanol plants shut down. Talk about an “unintended consequence of the drug war,” Mr. President!
    That reminds me of the story of the little dog that loses his steak in the river because he barked at his own reflection while crossing the bridge–
    Except in the real life greedy story of corn and petroluem we run out of water, the river runs dry, there’s not enough corn to feed the cow so the dog is fighting for bones, and when the dog tries to plant some hemp to save his greedy, thirsty human owners from themselves he gets slapped in the pound by the Dog Enforcement Agency. (Close enough to how it really works, anyway… I’d like to put THAT in a little Golden Book and read it to my kids… if the Happy ending and moral of the story were “…And then the good people at NORML and the DPA fixed the bad laws so people grew hemp, the river came back, and we never prohibited hemp and marijuana again…)
    My little Golden Book allusion brings up a good point: Marijuana prohibition uses food (corn)to artificially inflate and stabalize the price of petroleum based products (like plastic cups, plates, bags, upholstery and ethanol). In a legal commercial marijuana and industrial hemp agriculture –with less water– we need to have zoning restrictions. Reserve prime farm lands next to rivers for food and strictly commerical use for medicine. Residential use must be limited to no less than 6-7 plants of marijuana per adult and 1 acre of hemp per household. Industrial use for cellulose ethanol and plastics must be zoned in more arid soils outside of prime farm lands. We need to farm smarter. We need “disposable” products like plates, bags and cups to be made of renewable resources.
    Bottom-weed line for Texas and the planet:
    Hemp uses less water than corn.
    Hemp requires no fertilizer.
    Hemp requires no pesticides.
    Hemp is made of %80 cellulose.
    Hemp MUST replace corn for cellulose ethanol,
    or water supplies will destroy Texas corn
    supplies in less than 1 generation.
    Let’s tell THAT to our agricultural commisioner.

    Cellulose ethanol production and cellulose plastics have had more profit motivation for the petrochemical industries to eradicate hemp than any other private industry combined; even pharmacueticals. So pervasive is the fear of this wild supply of cheap cellulose that as Sam pointed out earlier in this thread, the majority of these eradications pertain to feral hemp plants, not the most productive strains.
    In an epic display of hypocrisy, some of the better strains of cannabis are found in a government laboratory in the University of Mississippi where our tax dollars have been funding restricted experimentation for the last 40 years of the drug war. That opens the debate over whether the government should be allowed to own the patent on a natural, non genetically modified plant at all, or whether we have a constitutional right to publically own natural plants to sustain our own fuel, food, medicine and building products.
    So who has been funding the DEA’s lobbying efforts for eradication? (That was a direct question to NORML). I’m theorizing with profit logic here, but it would not be the least bit surprising to find a paper trail between the American Chemistry Council and the DEA. The ACC, backed by Exxon-Mobile, Chevron, et all, has an unwritten mission statement to ensure that American plastics and polymers are made only of petrochemically modified crude oil; petroleum based products; NOT cellulose based products made from renewable hemp.
    The question is if the ACC can no longer control the supply of hemp, can they control the supply of water? Here in Texas, we don’t need a lawyer for mineral rights to tell us the fracking industry for oil shale in the Eagle Ford is getting what’s left of our water. It’s no small coincidence that through every drought Medina lake in the south goes dry first. Then despite all the water restrictions in the Hill Country, Canyon Lake and Lake Travis steadily decline. It’s not even safe to swim anymore with deadly parasites invading stagnant waters. (Of course, one could argue it’s not safe to swim in man-made lakes to begin with so many drunks dying waist-deep in the clay every year– perhaps another commercial opportunity for the MPP to promote marijuana safety over alcohol). I can’t even imagine how bad it must be down in the valley where some “colonias” near the border still truck their water in.
    The recent allied lobbying efforts of NORML and the Drug Policy Alliance here in Austin deserve a great round of applause for getting into the heart of the petroleum motivated politics of prohibition. What great and tragic irony that after years of allowing petrochemical industries to drag us into wars for oil in waterless lands or to control the supply of cannabis for profit that we would find ourselves on the precipice of fighting over water in our own heartlands.
    I was on a local San Antonio talk show called “The Source” a month ago on NPR that talked about dwindling corn supplies in the State of Texas in a future with less water. Without even attacking the fracking industry, all I emphasized to the Ag. commissioner and the guest panel was “hemp is useful for food, medicine, fuel and building materials– and we should all visit and write our Senators because HEMP uses LESS WATER than CORN.” The immediate response from the moderator was, “Are you saying we should replace hemp with corn for food?”
    I replied, “While hemp is certainly nutritious and might help feed pigs and cattle as they’ve done successfully in Washington, I believe the major use we’re missing here is replacing corn with hemp for cellulose ethanol supplies…”
    The Ag. Commissioner agreed,” Hemp does contain a lot of fiber and cellulose. Hemp may not work to replace Texas commodities such as cotton as the hemp fabric is thicker and itchier and better suited to coats instead of t-shirts; However I like the idea of using hemp for cellulose ethanol… I think there’s a great deal of potential there, especially in respect to water conservation.”
    The last word went to some guy on the panel that was itching worse than a hemp sweater in Texas July to get a word in edge-wise, “Cellulose ethanol made from corn is artificially driving up the cost of food and is unsustainable. We have GOT to find another alternative soon or corn will no longer be a viable crop in the State of Texas.”

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