Data Suggests Marijuana Legalization Reduced DEA Eradication Costs...Newly released data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) appears to show that legalizing marijuana does what advocates have long promised: It reduces the unregulated cannabis market and cuts law enforcement costs.
The DEA allocated exactly zero dollars and zero cents for marijuana eradication in Colorado for Fiscal Year 2016, which is down from the agency’s $80,000 budget line item for the state during Fiscal Year 2014. That’s according to documents released this month in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from journalist Drew Atkins. Colorado voters enacted a marijuana legalization measure in November 2012, and legal sales went into effect in the state on January 1, 2014
While Washington State voted to legalize cannabis on the same day in 2012, legal sales there didn’t start until July 2014. But DEA marijuana eradication spending is already down in that state, too, according to the new data. The federal agency spent $1,050,000 chopping down marijuana plants in 2014 and $950,000 the next year. But for the current fiscal year, only $760,000 is allocated in the budget.
In Oregon, where voters approved legalization in November 2014 and legal sales began about a year later, DEA anti-marijuana spending is down from $1,000,000 in FY2014 to just $200,000 in FY2016. DEA allocated nothing for marijuana eradication for any of the past three fiscal years in Alaska, which also voted to legalize in 2014.
While the state reductions can’t be directly attributed to the end of cannabis prohibition — some non-legal states have dipped too, while others have increased — the data undermines a common talking point from opponents of legalization who argue that the new laws actually make it easier for drug cartels and gangs to set up shop and undercut the regulated and taxed legal market.
If that were true, one would expect to see federal agencies putting even more emphasis into those states. But the new data shows that in every state that has so far implemented a legal market for marijuana, DEA spending on cannabis eradication is down.
DEA HAS DENIED TWO PETITIONS TO RECLASSIFY MARIJUANA AS A LESS DANGEROUS DRUG. REMAINS A SCEDULE ONE DRUG
This year, voters in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada will get a chance to legalize marijuana via questions on their November ballots.The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has denied two petitions to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug.
Marijuana will remain a schedule one, the most restrictive category under federal drug control laws. Heroin and LSD are also considered Schedule I drugs.
Schedule II drugs include Ritalin, Adderal and oxycodone.
Federal Reclassification of Marijuana Could Have Major Impact on Medical Uses
"Marijuana remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance because it does not meet the criteria for currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, there is a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision, and it has a high potential for abuse," the DEA said today.
When the DEA announced its review in April, the American Medical Association told ABC News that the group supported the review "to help facilitate scientific research and the development of cannabinoid-based medicines."american-medical-association-concludes
But the DEA has ruled that more research needs to be done to determine the medical effectiveness of marijuana and the agency has loosened the regulations on marijuana research. The DEA plans to increase the number of DEA-registered marijuana growers to "provide researchers with a more varied and robust supply of marijuana."
One petition was submitted in 2011 by former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire; the other was submitted in 2009 by Bryan Krumm, a psychiatric nurse practitioner in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who helped write New Mexico’s medical cannabis law.
Krumm told ABC News he was disappointed by the DEA's decision and intends to appeal. He said he has more than 1,000 patients in a medical cannabis program that use the drug for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Krumm noted that medical cannabis has "life-saving benefits" and it’s the “only mediation that’s able to rapidly reduce suicidal thinking in most PTSD patients." It can also help individuals undergoing cancer treatmentKrumm noted that medical cannabis has "life-saving benefits" and it’s the “only mediation that’s able to rapidly reduce suicidal thinking in most PTSD patients." It can also help individuals undergoing cancer treatments, he added.
“There have been very few reports of significant adverse effects associated with medical cannabis," he said.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement: “I am disappointed that we don’t have a national standard for at least medical marijuana. Regardless, following the will of Washington state voters, we will continue to maintain a well-regulated adult-use marijuana system and continue to allow patients to have access for necessary medicinal purposes."
"I appreciate the DEA’s focus on youth prevention and for allowing more testing centers which will provide more medical research for more informed national policy decisions," Inslee said. "As states continue to legalize medical and recreational marijuana across the country, there is more that the federal government must to do to provide states with legal certainty and empower the operation of safe systems across the country.”
special thanks to all in marijuana reform.