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So Where Did All The Ditchweed Go?

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 5, 2008

    Who among us doesn’t like to brag after a job well done? It’s human nature, right?

    I mean, even the DEA enjoys boasting about their so-called ‘accomplishments.’ They even have their own (taxpayer funded) museum.

    Given this fact, it’s both curious and notable that the DEA has suddenly ceased publicizing data regarding how many millions of feral hemp plants (aka ‘ditchweed’) law enforcement eradicate each year.

    In previous years, upwards of 98 percent of all the pot seized by law enforcement was categorized as ‘ditchweed’ — a term the DEA uses to define “wild, scattered marijuana plants [with] no evidence of planting, fertilizing, or tending.”

    For instance, in 2005 the DEA reported that cops destroyed some 219 million feral hemp plants versus only four million cultivated marijuana plants. DEA data for the year 2004 tells a similar story. Of the estimated 265 million marijuana plants destroyed by law enforcement that year, more than 262 million (roughly 99 percent) were classified as ‘ditchweed.’ In 2006, roughly 84 million plants seized by law enforcement (and more than 94 percent of all the marijuana eradicated) were ‘ditchweed.’

    So, how much ditchweed did police confiscate in 2007? That would be anyone’s guess.

    Upon referencing Table 4.38 (Number of marijuana plants eradicated and seized, arrests made, weapons seized, and value of assets seized under the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, by State, 2007) in the latest version of the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, visitors will discover that the column that previously reported on ‘ditchweed’ seizures (in prior years’ tables, it was seventh column from the left) is now conspicuously missing.

    So why would the DEA abruptly want to cease taking credit for destroying hundreds of millions of pounds of marijuana each year? Perhaps it’s because unlike cultivated marijuana, feral hemp contains virtually no detectable levels of THC — the primary psychoactive component in cannabis — and does not contribute to the black market marijuana trade.

    Or perhaps it’s because the public was finally beginning to smarten up to the fact that they’ve been paying their police millions of dollars each year to do nothing more than pull a few weeds.

    38 Responses to “So Where Did All The Ditchweed Go?”

    1. jordan says:

      waste of tax payers money. this makes me so upset. I wanna know there argument for killing non psychoactive hemp

    2. David says:

      Or perhaps this is because the lower THC lowering the average THC in the crops they sieze, and if they don’t report it, they can say the average is higher than it was in the 70’s. This way, they can continue to use the “Pot is Deadlier than Ever” line to decieve people and waste our money.

    3. Joseph "Ironman" Siler says:

      I would think the reason would be obvious. 265 million plants. They want everyone to think that cultivated cannabis has run amuck, and they need more of our dollars to get control. Budget, budgget, budget. Cannabis has absolutely nothing to do with the war on drugs, it’s just that it is soooo easy to find, and impress the public with how well they are doing their job. Sucks, I know.

    4. pedro says:

      well know they smoked it

    5. Aspenn says:

      I recommend that everyone watch totally baked. The part where the police bust down the old ladies door because she smokes a little herb was great, especially since her neighbors were cooking meth.

    6. Sean Hadock says:

      It never ceases to amaze me how our government tries to cover up its wasteful spending. I wish the government paid me millions to pull up some weeds. Isn’t there a better way to spend our tax dollars? Healthcare, Education, Renewable Energy? We need to go after real criminals who are harming people. I wouldn’t mind spending our tax dollars on that. This is yet another example of how the drug war sucks our economy dry.

      The drug war and the persecution of potsmokers will end one day. Just as the persecution of black people was relieved with the civil rights of 1964. Just as the persecution of women was relieved by the Feminist Movements.
      We need to learn to love one another…..

    7. But then he found that outlawing a plant that grew everywhere and anywhere in the US was a sure way to get increased funding EVERY YEAR for the DEA. This is exactly how the DEA became the behemoth it is today. Every year they suck up more federal budget in their war on plants that not only grow right from the ground, but i’ve come to the conclusion they’ve played an integral role in our own evolution.

      After all, where do you think religions came from? Moses climbed a mountain then conversed with a bush and received god’s ten commandments? You better believe he was high on drugs when he came up with that story.

    8. ps: they probably give it to the handful of people left alive who are still registered with the federal medipot act, even though the government staunchly claims that it has no medicinal value.

      And even though up until it’s federal outlaw in 1937, it was one of the top 3 prescribed medicines from doctors.

    9. rodsmak says:

      thank you DEA . I no longer have to worry about ditchweed cross pollinating with my girls in the garden

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