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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.

    37 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

    10. Bloody Yank says:

      I’m not surprised because whenever I read about all these tons of pot that get yanked every year … well … it never seems to matter around my way. I can always get ‘it’ just about whenever I want ‘it’. It’s never like, “wow! it’s all gone! where’s all the reefer?!!” –No, no nothing like that … that’s just silly — now get out there Mr. DEA & pull up some more of your tonnage!

    11. Rich says:

      I just see a bunch of hemp wasted. its a crime, they are destroying such a potentially useful cash crop.

      but think of it this way: when it IS finally legalized, we’ll have all these potent strains made through years of cross-breeding, just waiting to repopulate the US!

    12. HEY. I know where all the ditch is at, it is in north west Indiana. Remember World War Two, HEMP FOR VICTORY. It is growing wild and all over farmers fields and ditches. Every year they send people out to destroy the plants and the plants keep are back. What a waste. If the goverment allowed farmers to grow hemp, they would not be going under for loss of income. They would not have to use pesticides or till the weeds and save on fuel and chemicals. One acre of hemp is equal to four acres of trees and look how long it takes to grow a tree. When will this prohibition end. At least Bushism will be out at the end of the year. If the Republicans get in four more years of Bushism and THE NEW WORLD ORDER.

    13. weedtokr says:

      what a fkin joke. give me a break!!! when cannabis is legalized!!! the cops and dea will actually have to work for a living.its easy busting pot smokers!!! but to catch real criminals would require them having to get off of there fat asses and do real police work.stop prohibition now!!! fkin idiots!!

    14. longhair says:

      at least it keeps ‘em busy…and feeling acomplished…”I realy do make a differance!”

    15. dimebag420 says:

      In response to Buggsy’s comment, that is the exact reason why it is illegal! Just think of all the HUGE timber company’s that help fund political parties every year. Where would they be if a small town farmer could duplicate their waste of mother nature in an eco-friendly way on a few acres as opposed to raping miles of virgin forest. They would all go bankrupt! Also think of all the cotton farmers, textile corp., and plastic manufactuerers that would lose money on their high end products that cost so much to make.Not to mention the Huge Drug companies and Oil companies.GREED keeps our beloved plant illegal.So stay pure, smoke above the influence and plant the land!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    16. Jon says:

      Haha this is interesting. Everybody who does consume fair amounts of marijuana knows that this “ditchweed” is another term for “weed nobody wants to buy” hahaha. haha the DEA are such funny animals. I find it very sad however that our ‘free’ government still refuses to stop prohibition. Millions if not billions of jobs could be created harvesting, tending to plants, and making marijuana cigarettes. Not only that but we could use to make shoes out of hemp, clothes, even alternative sources of fuel!!! I am the ONLY person who realizes this?? WAKE THE F UP WASHINGTON AND STOP WASTING MY SHITTY PAY ON SOMETHING AS REDICULOUS AS PUTTING A FATHER OR SON IN JAIL BECAUSE HE WAS AT HOME ON HIS COUCH (NOT HURTING ANYBODY) WATCHING TV WHILE SMOKING A JOINT. GET WITH THE PROGRAM DAMMIT.

    17. Jordan says:

      Legalize it now, so I can laugh at all of the idiots who think they are doing good, by killing an extremely vital and valuable plant that has many uses and benefits. This waste of taxpayer dollars is an outrage, and these real criminals the police and the dea need to be stopped. Its all about the money, they dont care about peoples health, if they did, everything, like cigarettes and alcohol would be illegal. Its all about the money, as one commenter said, greed and corruption. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE REALIZED THIS PIGS AND IT WILL NOT STAND. REVOLT MARIJUANA PROHIBITION FOR OUR FREEDOM RIGHTS AND FOR OUR CHILDRENS AND THEIR CHILDREN, who could be greatly benefitting from this extremely useful and amazing plant. GENESIS 1:11-13;29-31.READ IT LEST YOU FIGHT AGAINST GOD!!

    18. kijonka says:

      the real reason is not what you all think.its much simpler they cant stop you from growing your own thus taking money from there pockets and why give up all the money that you me and the rest of “normal”americans spend each year fines,prison sentences,funding,rehab.would you

    19. Ganjika says:

      This is an addition to Jon’s post. Not only could many jobs be created harvesting, tending, and making clothes out of hemp… Think of ALL the possibilities if it were legal. Coffee shops, paraphernalia, food with THC in it. With a federal debt over $3 trillion why isn’t the government taking steps to pay it off. You could even tax the plant. For shame.

    20. BugBoy420 says:

      America, “Land of the Free!?” LOLOLOLoLOLOLOL…. I think I have some dandylions in my back yard that get me higher than hemp lololololol…. Mccain is such a joke, Palin even more! lolololol….. At least Obama is smart enough to tell the difference between spending billions on pulling weeds, arresting freedom loving americans, and spending billions on renewable energy, and helping americans have health insurance… At least I hope soo lolololol…. They would rather demolish an entire rainforest, or a beautiful pine forest for paper, just so the stubborn, brainwashed, corupted, gov’t officials can say there right…. I don’t know whats gona happen to america if another Conservative Republican becomes president, I”m scared to death tell you the truth…… If they can’t tell the difference between a safe plant and black tar heroin, well then, we have more problems than I can even try to think of….. “God Bless the Real America,” its been disappering quickly and like PALIN SAID “One day we’ll be looking back and telling our grandkids about a free country called America that existed back in the days.” I totally agree with you Palin, keep believing that bush is a great guy, keep believing that conservative republicans who wreck havoc on free america are doing the right thing…. You are gona have a lot of grandkids to tell your story too!!!

    21. Busman842 says:

      In response to weedtokr, dimebag420-

      First of all to weedtokr – preach it brother! this is all a farce until we see “real change”

      dimebag420 – you hit the nail on the head – GREED.
      Here’s why:
      Paper pulp from wood:
      can only be recycled 4 times
      takes 5-500 years to grow.
      Paper pulp from hemp:
      Can be recycled 7 times
      takes 100 days to grow

      Oil concentrates from hemp:
      Can make a standard (diesel) VW engine get 80mpg with comparable acceleration rates, and a mere fraction of 1% of the emissions of the current gas-burning water cooled engines most commonly used today.

      So why is hemp illegal?
      #1) FEAR
      #2) GREED
      #3) CORRUPTION
      (maybe not in that order)

      But really, we cannot believe anyhting on this is even being considered toward complete leagalization and regulation until we eliminate the fear, greed, and corruption in our Imperialistic, Totolitarian, and Fascist government.

    22. harry says:

      piggies cant find my plants

    23. [...] not even that total could get someone high. The war on ditchweed continues today, but the DEA has stopped its embarrassing habit of disclosing the total amount of useless plants it [...]

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    25. Robin Salmansohn says:

      I used to live an a little town in IA. Going back years ago, during WWII, the U.S. gov’t required farmers to grow hemp for the navy. Leftover hemp is weed, (I don’t mean MJ as ‘weed’) and grows all over the place. I have seen hundreds of plants growing next to the track field. Sometimes people would gather it and walk home with shopping bags full of it, and smoke it. The problem is that dogs like to pee on plants.

    26. […] 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 […]

    27. […] 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 […]

    28. […] 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 […]

    29. […] 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 […]

    30. […] 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 […]

    31. […] 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 […]

    32. […] millions of feral hemp plants which are   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 […]

    33. […] 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 […]

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