A budget squeeze is leading the Drug Enforcement Agency to seize less and less pot, according to an article in the Washington Post.
According to the DEA’s own statistics, 4.3 million plants were seized and destroyed last year and 4.4 million were pulled the year before, a sharp decrease from the 10.4 million seized in the year 2009.
Those plants were destroyed for the sake of the law enforcement eradication program, which allocates funds from the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund. That money is distributed to over 128 state law enforcement agencies, and is used to help the agencies locate and destroy both outdoor and indoor grow sites.
Weed eradication teams are always scouting grow sites in helicopters, and can become overzealous in their approach. The Georgia Governor’s task force earned plenty of notoriety last year when they decided to raid the garden of a retiree after they mistook okra for marijuana.
In the year 2014, the DEA have estimated that the program received over $18 million in funds, means every plant that was destroyed cost the taxpayers $4.19, or enough to buy a homeless person a meal, enough to go toward a kid’s book, enough to buy a pouch of tang for a NASA astronaut.
As resources decrease, some states are forced to pare down their marijuana efforts. Flying the helicopters is pricey, and as public opinion makes a radical shift, governments have begun to prioritize their funds to more serious drugs like meth or blow or H or K.
So next time you see a DEA agent, have a little charity and throw them your pocket change if you can spare it.