Every year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration conducts a survey of the country’s law enforcement departments to determine which drugs are of top concern in local communities. What they found in 2016 was that heroin was far and away the drug that created the greatest worry. Marijuana, meanwhile, was generally of negligible concern. Less than 5 percent of all police agencies indicated cannabis was their biggest concern, which was down 1 percent from 2015.
Marijuana remains illegal for all reasons per federal law, which the DEA staunchly defended over the summer. The agency spent a full 22 pages of its Drug Threat Assessment report on marijuana. Compare this to the 16 pages it spent going over the risk of prescription painkillers, which claims 14,000 lives annually. Many of the pages on marijuana wove through the state-level differences in law for medicinal and recreational pot, as well as some of the legalization trends of the U.S. For anyone who has been following the changing landscape of marijuana laws in California, none of this is really new information.
However, one of the more interesting claims made by the DEA in that report is that media attention on marijuana-related issues has made it tougher to enforce existing marijuana laws and to prosecute those who violate these statutes. The agency also seems to be blaming “the media” for providing the public with information that is not accurate on the effects and legality of using marijuana. Continue reading