To underscore the absurd amount of money the DEA spends annually on eradicating pot plants, the Washington Post looked at a series of federal documents that revealed what can only be described as an obscene waste of taxpayers’ money.
The documents, obtained by journalist Drew Atkins through the Freedom of Information Act, showed for example that Utah received $73,000 for marijuana eradication. For that hefty sum, DEA agents did not find a single pot plant.
In New Hampshire, where the DEA received $20,000, they pulled up a grand total of 27 plants in a single outdoor grow site. According to their own Cannabis Eradication Report—a blatant admission of misspending and a must-read during this election year—that comes to $740.74 for each uprooted plant.
While we have our calculators out, consider that the DEA spends about $18 million a year on weeding, which comes to an average of $4.20 per plant that it successfully uprooted. In some states, the amount approaches $60 per uprooted plant.
How do these pot plant hunters actually function? Members of cannabis eradication teams criss-cross the countryside in helicopters with the latest in military equipment looking for weed grow-sites.
And, they take their mission very seriously.
That is, when they’re not getting overzealous and misidentifying okra for pot in a retiree’s garden in Georgia. Or in Utah, reporting “rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana” wandering around stoned in the state’s forests.
The DEA’s cannabis eradicators’ stated purpose of stopping “the spread of cannabis cultivation in the United States,” seems out of step with current events—legalization of medical and recreational pot in over half the country.
This, of course begs the question: Couldn’t these human and financial resources be used more effectively elsewhere? Let’s ask this November when we vote.