Last week, DRCNet reported on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/194.html#ditchweed), which appears primarily devoted to wiping out feral cannabis, or "ditchweed," descended from the "Hemp for Victory" program of World War II. Because the DEA was slow to respond to DRCNet requests for current information, we were unable to provide accurate recent figures.
The DEA has now responded. DEA figures confirm that the vast majority of cannabis plants destroyed by the eradication campaign are ditchweed, feral cannabis plants that do not contain enough THC to provide any psychoactive effects other than a headache.
According to the DEA, the eradication program destroyed 252, 717,000 cannabis plants in 2000. Of those, 250 million were ditchweed, 2.5 million were cultivated outdoor plants, and 717,000 were indoor cultivated plants. In other words, DEA's own data show that 98.92% of all cannabis plants destroyed under the program were harmless weeds whose destruction has absolutely no impact on drug use in the United States.
This year's program is funded at $13.2 million dollars, the DEA told DRCNet, with grants to state and local agencies ranging from $5,000 to over one million dollars per agency. The grants go to some 106 law enforcement agencies in all 50 states.
Surprisingly, the DEA also claimed to "have evidence that sample "ditchweed" plants submitted from each state contain THC in excess of the levels accepted for "getting high."
That was news to cannabis expert Chris Conrad (http://www.chrisconrad.com). "I don't know what their 'levels accepted for getting high' are," Conrad told DRCNet, "but I would place it at something above 2% THC concentration. Mexican brick weed averages about 3%, and according to the study done by the American Midland Naturalists in the mid-1970s, ditchweed averaged around 0.5%."
Readers should not be surprised, however, that the DEA claims that ditchweed can get you high. This is, after all, the same agency that has expressed serious concerns about people getting THC in their bodies from hemp-based lip balms and other body care products.