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Marijuana: In Annual Harvest Roundup, 98% of All Marijuana Seizures Are Ditchweed

Submitted by Phillip Smith on
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

The fact may get lost in the hype about multi-million dollar outdoor marijuana garden seizures at this time of year, but the vast majority of all marijuana plants seized by law enforcement are ditchweed. For those who didn't grow up in the Midwest, ditchweed is feral marijuana descended from the hemp plants farmers produced as part of the war effort in World War II.

National Guard marijuana (or more likely ditchweed) eradication team, Dodge County, Minnesota
Like the hemp plants whence it came, ditchweed has negligible levels of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. An old saying in the Midwest is that you could smoke a joint of it the size of a telephone pole and all you would get is a headache.

According to official DEA figures, police seized an estimated 223 million marijuana plants last year. But 219 million of them, or 98%, were ditchweed. That figure is in line with previous years. And a whopping 212 million plants came from Indiana alone. Missouri came in second with 4.5 million plants, Kansas third with 1.1 million, and Wisconsin fourth with 272,000. Most states reported no ditchweed seizures.

The DEA pays for the ditchweed eradication boondoggle, something for which National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws executive director criticized it in a statement noting the annual seizure figures. "The irony, of course, is that industrial hemp is grown legally throughout most of the Western world as a commercial crop for its fiber content," he said. "Yet the US government is spending taxpayers' money to target and eradicate this same agricultural commodity."

Your tax dollars at work.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

These people (every ****ing one of them!) should be SMOKING the crap they are supposedly harvesting. Our government (what a laugh!) is screwed up with people like this and costing us (wasting) HUGE amounts of money! They are CRAZY and I think they all smoke the POT they THINK they are harvesting!

Thanks for the UTTER WASTE of our tax dollars!

Fri, 09/08/2006 - 11:29am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Man, anyone who even almost believes the war on drugs is a good thing should see this. If only our movement could get the whole country to read and truly absorb the concept of our broke ass country spending money as if there is no limit, only to 'eradicate and save us from' the same stuff they encouraged us to grow 2 generations ago! They were pushing hemp production back then like they pushed the metric system to us 3rd graders back in the mid seventies. It will NEVER, EVER end until we do exactly what we are doing now, but in a broader scale. Bring all this stuff to the spotlight, and let all the voters who are on the fence about legalization see how ginormously wastefull prohibition is!! If nothing else, just from an economic perspective! Keep up the good fight everyone. Victory in November to Colorado AND to Nevada. Peace!

Fri, 09/08/2006 - 2:19pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Many people choose to utilize this God given plant in many ways, from food to textiles and will, until the end of time.

The only way to make this happen and make drugs readily available to those who are sick and dying and keep them out of the reach of children, is to Legalize and Regulate ALL drugs TODAY!

Drop by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition at and find out more...

Alison Myrden
Leading Female Speaker in Canada for LEAP -
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Federal Medical Marijuana Exemptee in Canada
The Medical Marijuana Mission

Sat, 09/09/2006 - 1:17pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I take a little license with Jack Herer's book on Hemp for my title. Having worked as an undercover drug officer, notice I don't refer to it as "narcotics" because that is very small percentage of what they do; I appreciate the fact that I have been able to see this from all sides. Having used marijuana on a limited basis in high school and College, and always being terrified of arrest/mental/health consequences that were propagandized into your head, I moved on to the next step- Law Enforcement. You’re trained to believe that drugs, and those who use them, are the enemy of society. As I continued into the undercover world you are trained to overcome people’s rights to get to the ultimate goal of eliminating drugs. As I heard the statements of people, like some of the previous comments, that were vulgar and demeaning toward general law enforcement, it only made me more resolute in my actions. I then came to and understanding as I saw that we were busting dealers that were users trying to keep themselves in their habit, we were not making a difference. I saw first hand, and started to educate myself on what a terrible disease addiction is. So, I started to look at those who’s greed drove the sale of drugs, I then realized it wasn’t just the dealers, but also the drug warriors. This especially came to light when the yearly Marijuana elimination drive came up. The helicopters, manpower, and all the other resources that could be doing good, what a waste. Oh sure, most of all the plants we pulled were transplanted by someone who took time to grow the seedlings and plant them there, but you know how it works- one plot for the cops, one for the thieves, one for you. If we found the plants before the helicopter fly-overs we were supposed to wait until the fly date to boost the numbers of plants that the program seized (you get more money if you can show more of a problem). I continued to expand my knowledge of what a wonderful plant this was and got out of the drug game. I can say that there are a lot of officers that have been disillusioned like me, so maybe the money wasn’t a waste, but it sure is an expensive way to teach people. Maybe instead of calling people names, being derisive, and insulting those who do make a difference and help people, we can work to educate people in a positive way. I try everyday.

Mon, 09/11/2006 - 2:15pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Dear anonimous ex-DEA-cop, I agree with you, we have and we must "talk things positively" n´all, that´s all we want, because, as you say, people only have "to look" and they´ll understand, but come on, this news particularly talks about a war on hemp, it shows clearly that it´s not a war on drugs only, with all it´s lies, but a very, very clear COMERCIAL WAR, be "recreational", "medicinal", or "industrial" substance, for the monopoly of, and mantainance of, of all the quimical and sintetic substitutes "on the market". And not just Hemp or Cannabis, but all the plants. Let´s stop talking about "why this and why that", on specifics points of this "War", althought yes we have to show and show every more so to the "unsuspected citizen" the obslolet negativity of it (for us, human race, and the planet), but more so to the "WHY" this is like this...and this is like this, because there´s an Industrial monopoly lobby, from cotton and sintetic fibers to farmacs, from oils and energy powers to papper and wood and quimical industries, who fully understand the power of Hemp as a resource as other matters equally ilegal, or controlled by themselves, and that this lobby spends money, resources and energy "at all costs" to keep things the way they are.It´s market.
Yes, we have to behave positive, but the hipocrisy we endure for so long, and having felted the worst of the repression and not by the side of the opressor you mind, I can understand very well why people stay angry when they see "first hand" theyr tax money being "thrown away" in order to keep "private or coorporative interests" well. So, forgive me if I can´t understand how that money can be well spent, and how that makes any difference, even if in order to open a few cops eyes to the truth, specially if they remain anonimous on that...
It´s shameless to see trained peace keeping officcers doing the dirty job, getting theyr hands literaly on the dirt, pulling plants out of the ground, for the "big bosses" of high industries. If I were religious, I would say something like: "they doing the devil´s work".

Stop the hipocrisy, first of all.

Thu, 09/14/2006 - 12:55pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The word freedom is defined as:
1.exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
2.personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery
3.the right to frequent, enjoy, or use at will

It seems to me, that our country that seems hell-bound on promoting "freedom" in worlds far away, can't even grasp the concept and implement it in our own society. Lets look at the facts-

Marijuana prohibition was implemented in 1937 through the creation of the federal bureau of narcotics by Harry Aslinger. With the help of William Randolph Hearst (who coincidentally invested his entire life savings into the timber industry), they were able to confuse congress and the American people, and make a plant that had been used for centuries upon centuries to suddenly be deemed as evil. Since Hearst had a huge interest in the timber industry, he was strongly against the cropping of marijuana (hemp), which at the time was one of the largest sources of plant fiber, rope, cloth, and paper-- and this is where the seeds were planted.

Over the years, the Federal Government has launched an absurd assault on this harmless plant because there are no large companies to pay congressmen and lobby for legalization of marijuana. On the other hand, alcohol, tobacco, and some of the worst prescription drugs continue to be used and PROMOTED to the general public, not because they are beneficial to us, but because the companies that sell these products donate BILLIONS of dollars every year to keep them legal.

If the government realized that by legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana, they could make billions every year instead of wasting billions on a never-ending war (and I'm not talking about the war on terror), America could once again claim to be a symbol of freedom in this FUC%ed up world that we currently live in. I strongly urge anyone reading this to get involved, make public displays, and most importantly TELL YOUR CONGRESSMEN that you are sick of them arresting small-time users of an otherwise harmless plant, and we will not stand for it any longer!!

Thank you for reading, and I hope that I have inspired at least one other person to be proactive about one of the great American injustices.

Nik, Austin, TX

Mon, 09/11/2006 - 10:09pm Permalink

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