DEA Would Lose a Lot of Business If Pot Were Legal

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released its annual drug threat assessment on Monday, and they came up with a funny take on marijuana legalization.


They basically said that as more states legalize pot, transnational gangs will make more money.

“TCOs [transnational criminal organizations] and criminal groups will increasingly exploit the opportunities for marijuana cultivation and trafficking created in states that allow ‘medical marijuana’ grows and have legalized marijuana sales and possession,” the report stated.


So these gangs from other countries and continents will actually have an easier time making money from pot in places where it’s perfectly legal for U.S. businesses to grow and sell it. The DEA doesn’t give any supporting evidence in the report, and an email to an administration spokesperson was not immediately returned.

Also, note that the DEA puts medical marijuana in quotes. That’s because in the eyes of the federal government, pot is classified as a drug with no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. Sanjay, can you answer that one?

There’s one stat that isn’t played up in the report. Judging by weight, marijuana makes up the vast majority of the drugs seized by the DEA each year. In 2012, it made up roughly 90 percent of seizures.

That means a lot of DEA employees would have time on their hands if pot suddenly became legal across the country.


Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.

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