Data recently released by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency shows that federal law enforcement agents and their state and local partners seized more than 4.5 million marijuana plants in 2020, a figure that is up nearly 20% over 2019. The annual DEA report also shows that federal law enforcement officers made nearly 5,000 cannabis-related arrests in 2020, a year wracked by the social and economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the data published in the DEA’s yearly Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program Statistical Report, approximately 4.54 million cannabis plants were seized and eradicated in 2020, up from about 4 million plants in 2019. The totals include more than 3.7 million cannabis plants seized from 4,151 outdoor grow sites and more than 830,000 plants confiscated from 1,286 indoor cultivation operations.
“In 2020, the DEA continued its nationwide cannabis eradication efforts, providing resources to support the 127 state and local law enforcement agencies that actively participate in the program,” the agency wrote on its website. “This assistance allows the enhancement of already aggressive eradication enforcement activities throughout the nation.”
The data in the DEA report also showed that nearly 5,000 arrests for federal marijuana-related offenses were made by law enforcement officers in 2020. That figure is up slightly over 2019 when 4,718 arrests for federal marijuana crimes were made by agents.
California saw the largest percentage of both arrests and confiscated cannabis plants in the country, a trend that continues from previous years. In 2020, approximately 82% of the seized cannabis plants and 40% of the marijuana-related arrests nationwide occurred in California. Nationwide, agents seized more than $41 million in assets related to the DEA’s marijuana eradication efforts in 2020.