Despite 144 Million Americans Living in Legal States, DEA Making More Cannabis Arrests Than Ever

Since 2012, 19 states and Washington, DC have legalized marijuana for adults over the age of 21. In total, 38 states and DC have legalized medical marijuana — meaning that a majority of Americans have access to cannabis, whether medically or recreationally. There are just 12 states in the country left who outlaw cannabis entirely — and even they are fading fast.

Currently, 144 million Americans live in states where recreational marijuana is legal and decriminalization measures are currently sweeping through all the other states where it is not. The war on weed is crumbling and the drug warriors who’ve ruined an untold number of lives over this plant are quickly finding themselves on the wrong side of history.

Despite the prohibition wall collapsing and legal cannabis winning the drug war, there are still police state-addicted tyrants holding strong while attempting to maintain their relevancy through enforcement. The US Drug Enforcement Administration is full of these tyrants and their latest numbers prove just how bad their addiction to the drug war is.

In the last two years, one would think that cannabis plant seizures and arrests related to marijuana would go down thanks to widespread legalization. Unfortunately, however, one would be wrong. The DEA is still carrying out their Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program with a vengeance.

Federal law enforcement agents and their partners seized over 5.5 million cultivated marijuana plants and made more than 6,600 marijuana-related arrests in 2021, according to annual data compiled by the DEA.

According to figures published in the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program Statistical Report, agents and their partners confiscated approximately 5.53 million cultivated cannabis plants last year – a 20 percent increase over 2020’s totals. Law enforcement also reported making 6,606 marijuana-related arrests, a 25 percent increase over the prior year’s totals (when agents reported 4,992 arrests) … for a plant.

These numbers are record breaking and are the highest since 2011 — before any states had legal weed. Since then, arrests have been going down, but in 2021 a surge began once more as police-state worshipping tyrants ramped up their hatred of this amazing plant and the people who choose to grow it.

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Step by Step for Liberty: Cannabis Edition

In the early days of the state-level movement to legalize marijuana, we often got opposition from a surprising camp – libertarians.

You would think libertarians would be thrilled with laws rolling back cannabis prohibition, but for many, it wasn’t enough. Skeptical libertarians found a myriad of reasons to oppose legalization efforts, saying they “didn’t go far enough.”

The movement started in the early 1970s and really started to grow with the legalization of medical marijuana in California way back in 1996. Opponents protested, “what about everybody else?”

Some libertarians also opposed medical marijuana on principle, saying people shouldn’t need a state-issued “card” to access cannabis. They’re not wrong theoretically. Asking the government for permission is never desirable. But the fact is virtually all of these people carry a card so they can drive.

As the legalization movement grew and states started allowing recreational marijuana, libertarians often complained about the tax and regulatory schemes attached to cannabis legalization bills and used this as a reason to oppose reforms. Of course, you never heard any of these people arguing that it would be better for alcohol to be illegal rather than heavily taxed and regulated, as it is in most states.

Another common objection was that legalizing marijuana doesn’t help people who have already been convicted of marijuana crimes. Having a criminal record has lifelong consequences and millions of people have to go through life with this legal millstone tied around their necks simply because at some point they possessed or sold a plant. What about these people? Again, they would actively oppose legalization bills on this basis.

But think about the implied logic. We’re going to allow more people to get caught in this legal web because this bill doesn’t address the needs of people already caught in this legal web. Sounds self-defeating, doesn’t it?

In reality, all of these are legitimate concerns. These libertarian opponents were generally right about the problems inherent in most legalization schemes. They were good on the philosophy. But opposing legalization efforts because they “aren’t good enough” is a bad strategy.

Consider this: would a starving man turn down a slice of bread because it wasn’t a whole loaf?

Let’s be honest here. Today, we’re starving for liberty at every turn.

Sometimes you have to take what you get so you have the ability to move forward. If the man gets a slice of bread, he’ll have the energy to go for that loaf.

The same principle applies to legislative activism. Small steps forward often lead to more steps forward.

Thomas Jefferson understood this well. In fact, in a 1790 letter to the Rev. Charles Clay Jefferson said liberty is to be gained by inches.

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House Votes To End Federal Ban On Marijuana Possession, Distribution

The House of Representatives voted Friday to end a federal ban on the possession, growth and distribution of marijuana.

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, introduced by Democratic New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, removes the drug from a list created by the Controlled Substances Act, and creates an excise tax on marijuana and other cannabis products. Marijuana is currently listed as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” This classification has been heavily contested by advocates, who argue that it fails to take into account reported medicinal benefits.

The legislation “is long overdue… and would reverse decades of failed federal policies based on the criminalization of marijuana. It would also take steps to address the heavy toll these policies have taken across the country, particularly among communities of color,” Nadler said in a floor speech.

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Nearly 500-Page House Report On Marijuana Legalization Bill Previews Democratic And Republican Arguments

With a vote on a bill to federally legalize marijuana set for House floor consideration this week, lawmakers on Thursday released a report on the legislation that effectively previews the partisan debate to come, with the majority and minority leaders of a key committee making their arguments for and against the reform.

The 483-page report prepared by the House Judiciary Committee provides an extensive overview of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which is sponsored by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

Leadership announced late last week that the bill to end federal prohibition would be taken up on the floor for the second time in congressional history. It passed the House in 2020 but saw no action in the Senate. Then, in September, it again cleared the sponsor’s panel for the current session.

Before heading to the floor, there will be a House Rules Committee meeting on Wednesday, where members will decide whether any proposed amendments can be made in order. The hearing was initially scheduled for Monday but was pushed back two days over the weekend for unknown reasons.

“Enforcement of marijuana laws has been a key driver of mass criminalization in the United States,” the new report’s background and need for legislation section states. “The drug war has produced profoundly unequal outcomes across racial groups, manifested through significant racial disparities throughout the criminal justice system.”

It further describes the collateral consequences of cannabis arrests and convictions, including the possible loss of opportunities for employment, voting rights, housing, education, government assistance and more, saying that “these exclusions create an often-permanent second-class status for millions of Americans.”

“Like drug war enforcement itself, these consequences fall disproportionately on people of color,” it says. “For non-citizens, a conviction can trigger deportation, sometimes with almost no possibility of discretionary relief.”

“Today, overcriminalized communities continue to suffer the consequences of failed drug policies, even in states that have legalized marijuana, where arrests have dropped for marijuana crimes. Public support for making marijuana legal has increased over the past two decades. The resulting trend in state-level legalization of marijuana has placed states in apparent conflict with federal law and, as a result, the Justice Department has struggled with how to continue to uphold federal law in this context.”

The report also touches on other unique challenges that state-legal marijuana industries face under the status quo of federal prohibition, including barriers to accessing financial services through traditional banking services which have resulted in public safety issues for cannabis businesses that have become targets of crime because many operate on a largely cash-only basis.

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At SXSW, Beto O’Rourke says legalizing weed is possible: ‘Republicans like to get high just as much as Democrats’

Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke said Saturday that if elected governor of Texas, he would pursue legalizing marijuana — and said he anticipates that the Republican majority in the Legislature would get on board.

“I’ll let you in on a secret: Republicans like to get high just as much as Democrats,” O’Rourke said, speaking during a South by Southwest panel in Austin.

While some Republican-led states have legalized recreational marijuana, Texas has not joined the growing national legalization movement.

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Connecticut Legalizes Marijuana to Combat ‘Racial Disparities’

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed a bill into law Tuesday that legalizes possession of marijuana in the state and anticipates retail sales of the drug in 2022.

The new law allows people age 21 and older to possess or use marijuana up to the specified possession limit of 1.5 ounces on their person and five ounces in their home or car.

The law also establishes penalties for use by those under 21, or possession of an amount greater than permitted by the law. Additionally, it removes most cannabis sales offenses from the state’s list of serious juvenile offenses.

The bill was passed under the umbrella of “social justice,” to combat “racial disparities,” and will place with a Social Equity Council the task of how to regulate the new legal marijuana market so that it becomes “an instrument for addressing racial, social and economic injustice,” reported CT Mirror.

“Those communities were hardest hit by the war on drugs — making up for some lost time there,” Lamont said, adding he expects his state’s new law will be “viewed as a national model.”

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Schumer Says Senate Will Move Ahead on Marijuana Legalization With or Without Biden

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer declared that Senate Democrats will move forward on marijuana legalization with or without Joe Biden’s support, highlighting Biden’s lack of influence within his own party.

In a Politico interview published Saturday, Schumer indicated that Biden’s hesitation to back federal marijuana legalization won’t stop the Democrats from enacting it.

“He [Biden] said he’s studying the issue, so [I] obviously want to give him a little time to study it. I want to make my arguments to him, as many other advocates will,” the Senate Democratic leader said. “But at some point we’re going to move forward, period.”

“When a few of the early states — Oregon and Colorado — wanted to legalize, all the opponents talked about the parade of horribles: Crime would go up. Drug use would go up. Everything bad would happen,” Schumer explained.  “The legalization of states worked out remarkably well.” 

“They were a great success. The parade of horribles never came about, and people got more freedom. And people in those states seem very happy,” he added.

Schumer’s remarks come after Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki noted on Friday that Biden “believes in decriminalizing the use of marijuana, but his position has not changed” on broader nationwide legalization.

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