Grow House Raids an Ineffective Use of Tax Dollars?

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Federal spending on marijuana home and grow house raids has many concerned, in particular Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif) who has been trying to redirect the money towards programs, such as domestic violence prevention, that help communities. The Drug Enforcement Administration has a program to eradicate cannabis that costs tax payers $18 million a year. The money comes from the Justice Department’s asset forfeiture fund with a lot of it divided between helicopters that look for marijuana plants and officers, some of who are over enthusiastic or untrained and mistake legal plants like okra for marijuana.

Scheduling Against Public Interest

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The aftermath of a DEA raid on a marijuana grow house.

Despite the medical legalization of marijuana in half the country and the recreational legalization in four states and the District of Columbia, it is still considered a Schedule 1 drug. This means that according to federal law, marijuana is a high risk drug, as dangerous as heroin with no medical benefits. Though at least half of the country disagrees with this assessment, the classification remains unchanged and the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program is able to continue. Lieu said “it makes zero sense for the federal government to continue to spend taxpayer dollars on cannabis eradication at a time when states across the country are looking to legalize marijuana. I will continue to fight against DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program in Congress and work to redirect these funds to worthwhile programs.”

Grow House Raids Rock Denver Front Range

On a larger scale, as marijuana prohibition, in particular for adult use, continues, it spurs the black market to keep its wheels turning, utilizing the legal states to distribute marijuana at double the cost to the states where prohibition is still in place. Over 30 home and grow house properties in Colorado Springs and a southern area in Denver were raided and dozens of people were arrested on Thursday. Many of those arrested moved from Texas and a few moved from Florida, specifically to grow marijuana and bring it back to their home states illegally. Authorities were alerted when residents complained of smelling marijuana strongly.

An Environment That Facilitates Trafficking

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The DEA’s methods are often met with criticism (AP Photo/Roswell, Daily Record, Mark Wilson)

Illegal trafficking is always a risk under prohibition. Especially with a substance such as marijuana, which is a plant that is scientifically proven to be non-addictive, safer than alcohol, medically helpful for many common ailments, and a safe mood elevator that has no serious side effects. The fact that it remains illegal and a Schedule 1 drug, denying humanity the benefit of having this safe alternative to alcohol and dangerous, addictive prescription drugs with terrible side effects is what really seems irrational.

Denying access to people whose lives are medically at risk, such as children with seizures and epilepsy or people who live in debilitating pain, just seems incomprehensible and inhumane. Many traffickers, understanding the benefits of what marijuana can offer, will take advantage of selling it on the illegal market.The DEA continues its controversial program and perhaps once marijuana’s classification changes, instead of spending tax payer money on grow house raids, the funding can go to helping families and residents through other programs.

 

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