WASHINGTON — The total amount of marijuana seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration nearly doubled from 1,539 metric tons in 2008 to 2,980 metric tons in 2009, according to numbers disclosed by the DEA as part of their budget request for 2011.
Meanwhile, the cultivation of marijuana in Mexico rose 35% in 2009 to nearly 30,000 acres, according to a report released by the U.S. State Department. The report also revealed that between $8 and $25 billion in drug profits were laundered by Mexican drug lords during the same period.
“When is the United States government going to realize that they will never eliminate the demand for marijuana, but they can regulate its production?” said Aaron Houston, MPP director of government relations. “These latest numbers confirm that the only thing an increase in the amount of marijuana seizures by the DEA will do is force more marijuana to be grown by gangs in Mexico, lining the pockets of drug cartels, and further fueling the bloodshed along our border and in our respective countries. The only real solution to this crisis is to tax and regulate marijuana.”
These latest figures come just days after high-ranking officials from the U.S. and Mexico concluded a three-day conference meant to outline ways the two nations could reduce the illicit drug-trade-associated violence that continues to plague the U.S.-Mexican border.
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Unfortunately, the obvious and sensible strategy of taxing and regulating marijuana was not mentioned. The Obama administration instead opted to throw more money at the problem in the form of a $1.4 billion aid package to combat Mexican drug cartels. The Obama administration is also seeking $310 million in its 2011 budget for drug enforcement aid to Mexico.
With more than 124,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit mpp.org.