Drug Policy

Disappearing Ditchweed

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A perennial story in the annals of drug war stupidity is the Drug Enforcement Administration's tally of cannabis plants destroyed under its Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program. Year after year, the figures show that nearly all of the eradicated plants are ditchweed, the feral, nonpsychoactive descendants of hemp that American farmers used to legally grow for fiber. A couple years ago, for instance, I noted that "98 percent of the 223 million or so cannabis plants 'eradicated' by American law enforcement agencies in 2005 were feral hemp." Since these plants do not contain enough THC to get anyone high, the program is a vivid illustration of how drug warriors waste taxpayer money. NORML's Paul Armentano reports that the DEA seems finally to have wised up:

How much ditchweed did police confiscate in 2007? That would be anyone's guess.

Upon referencing Table 4.38 (Number of marijuana plants eradicated and seized, arrests made, weapons seized, and value of assets seized under the Drug Enforcement Administration's Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, by State, 2007) in the latest version of the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, visitors will discover that the column that previously reported on "ditchweed" seizures (in prior years' tables, it was seventh column from the left) is now conspicuously missing.

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  1. That’s not so much wising up as CYA.

  2. DEA = Ditchweed Eradication Agency

  3. It sort of goes to show you the futility of trying to eradicate what is essentially a weed. What next, mint?

  4. I could support a Dandelion Eradication Program.

    Well, not with my tax dollars, but you know what I mean.

  5. What next, mint?

    From what I hear, a garage chemist can brew a pretty mean aspirin from a bushel of those.

    Scary shit.

  6. “Welcome to Ditchweed, stranger.”
    (spits, lights slim black cigar)

  7. Admitting ditchweed exists might mean admitting an ancient (and free) fiber market which would have beat the shit out of chemical/fertilizer intensive cotton. Of course punishment was needed to prevent an injustice like THAT!!!
    JMR

  8. DITCHWEED, COLD DEAD FINGERS…YADA YADA YADA

  9. So to be clear they are still wasting money eradicating it, they just now instead report it all as marijuana and not even acknowledge that 98% of it is wasted money/resources?

  10. Nice going, ditchweed!

  11. If they went after kudzu people would think the DEA was too stupid to know that you can’t eradicate a weed that prolific.

    But getting rid of hemp is seen as no harder than eradicating poppies.

    But that’s another perennial story.

  12. Apparently, they used to grow quite a bit of hemp in Southern Wisconsin, because when I acquired a small parcel there a number of years ago, it had hundreds/thousands of feral pot plants on it. I hit ’em with Roundup – I didn’t need some pinhead deputy hauling me in as a Major Drug Kingpin because I had wild marijuana plants on my property.

  13. The seventh column did not contain enough THC to get anyone fired up, and so it was eradicated.

    Apparently they grew a lot in Indiana, too. I had a buddy in college who grew up on an Indiana farm. They had feral pot everywhere and he and his friends used to smoke it all the time. It wasn’t until college that he found out it was the non-THC stuff. He called his dad and told him all about it and his dad said “Yeah, I knew you and your buddies were doing it. I didn’t have the heart to tell you…”

  14. Its far easier to “bust” a stand of feral hemp (aka “ditchweed”) growing along the railroad tracks than to make a real bust by going into a dangerous crack house.

    Eradication of feral hemp serves as a method for rural and small town law enforcement agencies to receive money from federal agencies. As the saying goes “follow the money.”

    In fact, most all feral hemp is “eradicated” in late August or September, when seeds have matured. Thereby allowing seeds to drop off as the stalks are being cut, allowing for another eradication the follow for years to come! Just another example of our slave tax, er income tax dollars at work!

  15. Exti..

    They were to dumb to know that they weren’t high? Oh wait, you said “Indiana”. Nevermind.

  16. So is feral hemp an ‘endangered’ plant? Should Earth First be chaining themselves to ditchweed in protest, or will spiking the larger plants do the trick?

  17. Its far easier to “bust” a stand of feral hemp (aka “ditchweed”) growing along the railroad tracks than to make a real bust by going into a dangerous crack house.

    Because the rocks are sharp and abrasive, and you may cut yourself.

    Same holds true, I suppose, at the railroad tracks.

  18. What next, mint?

    Stop giving them ideas. The Saliva crusade will probably get to common sage eventually. I pack the turkey with sage before smoking it for Thanksgiving. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE TURKEYS?

  19. “I hit ’em with Roundup – I didn’t need some pinhead deputy hauling me in as a Major Drug Kingpin because I had wild marijuana plants on my property”

    RC Dean, likely story. You just didn’t want the bad stuff cross-pollinating with the good stuff.

    Thankfully, the DEA takes care of that for most of the country. And then we hear “scary” news reports on how the stuff keeps getting stronger. Gov’t at it’s best as usual.

  20. Just to get this straight:

    1) DEA eradicates lots and lots of pot with little to no THC in it,

    2) the same agency (and ONDCP, etc.,) is continually pointing out that pot is getting more and more potent (and thus more dangerous), and therefore needs…

    3) more money to do things like eradicate pot.

    Kind of reminds me of the scam in a mafia movie (Goodfellas, maybe) where they would overload the trucks and skim the savings on shipping, which would fuck up the highways, which they had sweetheart contracts to repave.

  21. Stop giving them ideas. The Saliva crusade will probably get to common sage eventually. I pack the turkey with sage before smoking it for Thanksgiving.

    And yet, Morning Glory is still well under the radar. Fancy that.

  22. Elemenope,

    Yes and no. Most Morning Glory seeds that you can buy commercially are coated in an emetic almost impossible to wash off. Combine that with the fact that the most hallucinogenic varieties are non-native to the continental US and you have a potent drug that grows everywhere, but usually not in a useful form. Kind of like ditchweed, they just don’t shoot your dog when they find a Morning Glory vine in your backyard.

    Besides, you want a cheap, legal and extremely unpleasant trip? A tablespoon of nutmeg. Have a vomit bucket handy.

  23. I can’t wait until some botanist, with too much time on his hands, comes up with a way to combine the kudzu’s hardiness and persistance with some kick ass ganja and let it overgrow the US. Free kudganja for everyone!!

  24. Besides, you want a cheap, legal and extremely unpleasant trip? A tablespoon of nutmeg. Have a vomit bucket handy.

    I thought a cheap, legal, and extremely unpleasant trip was visiting Worcester.

    This joke will make no sense to people not from New England.

  25. zig zag man,

    I been advocating this for years! Isn’t their one botanist out there who can stop thinking of themselves for just a little while and actually help people for a change?

  26. visiting Worcester.

    Dude, I had to go to Opryland 7 times as a kid, I’m right there with you.

  27. Yes and no. Most Morning Glory seeds that you can buy commercially are coated in an emetic almost impossible to wash off. Combine that with the fact that the most hallucinogenic varieties are non-native to the continental US and you have a potent drug that grows everywhere, but usually not in a useful form. Kind of like ditchweed, they just don’t shoot your dog when they find a Morning Glory vine in your backyard.

    Besides, you want a cheap, legal and extremely unpleasant trip? A tablespoon of nutmeg. Have a vomit bucket handy.

    Erowid indicates that the emetic is by no means a universal, and does detail some easy steps to remove the toxin. (Also, some states have labeling laws that require notification of the presence of the emetic agent). I’ve seen the correct cultivar of seed on sale at the local garden shop, and it is not difficult or expensive to obtain.

    Nutmug tripping is so fucking crazy and unpleasant sounding (from reports) that even I am not moved at all to try it.

  28. I thought a cheap, legal, and extremely unpleasant trip was visiting Worcester.

    A friend of mine went to Clark University, and a cousin went to WPI. I’ve had my fill of the Saucetown, thanks.

  29. I’ve seen the correct cultivar of seed on sale at the local garden shop, and it is not difficult or expensive to obtain.

    Things must have progressed since I last looked in it. Still don’t want to do it, but interesting.

  30. At least they aren’t seizing all of the good shit. ugh..

  31. NutraSweet sticks to caffeine hallucinations. You see some pretty crazy shit after 7 RockStars.

  32. “I AM THE LIZARD QUEEN!”

  33. You got the Queen part right.

  34. It’s not my fault you can’t recognize a Simpsons quote.

  35. Doesn’t change the fact that you got the Queen part right, even if inadvertently.

  36. Go ahead. Obfuscate.

  37. Morning glories also readily produce seeds of their own when grown.

  38. Nigel,

    “But I wanna get high, now…” Planning and foresight few after such a shitty high probably don’t have. For all that, you could probably just find some ‘shooms. (Which are awesome.)

    You know you can buy opium poppies? Homebrew heroin, anyone?

  39. It blew my mind to learn that common lettuce has psychoactive properties if prepared properly.

  40. that common lettuce has psychoactive properties if prepared properly.

    So vegans are deluded, just high?

  41. *aren’t* dammit

  42. *aren’t* dammit

    I think it worked better the first time, Sugarfree. “High” and “deluded” aren’t mutually exclusive.

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