Disappearing Ditchweed


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.