Taxpayers Spent $60 Destroying Each Weed Plant in Oregon

In 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration spent $960,000 in order to destroy marijuana plants in Oregon, which was part of its Cannabis Eradication Program. This is a fairly astounding statistic considering that in Oregon, marijuana is legalized, and it’s the same issue that people in California have been having through the years as well.

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Just in Oregon, the Drug Enforcement Administration removed 16,067 pot plants, which you might think is a lot of weed, but it’s really not, although the cost to taxpayers is not pretty. It’s costing taxpayers $60 to uproot the plant, which incidentally, costs the Drug Enforcement Administration $4.20 to get rid of one weed plant under this program. Quite ironic the final cost for the Drug Enforcement Administration amounts to $4.20 on a national level to remove one plant. Just for Oregon, the Drug Enforcement Administration has budgeted a total of $760,000 to get rid of the weed within the state. Many people in Oregon, including some Congressional members, are now questioning this program and whether it is really worth it, especially now since weed is legal within the state. A lot of people are now trying to get the federal anti-pot program defunded, since more states are now legalizing marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use, and this program costs $18 million a year.

Of course, the Drug Enforcement Administration is defending the weed eradication program saying that a lot of the weed that does grow in Oregon and in other places are due to the cartel activity from Mexico. The Drug Enforcement Administration says that dismantling the weed helps disrupt the drug trafficking organizations that are often coming out of Mexico and bringing weed into the states, especially states like Oregon. Even though weed is illegal under federal law, there is still a lot of questions on whether or not $18 million a year spent on a failed program is really doing any good, considering tax payers are footing $60 for every plant eradicated.

Even more people are now speaking out saying that the federal authorities have been overstating just how many of the weed growing operations within the United States are really from the Mexican cartels. The Office of National Drug Control Policy back in 2012 admitted there was not that much evidence that connected these Mexican drug cartels to the pot that had been grown in California. The interesting thing about this is that they have access to thousands upon thousands of cell phone numbers and secret wiretaps, and these agencies have not been able to connect these small growers in California to anyone in Mexico or with any connections to the Mexican drug cartels. There are law enforcement agencies in Oregon that are dismantling their pot eradication programs because they say that the focus should be on other crimes, such as sex assault and violent crimes against people, like child abuse and rape.


A lot of the anti-pot money in Oregon is being used by the police in order to search for the pot farms, which are often seen first by helicopter, and then officers have to step through a bunch of weeds, literally, in order to pull out small amounts of pot plants. The state had paid out $275,000 in overtime just so these cops could sit there and pull weeds, which seems ridiculous no matter how you slice it or smoke it. Some funny news, the budget has been sliced a little bit down to $762,000, which is still an insane amount of money that federal tax dollars are going towards. A lot of voters both in Oregon and around the nation are pretty upset by this amount of money that taxpayers are paying for this “war on drugs” that seemingly is not a war anymore, and even though it’s illegal federally, it is becoming more commonplace for people to partake in the pot these days. There is also the issue of just whether or not all of the weed that the federal government is taking is actually from Mexico, since a lot of the states now allow some people to grow a certain amount of weed on their property. As the report stated, there is no direct connection to the Mexican cartels so it’s really hard to know whether or not these plants are being illegally confiscated by the government, even though federally it’s illegal, there is a question whether or not the plants still can be seized in the same manner as if it was from a cartel. As of right now, there does not seem to be any let up on the federal government when it comes to taking the pot plants from Oregon and other states, although all it takes is one court case to get to the Supreme Court for the house of cards to fall down.

It likely will never be legal on the federal level because the government makes too much money in terms of putting people in jail for weed, especially large amounts of weed that could be seen as trafficking, which can put someone behind bars longer than if someone would have killed someone with a butcher knife. Not to mention, most jails are for-profit, which makes it even less likely that weed will become legal on the federal level. It’s unknown if any politicians will be willing to take on the marijuana laws on the federal level, although it would still be many years away and many court fights before it would ever become legally on the federal level, although it’s still highly unlikely to ever happen. For some people, the hope is that they can convince enough lawmakers to take up the cause in the house and in the senate, although it would likely to have to be legal on the state level in almost every state before the real conversations can start on whether or not it would be legal or could be legal on the federal level.


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Jeanne Rose
Jeanne Rose lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has been a freelance writer since 2010. She took Allied Health in vocational school where she earned her CNA/PCA, and worked in a hospital for 3 years. Jeanne enjoys writing about science, health, politics, business, and other topics as well.

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