Domestic Cannabis Eradication / Suppression Program
Marijuana is the only major drug of abuse grown within the U.S. borders. The DEA is aggressively striving to halt the spread of cannabis cultivation in the United States. To accomplish this, the DEA initiated the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program (DCE/SP), which is the only nationwide law enforcement program that exclusively targets Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO) involved in cannabis cultivation.
The DCE/SP began funding eradication programs in Hawaii and California in 1979. The program rapidly expanded to include programs in 25 states by 1982. By 1985, all 50 states were participating in the DCE/SP. In 2015, the DEA continued its nation-wide cannabis eradication efforts, providing resources to support the 128 state and local law enforcement agencies that actively participate in the program. This assistance allows the enhancement of already aggressive eradication enforcement activities throughout the nation. In 2017, the DEA continued its nation-wide cannabis eradication efforts, providing resources to support the 126 state and local law enforcement agencies that actively participate in the program. This assistance allows the enhancement of already aggressive eradication enforcement activities throughout the nation. In 2017, the DCE/SP was responsible for the eradication of 3,078,418 cultivated outdoor cannabis plants and 303,654 indoor plants for a total of 3,382,072 marijuana plants. In addition, the DCE/SP accounted for 4,502 arrests and the seizure in excess of 20.5 million dollars of cultivator assets. The program also removed 2,829 weapons from cannabis cultivators.
The success of the DCE/SP is directly attributed to the decision of the participating agencies to share intelligence, technology and manpower. In many areas of the U.S., cultivators have been forced to abandon large outdoor cannabis plots in favor of smaller, better concealed illicit gardens. Cultivators are also growing outdoor cannabis under the cover of various states legal cannabis grows.
Additionally, cultivators have turned to sophisticated technology to cultivate cannabis plants indoors. The use of hydroponics (growing plants in a nutrient laden solution rather than conventional soil) and other technological advances have enabled cultivators to increase the potency of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis plants. Despite cultivator efforts, the DEA and the cooperating DCE/SP agencies continue to identify and eliminate cannabis grow sites throughout the United States. A growing trend is the extraction of THC using various methods such as the Butane method which has seen an increase of grow sites exploding due to this volatile method of extracting THC.
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