Obama's mantra for pot enforcement is, apparently, "more." According to the DEA’s budget request for next year—they want $2.8 billion (.pdf)—the agency has been seizing more pot than ever. In fact, the DEA seized twice as much pot in 2009 as the year before (while they've seized less cocaine, meth, and heroin):
- DEA: ** Does not include Hashish"
Most of the doubled pot haul is attributable to more international enforcement. Which, at face value, seems like a good thing: Mexican gangs are tremendously violent and marijuana helps fund the warfare that gets drugs to market. As the DEA notes, “Most of the non-domestic marijuana available in the U.S. is grown in Mexico.”
Meanwhile, Aaron Houston of the Marijuana Policy Project in D.C. points out, "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."
But pot’s as popular as ever. Kids—we’re doing this to save the kids—don’t seem to think pot’s dangerous. "The 2009 Monitoring the Future study," the DEA points out in its budget request, “shows attitudes toward marijuana use are moving in the wrong direction. Among 8th and 10th graders, the perception of ‘great risk’ associated with marijuana use has declined; perceived harmfulness of marijuana deteriorated among 8th graders; and peer disapproval of marijuana has also declined.”
So the Obama Administration cracks down while demand stays the same. And then—bizarrely—production increases. Who could have predicted? Maybe a “fierce advocates for a thriving, dynamic free market” could have foreseen it. Which isn't to say those free-market advocates believe commodities should go unregulated—Obama is all in favor of regulating an expensive legal drugs. Just not pot—which is the one people are dying over. Last year, "6,500 drug-related killings made 2009 the bloodiest year since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels."
Funding that counter-effective crackdown with $100 million: Obama.