DEA Finds That Marijuana Is Considered Lowest Threat By Police Officers

By May Wilkerson 11/11/15

Meanwhile, DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg called weed "dangerous" while calling its medicinal value a "joke."

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Marijuana is not the first problem on every police officer’s mind. In fact, it might even be the last.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has called the drug a “growing concern.” But law enforcement across the United States sees pot as the least threatening drug, according to a new report from the DEA itself.

As part of the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, the DEA surveyed a sample of over 1,100 local and state law enforcement agencies on what they perceived as their biggest drug threat. Marijuana was ranked the lowest, with only 6% of respondents claiming the drug poses the biggest threat.

Heroin has quickly risen to the top of the list, with 38% reporting it as the most threatening drug. Painkillers have decreased in threat level over the past two years.

These numbers aren’t surprising. Marijuana is losing its status as a “threatening” drug as more states decriminalize it for recreational and medical use, and Americans are polling overwhelmingly in favor of legalization. In fact, the majority of Americans now see pot as less harmful than alcohol.

But the DEA has yet to get onboard with this line of thinking. Last week, the agency head Chuck Rosenberg called marijuana "bad and dangerous" and said that using it as medicine is a "joke." The DEA has also continued to raid medical dispensaries that are legal at the state level. In 2014, the federal government spent $18 million on eradicating marijuana plants and millions more into seizures, though overall seizures of the plant have declined.

The agency is concerned that state legalization will bolster criminal organizations and allow other drugs to move more freely between states. The report also found that marijuana’s use and potency are on the rise. However, though 120 people reportedly die each day in the United States from a drug overdose, marijuana is reported as the cause of zero of these deaths.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.