Taking a page out of the D. J. Trump playbook, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is whining about the media. The anti-cannabis agency just released its annual survey, the National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, and the report’s summary on marijuana stated, “An abundance of media attention surrounding claims of possible medical benefits, [through which] the general public has been introduced to contradictory and often inaccurate information regarding the legality and benefits of marijuana use. This has made enforcement and prosecution for marijuana-related offenses more difficult, especially in states that have approved marijuana legalization.”

The DEA would claim the media shovels out “contradictory and often inaccurate information” about cannabis, but in reality the media typically points out that the DEA’s information is inaccurate and contradicts peer-reviewed studies in respected medical journals. For example, prior DEA chief Michele Leonhart refused in 2012 to admit that crack cocaine and heroin were more dangerous than cannabis, her successor Chuck Rosenberg called medical marijuana “a joke” in 2015 and the DEA even argued in 2013 that non-psychoactive hemp plants can “still provide an enormous quantity of psychoactive material” in its attempt to prohibit hemp as well. A DEA agent in Utah even warned that medical cannabis would lead to an epidemic of weed-addicted rabbits, and no we are not joking. 

The media justifiably laughs at these claims, which in turn makes the DEA propaganda machine run less efficiently. Adding to the agency’s woes are reports like the Drug Policy Alliance’s 16-page The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science that claimed, “The case studies compiled in this report illustrate a decades-long pattern of behavior that demonstrates the agency’s inability to exercise its responsibilities in a fair and impartial manner or to act in accord with the scientific evidence—often as determined by its Administrative Law Judges.” 

Fittingly, the National Law Journal reported that a San Francisco law group recently petitioned the U.S. Justice Department to correct “allegedly false and misleading information” about cannabis on the DEA website. The petition cites 25 violations of the Information Quality Act by the DEA and claims “the DEA continues to disseminate certain statements about the health risks of medical cannabis use that have been incontrovertibly refuted by the DEA itself.” The petition later added, “For years, the DEA has published scientifically inaccurate information about the health effects of medical cannabis, directly influencing the action—and inaction—of Congress.”  

Going back to the DEA’s annual survey, less than five percent of law enforcement cited cannabis as the drug causing the most concern, which is still ridiculously high, compared to 32 percent for methamphetamines. The DEA report then dedicated 22 pages to cannabis compared to 14 for meth and 18 for crack and cocaine. The report did, however, omit any mention of the risk that cocaine cartels might fund hooker sex orgies for DEA agents, who also scored cash, weapons and expensive gifts from the cartels. Agents caught participating in such crimes were suspended up to 10 days, i.e., less time than many non-violent cannabis offenders spend in jail. 

And the DEA wonders why the media keeps calling them out on their bullshit. 

“Looking Back” street art by D*Face.

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