Dubious research remains marijuana’s fiercest opponent

DEA bulletins provide snapshots of the agency’s fringe weed fears

Written by Beryl Lipton
Edited by JPat Brown

For over eighty years, the federal government has been using questionable research and fear-driven “facts” to criminalize marijuana, a drug known to have little fatal risk and plenty of fans among even the most functional of society’s members. Public opinion is evolving regarding the appropriateness of criminalizing a substance less threatening to those who take it and those around them than all the drinking that’s lauded as part of American culture - the strength of the evidence, however, remains about as soft as ever.

As part of a FOIA release provided to MuckRock users Michael Best and Jason Koebler, the Drug Enforcement Administration made available a series of Drug Intelligence publications and bulletins, and for a few, the substance of material undercuts the seriousness of the title claim.

One bulletin suggests that medical marijuana card holders might use their legal access to drugs to distract law enforcement from more nefarious intoxicants.

But the full content of the supporting details for the bulletin on this “possible emerging trend in trafficking narcotics across the Southwest Border” seems to suggest a strange representative sample - the instances of narcotics detection coexisting with medical card holders only turned up a little pot and nothing else.

Another alert, prepared by the DEA’s Brussels Country Office, reports the “cannabis toxicity death,” singular, from the year 2014. The claim is noteworthy given that the potential of a fatal intake of cannabis has been challenged as a near impossibility. Even the case in question continues to leave room for doubt.

And still another one draws attention to the potential risk posed by a marijuana vending machine, a legal machine used in legal locations as far as they know. The report title mysteriously ends in a redaction, so we aren’t quite sure what they fear the machines will open …

but a quick Google search can tell us where.

Also provided in the release was dictionary of terms related to the DEA’s Operation Breakthrough and their summaries of legalization efforts in D.C.

Take a look at the documents on the request pages, and as always, if you find something interesting, let us know at info@muckrock.com


Image via Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under CC BY 2.0