DEA Data Suggests Illegal Marijuana Market Is Shrinking

With more and more states legalizing recreational and medical marijuana, you'd expect the illegal market for cannabis to begin shrinking in the United States. And according the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), that's exactly the case.

According to DEA statistics, the amount of illegal marijuana seized by the federal government decreased by 35 percent in 2017. To put that in comparison, in 2016 the amount of marijuana seized actually increased by 21 percent over the amount in 2015. So 2017 marked a dramatic reduction in the amount of cannabis being confiscated by the DEA.

One of the most probable reasons for that drop in seized marijuana is that there's simply less illegal cannabis for them to confiscate. More people are opting into the legal recreational market and eschewing the black market. That would mean the illegal market for marijuana is decreasing.

Of course, there could be other reasons as well. The DEA may be facing more hurdles to confiscating marijuana due to new states implementing new laws that either decriminalize or legalize cannabis, making it harder for them to do their jobs. Or perhaps the DEA is re-focusing its efforts to more dangerous drugs now that they realize how little a threat marijuana poses.

However, most experts who attempt to calculate the size of the marijuana black market have said they believe its shrinking as a result of legal marijuana. They point to the increasing sales of legal cannabis as proof that people are rejecting the black market in large numbers.

But as long as marijuana's still illegal at the federal level, there will still be people looking to obtain the drug illegally and possibly facing major punishments for doing so.

(h/t High Times)


As medical marijuana continues to gain ground across the US, more and more colleges are adding cannabis to their curriculum. In fact, more than half of America's pharmaceutical schools (62 percent) now teach students about medical marijuana according to a new survey conducted by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Pharmacy. "With more states legalizing medical marijuana, student pharmacists must be prepared to effectively care for their patients who may use medical marijuana alone or in combination with prescription or over-the-counter medications," the study's authors wrote.