As more states legalize marijuana, it seems the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has less reason to enforce federal cannabis laws. And it turns out they're actually cutting back on how much they're going after marijuana.
Data from the DEA shows the agency confiscated 37 percent less marijuana plants in 2017 than they did in 2016. The DEA seized 3.38 million marijuana plants in 2017, which may seem like a lot, but is significantly less than the 5.34 million they seized in 2016. The DEA also announced they seized about 60 percent less in personal assets in 2017 compared to the year before.
California is still king when it comes to illegal marijuana. The DEA nabbed 2.45 million plants in California in 2017, about 72 percent of the entire amount they seized in the year. In comparison, Kentucky came in second for most seized marijuana plants with only 472,000.
Presumably a huge reason for the drop in seized plants is legalized marijuana. Consumers are less reliant on black market cannabis, therefore less people are growing marijuana illegally, which leads to a reduction in the number of plants the DEA can seize.
It will be interesting to see how those numbers change for 2018 considering California will have legalized recreational marijuana for the first time this year.