The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has released its annual National Drug Threat Assessment Summary - a kind of State of the Union for drug enforcement. The lengthy document is loaded with facts and insights on all of America's prohibited substances.
Here are some intriguing cannabis tidbits:
1. The lay of the land
The DEA offers a comprehensive visual on the legality of cannabis in the 50 states. Have a look:
2. Cannabis unites America
Americans have their differences on the cannabis issue, but it's being grown - legally or not - in all 50 states, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
This map was put together from the National Drug Threat Survey. The numbers indicate the percentage of survey respondents reporting high marijuana availability from 2008-11 and 2013-15.
However, when it comes to cultivation, California leads the pack. In 2014, the DEA's eradication program destroyed 4.3 million plants across the country - more than half of that total in The Golden State.
3. Potency is at an all-time high
The average THC content of cannabis consumed in America has nearly tripled since 1995:
4. Big Brother is following you
5. Prohibition is bad for the environment
Illegal outdoor grow-ops have devastating environmental effects, including deforestation, soil contamination, and water diversion. Use of rodenticide and insecticide is also harming wildlife around illegal cultivation sites. Since 2006, more than 110,000 acres of land in California has been destroyed due to fires stemming from these illicit operations, costing taxpayers approximately $55-million dollars.
6. Mexican cannabis cartels are struggling
Mexico is the largest foreign provider of cannabis in America. But the amount of cannabis seized along the border decreased 23.6 percent from 2013-2014, and the DEA isn't sure why.
They offer one possible explanation: the cartels can't keep up with the quality of the competition.
According to the report, "Marijuana that is smuggled from Mexico is typically classified as 'commercial-grade' or 'low-grade' marijuana. The quality of marijuana produced in Mexico and the Caribbean is thought to be inferior to the marijuana produced domestically in the United States, or in Canada."
But instead of backing out of the industry, the cartels are upping their game: "law enforcement reporting indicates that Mexican cartels are attempting to produce higher-quality marijuana to keep up with U.S. demand for high quality marijuana."
So the best way to combat drug smugglers might be through the forces of capitalism, not prohibition.