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DEA – Hemp Production Challenging Law Enforcement

The latest U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Drug Threat Assessment says hemp is causing headaches for law enforcement.

10 pages of the 100-page report are dedicated to marijuana related issues. This section mentions the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp production at the federal level is causing problems, especially in states that have legalized marijuana.

It says in some states where marijuana production is legal under state law, “a significant number” of hemp businesses and cultivation operations are owned and operated by drug-trafficking organisations that are illegally producing and trafficking marijuana.

The DEA says according to law enforcement officials, traffickers are using state-issued hemp documentation as a cover for marijuana grow operations and to shift product across state lines. The DEA also mentions large-scale hemp operations are at times used to camouflage marijuana plants scattered within them.

It states domestic use of marijuana remains high and is likely to increase as state legalization continues, and so too will domestic production and trafficking as changes to laws see more medical or recreational marijuana markets open.

In a nutshell, the Administration doesn’t seem to be particularly happy about the situation. But change is hard, whatever that change is and it’s probably not fair to write off all their concerns as just whining for the sake of it given the current legal situation.

The full report can be viewed here.

On a related note, and in relation to legal cannabis, sales in the U.S. exceeded $17.5 billion last year, up 46% 2019’s $12.1 billion according to BSDA. Medical-use markets that launched in 2019 and 2020 contributed $422 million in spending. BSDA forecasts U.S. cannabis sales to reach $41.3 billion in 2026, driven primarily by the adult-use market. While the U.S. medical market is also expected to grow slightly, it’s expected to level off as the adult-use market evolves.

BDSA predicts legalization will happen at a federal level in the USA in 2022, but still believes there will be a state-by-state rollout with each state having its own regulation.

Globally, cannabis sales reached nearly $21.3 billion in 2020 the firm says, up 48% over 2019 sales of $14.4 billion. The company forecasts 2026 global sales to reach $55.9 billion.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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