The DEA has never been anywhere close to being on the same page as the activists in the cannabis community. In recent years tensions have continued to escalate as it becomes clearer each year that not only is cannabis not the dangerous and addictive health risk that they’ve painted it to be, but an increasing majority of the population want to see it legalized. Despite that, the DEA is sticking to their guns when it comes to being too harsh about cannabis. Not only are they not living up to their word by totally dragging their feet on a decision to reschedule cannabis, but now they are trying to paint Colorado’s cannabis situation as some public safety nightmare. Recently a spokeswoman for the DEA went as far as to say that illegal cannabis grow operations in residential areas have become the new meth houses. These kinds of scare tactics migh have worked back in the days of Reefer Madness, when not many had actual first hand experience with cannabis, but I think in this day and age we can all see that this comparison is absolutely ridiculous.
If we were to hear the DEA out on this comparison they do have a few arguments, but none of real substance. The DEA says that since 2014 organized networks of complex grows have increased in residential areas of Colorado. According to them these grows are connected and ran by drug smuggling organizations. While I do believe that lots of people are growing more than they are allowed in residential areas, I find it hard to believe that a majority of them are working for El Chapo. Their case kind of loses its way from there. The DEA starts pointing to the annoyances that these grows can cause to neighbors such as strong odors, blown electrical transformers, and loud industrial air conditioners. I don’t think these complaints hold much of a candle to some of the dangers posed by actual meth labs. The DEA gets a little creative here by pointing out that these operations often require lights that might result in some unsafe amateur electrician work to happen. Also a bit of a stretch to jump from that risk to a meth explosion.
Blasting hash oil was also listed as a big risk factor when paired with grow operations, but that really isn’t fair to lump together when anyone with half a brain would never be blasting hash inside or near their grows. I personally just don’t think that it is ethical to combine those two different risk factors when complaining about illegal grows. Plenty of organizations, like NORML, have already come out to comment on how ridiculous the comparison between growing cannabis and operating a meth lab really is. If there is a problem that needs to be addressed with illegal grows in residential areas, than we should address it, but to sensationalize and misrepresent cannabis is not the answer. Many activists believe the problem will resolve itself once prohibition comes to an end and it starts to make less sense to operate a grow in your house when compared to the market price. Until then I say we wait for the massive explosions and fires to start plaguing our communities before we make the leap to compare growing a plant to manufacturing methamphetamine