"Eradication" Sense and Nonsense

Jul 15, 2008

California, DEA, drug war, eradication, law enforcement

The marijuana "eradication" season is now well underway, as highlighted by this breathless Drug Enforcement Administration press release touting a raid in the San Diego area. "Thus far this year," the DEA says, "marijuana has been eradicated in more than 60 sites." 

This is, of course, utter nonsense. The word "eradication" implies permanence, but there is no evidence of any long-term impairment in marijuana availability or use. The complete failure of the DEA to accomplish its supposed job in 35 years of existence is discussed perceptively in a column by Bill Steigerwald in the generally conservative Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.



In California, the Marysville Appeal-Democrat raises an interesting question in an editorial marking the DEA's 35th birthday: Could it be that "the entire point of the drug war is to give people jobs"?

The paper was thinking of DEA agents and drug war bureaucrats, but let's not forget who else benefits from our war on marijuana: Just as Al Capone made a mint off of booze during Prohibition, marijuana prohibition is enriching criminal gangs and all manner of unsavory characters, who effectively get a monopoly on a popular product without such inconveniences as taxes, environmental or labor laws, etc. In that respect, our marijuana laws are a roaring success.