By Kyle Jaeger for attn: The Drug Enforcement Administration has a vested interest in the War on Drugs, the federal government’s decades-long mission to eradicate drug use in the U.S. Not only does it support the federal agency’s core goal — to “enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States” — but it also serves the criminal justice system on a financial level, allowing the agency to profit off enforcement through budget requests and a civil asset forfeiture program.
Tough drug laws demand greater financial resources, a larger slice of the federal budget from the U.S. government. That’s one theory as to why the DEA continues to enforce federal marijuana laws in legal states, despite public condemnation: It pays to criminalize pot.
The DEA has an entire department, the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, dedicated to the enforcement of marijuana laws under the Controlled Substances Act, which strictly prohibits the use, cultivation, and sale of cannabis in the U.S. Federal law regards marijuana as a Schedule I drug — as addictive and dangerous as heroin. Schedule 1 drugs are considered the most dangerous drugs and to have no “accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” according to the DEA.