With eight states voting to legalize some form of cannabis, the pace of cannabis legalization picked up in 2016—but enforcement action by the DEA showed no sign of slowing down. New data from the federal agency indicates cannabis seizures increased by 20% last year.
According to annual data in the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Statistical Report, agents confiscated more than 5.3 million cannabis plants in the United States during 2016.
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The 5,348,922 plants seized by the DEA was the most confiscated by the agency since 2011, when the agents confiscated over 6.7 million plants.
The value of seized property and cash also climbed last year. Asset forfeitures in cannabis eradication efforts totaled $51,937,207.01, almost doubling the amount seized in 2015 ($29,705,902.43).
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Nearly all the seized plants were on outdoor grows—only 7% of seized plants came from indoor operations.
As NORML Deputy Director Paul Armanto notes, the DEA’s eradication efforts