It appears the DEA has run out of things to do at the office …

It appears the DEA has run out of things to do at the office and has thus decided to take a few buzzwords from the pages of past drug manuals and apply them to the legal marijuana industry, hoping to spice things up between co-workers. 

In a declassified June report, creatively titled “Residential Marijuana Grows in Colorado: The New Meth Houses?” the DEA lays out the case for comparing private residential marijuana grows in Colorado to the meth houses of the 1990s.

The report outlines how Amendment 20 and Amendment 64, to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes respectively, neglected to address major loopholes regarding home grows, opening the door to inter-state drug trafficking, devalued home prices and un-inhabitable homes that present risks to occupants, homeowners and neighbors.

According to the report, “Marijuana grows often cause extensive damage to the houses where they are maintained and are increasingly the causes of house fires, blown electrical transformers, and environmental damage. Much like the 'meth houses' of the 1990s, many of these homes may ultimately be rendered uninhabitable.”

Building a residential marijuana grow isn’t going to add value to your home anytime soon but saying it’s comparable to a Meth House is a stretch. As homegrown drug operations go, meth labs are king. From the toxic chemical cocktails that leave contaminated remains to lab explosions forcing states like Kentucky, West Virginia and Iowa to pass legislation to classify making meth as a felony with harsher consequences. Comparing meth to marijuana is a reckless association.

Nonetheless, Colorado’s global brand of quality marijuana makes it a hot-spot for cartels to open operations and distribute both nationally and internationally.

“As a result of the permissiveness of Colorado’s medical and recreational marijuana laws, the system is extensively exploited by traffickers who operate large marijuana grows that supply out-of-state markets," the report adds. "Since 2014, there has been a noticeable increase in organized networks of sophisticated residential grows in Colorado that are orchestrated and operated by drug trafficking organizations. These organizations operate hundreds of large-scale home grows throughout Colorado. Harvested marijuana is shipped or transported from Colorado to markets in the Midwest and along the East Coast.”

Colorado’s marijuana laws aren’t perfect. In fact, they’re far from perfect. But they’re a step in the right direction. Instead of passively comparing marijuana grows to meth houses, we should be curating a system for legalized marijuana that we can use as a template for other states. Marijuana isn’t going away, just look at the DEA’s 1996 tip sheet: “Signs your neighbor is running a marijuana grow operation.”