For the second straight year the cannabis eradication budget in Vermont totaled a mere $25,000. This is down from $34,000 in 2011 and down from $60,000 in 1998 (during the heyday of the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication Program).
DEA statistics further reflect Vermont's de-prioritizing cannabis cultivation enforcement. In 2012, only 1,500 total plants – indoors and outdoors – were eradicated statewide. That number is down from 4,000 in 2010 and way down from 6,400 in 1998.
Cannabis cultivation-related arrests have also significantly decreased. In 2010 a total of 49 arrests were made while last year police made 14 total arrests. In 2002, there were 100 arrests across the state for growing pot.
Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn seems on board with the new trend, as he explained the shift in emphasis from pot to harder drugs: “Very frankly, we want to make sure that we are utilizing our law-enforcement resources in Vermont in the best way possible... And when we look at heroin and opiates and other drugs causing an increase in break-ins and burglaries and drug-store robberies, that becomes the emphasis for us.”