The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has a mandate to fight the production, transportation, and sale of illegal drugs. But after the states of Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, a Schedule I drug, and President Barack Obama indicated that the federal government will not interfere with the state experiments, the DEA has seen its power to enforce marijuana laws in those states undermined. And now, with a new potent form of marijuana being offered in those states, the agency seems flummoxed as to how to respond.
A new kind of distilled marijuana, called wax, is causing the DEA to plead with government officials to rethink their acceptance of state initiatives which have legalized the drug. According to DEA officials wax is so potent that a single inhalation of the drug is strong enough to keep a user “high” for an entire day. And not only is the use of the drug dangerous according to the agency, but the process of making it can kill.
Wax is produced using flammable chemical solvents, which extract THC – the active ingredient in marijuana. When something goes wrong in the process, such as when a spark or an open flame comes in contact with the flammable solvent, the result can be a deadly explosion.
While some states, such as California, work to eradicate wax, Colorado makes a tax profit off of every sale of the legalized substance. In fact, recent reports indicate that initial tax revenues far exceeded even the rosiest of predictions.
This kind of dichotomy has raised alarm among the DEA. Though the agency has agreed to allow the open sale of marijuana and its derivatives in states that have legalized the drug, mostly due to the presidential directive, the agency is nevertheless highly concerned that the propagation of such concentrates as wax may have devastating social consequences down the line.