Police officers overwhelmingly do not see marijuana as a major threat to their communities, says a survey released this week as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, the Washington Post reports. DEA asked a nationally representative sample of 1,000 law enforcement agencies what they saw as their biggest drug threats. Marijuana came in at the bottom of the list, named by only 6 percent of survey respondents. The share of law enforcement agencies naming pot has been declining steadily since the mid-2000s, even as states have moved to legalize medical and recreational marijuana during that time period.
Nearly three quarters of police departments named heroin and meth as their top drug threats this year. The perceived threat of heroin has more than quadrupled since 2007. After rising sharply from 2007 to 2013, the threat posed by prescription painkillers has subsided considerably in the past two years. The findings indicate a statement by law enforcement of a fact that drug policy experts and researchers long have known compared with other recreational substances, including alcohol, marijuana doesn’t cause much harm. Whether you’re worried about potential harms to individuals or to communities, marijuana is very low on the list of recreational substances.