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The White House
For Immediate Release

Statement from White House Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske on Operation Full Court Press

Washington, D.C. – Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, released the following statement regarding Operation Full Court Press:

“Violent transnational criminal organizations are exploiting some of our most pristine public and tribal lands as grow sites for marijuana. Outdoor marijuana cultivation affects wildlife, vegetation, water, soil, and other natural resources through the use of chemicals, fertilizers, terracing, and poaching. By reclaiming these illegal grow sites, and by apprehending and prosecuting the drug offenders and traffickers who operate them, Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies are protecting public safety and the environment while at the same time depriving marijuana traffickers of their illicit revenue.

Efforts to disrupt the illegal marijuana market are vital for protecting public health. Scientific studies have shown that marijuana potency has tripled in the past 20 years and teens are using the drug at earlier ages. Research also shows that the earlier a person begins to use drugs, the more likely they are to progress to more serious abuse and addiction –reflecting the harmful, long-lasting effects drugs can have on the developing brain. I commend all the agencies involved in today’s announcement for working to successfully reduce marijuana cultivation on public lands. Their work – along with the work of drug education and treatment providers in California and across the Nation - are essential to dismantling criminal organizations and making our communities healthier.”

For more information on National efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences visit: