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National Drug Intelligence Center
Delaware Drug Threat Assessment Update
Marijuana is the most widely abused illicit drug in Delaware. According to the 1999 and 2000 NHSDA, the percentage of Delaware residents who reported having abused marijuana at least once in their lifetime (7.2%) was higher than the percentage nationwide (4.8%). According to data from the Delaware Health and Social Services Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, the number of marijuana-related treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities increased 23 percent from 1,039 in SFY2000 to 1,283 in SFY2001.
Marijuana is the most readily available illicit drug in Delaware. All five law enforcement respondents to the NDTS 2002 in Delaware reported that the availability of marijuana is high in their jurisdictions. Federal law enforcement officials in Delaware seized 1.2 kilograms of marijuana in 2002, according to FDSS data. USSC data indicate that, in FY2001, 22.7 percent of federal drug-related sentences in Delaware were marijuana-related compared with 32.8 percent nationwide. (See Table 1 in Cocaine section.)
Most of the marijuana available in Delaware is produced in Mexico; however, locally produced marijuana also is available. According to the DEA Wilmington Resident Office, marijuana sold for $800 to $2,000 per pound, $150 to $600 per ounce, and $60 to $150 per bag in Delaware in the first quarter of FY2003.
Cannabis is cultivated both outdoors and indoors in Delaware. Caucasian local independent dealers and abusers are the primary cannabis cultivators in the state. Local law enforcement officials in southern Delaware report that cannabis cultivators in Dover and Milford attempt to conceal operations by growing cannabis intermingled with corn plants or indoors in basements or closets. According to DEA Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program data, federal, state, and local law enforcement officials eradicated 1,283 cannabis plants from outdoor grow sites and 78 cannabis plants from indoor grow sites in 2001.
Jamaican criminal groups are the primary transporters of marijuana into Delaware. African American and Caucasian local independent dealers and Mexican criminal groups also transport marijuana into the state, although to a lesser extent. Most of the marijuana available in Delaware is transported from Philadelphia and New York City via private vehicles and couriers aboard trains and buses. Some marijuana is transported from Mexico and southwestern states via package delivery services, private vehicles, and commercial trucks.
Jamaican criminal groups are the primary wholesale-level distributors of marijuana in Delaware. These criminal groups often sell multipound quantities of marijuana to African American and Caucasian local independent dealers and local street gangs who then distribute the drug at the retail level in the state. Retail quantities of marijuana typically are packaged in small plastic bags and distributed at open-air markets or from private residences and bars.
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