The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is on the hunt for a contractor that can, ahem, burn at least four tons of confiscated weed in a day.
In a recent “sources sought notice,” the Phoenix, Arizona office of the DEA has notified the public that they are seeking a local contractor to provide “destruction services by incineration.” Specifically, the feds are looking for a business that can incinerate a minimum of 1,000 pounds of pot per hour for a full eight hour work day.
The notice welcomes both large and small businesses to apply, but the winning bidder will need to comply with a number of restrictions. The contractor will need to have “an incinerator with the capability of destroying marijuana to a point where there are no detectable levels, as measured by standard analytical methods, of byproduct from the destruction process.” A federal agent will inspect the incinerator to ensure that no weed residue remains.
The notice explains that most of the contraband weed will be packaged in tightly compressed “bricks” or “bales,” but adds that the contractor also needs to be able to burn cardboard, saran wrap, aluminum foil, duct or packing tape, and plastic evidence bags. Most weed will arrive in boxes weighing between 40 to 60 pounds, but some shipments may be as heavy as 200 pounds.
Of course, the feds want to ensure that no one is able to get a contact high from all this perfectly good pot. That means the winning bidder must have an incinerator that has “proper ventilation and no smoke buildup.” The feds will also work to ensure that no weed can be stolen or diverted to the black market. The contractor must agree to process all weed separately from other items that need to be burned, and the entire process must be filmed via closed-circuit cameras. The contractor's employees must also consent to random drug testing and background checks.
The DEA regularly seeks outside contractors to destroy vast quantities of weed and other illegal drugs. “The DEA’s Phoenix Division...seizes enormous amounts of marijuana, pharmaceuticals, and other incidental controlled substances each year,” the agency explains. “From the standpoint of security, it is important that that evidence be disposed of as soon as it is no longer of evidentiary value. Along with drugs, the non-drug evidences, like papers and cassette tapes must be destroyed in a timely manner to allow for space within the evidence vaults.”
Last spring, the DEA released a similar notice looking for a Texas contractor capable of securely burning 1,000 pounds of weed an hour. But even though the DEA's cannabis eradication continues at an aggressive pace, the total number of weed plants the agency seizes each year has been declining as more individual states legalize. In 2018, the feds destroyed 2.82 million cannabis plants, a 17 percent decrease from 2017, and an impressive 66 percent decrease from 2016.