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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chronic City: There's Pot In Them Thar Hills! How To Make Marijuana Scary Again.

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 12:59 PM

click to enlarge But the authorities say 'not so fast...'
  • But the authorities say 'not so fast...'
The latest mainstream media narrative in California's Marijuana wars is a spruced-up version of an old favorite: "Mexican drug traffickers" are growing massive amounts of pot in state and national parks, and are despoiling the natural environment in doing so. Once again, we are given to believe that pot is somehow scary and bad -- if not the herb itself, then at least the people who grow it.

As usual, there's a kernel of truth here, with lots of anti-Marijuana spin wrapped around it. Tightening budgets have indeed reduced the number of sheriff's deputies and rangers patrolling parks, and that has indeed resulted in expanded grow-ops on public land, often by undocumented immigrants working for large cartels.

These migrant Marijuana workers are considered disposable by the cartels for which they work, are often in the U.S. illegally, and often make less than $100 a day. Many have been told their families will be harmed if they stop working on the pot plantations, according to state drug enforcement officials.

These workers really do cause lots of environmental damage by

clear-cutting natural growth to make way for pot fields, damming up

creeks for irrigation purposes, and polluting public lands with excess

fertilizer, pesticides (many of which were banned in the U.S. years

ago), septic waste, and trash.


Trouble is,

that's as far as the mainstream media narrative usually goes -- which

makes it next to useless for actually identifying the cause of this

real problem, and its solution.


Tortured Logic

Some

of the tortured logic on display in the pot war is pretty amazing.

Legalization is not the solution, Michael Johnson, statewide commander

of the anti-pot CAMP task force, told the Chronicle, because "most of the pot is being grown illegally on public parkland by foreign citizens who cannot be taxed."


You've

got to have a certain macabre admiration for such a statement, even

while being appalled by it. What Johnson is missing, of course, is that

if Marijuana were legal and taxed in California, (a) It wouldn't have

to be grown in hidden plantations on public land; (b) It wouldn't have

to be grown by illegal immigrants; and (c) if taxes hadn't been paid on

the crop in question, the the black-market pot could either be seized

and destroyed, or donated (or sold by the state?) to dispensaries.


There

are, however, encouraging signs that some law enforcement types are

starting to get it. "The sheriff of our town says foreign growers are

doing a lot of eco-damage here and 'ought to be strung up,' but has no

problem with medical Marijuana patients," a source in one small

Mendocino County town told me.


Feeding At The Tax Trough

With

the Marijuana growing season only half over, more than a million plants

have been seized by CAMP, the state's Campaign Against Marijuana

Planting, according to Michelle Gregory of the California Bureau of

Narcotic Enforcement. "Our whole state is overrun," Gregory told the

San Francisco Chronicle. "It's an epidemic."


Yikes,

there's that e-word! Whenever a government official says "epidemic,"

hold onto your wallets, because it's a sure bet they'll be asking for

more money to combat the problem. Buzzing around in helicopters looking

for pot fields costs lots of tax money. So does hiring additional

personnel to track down the plantations, with most every sheriff's

department in the state crying about being understaffed.

Sucking up money to fight the pot wars -- good Lord! It's an epidemic!


Photo   |   Aforero


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Steve Elliott

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