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How to Get Away with Growing 100,000 Marijuana Plants

Just plant them in the woods:

Nearly 100,000 marijuana plants were found growing at four illegal farms in the San Bernardino National Forest, authorities said Tuesday.

No arrests have been made, said officials with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Forest Service. [LA Times]

If we can't even catch the people who do this, do you think they're ever going to stop?

It should be obvious to anyone who's seen these same stories published every summer that the problem is just getting worse. These ridiculous pot wars in our national forests are profitable for both sides. The cops get to go hiking and collect their paychecks without even seeing an actual criminal, and the growers just plant more every year to ensure that the police never find it all. What fun.

That's why police and illegal growers are united in their opposition to the legalization of marijuana.

Utah Cops Create Website for Snitching on Marijuana Gardens

As outdoor marijuana cultivation continues to surge in our nation's forests, police are growing increasing desperate in their miserably failed attempts to put a stop to it. I think police in Utah are about to find out what happens when you ask people on the internet to help you fight the drug war.

The instant the site's link was posted at NORML, commenters began proposing a coordinated effort to submit false information and send police on long pointless marches into the wilderness. Soon, the site may have to be updated to remind everyone that submitting a false report is a crime, thereby deterring genuine tipsters from participating.

Meanwhile, some more charitable folks have been sending in tips on how to eliminate illegal outdoor cultivation entirely, by reforming our marijuana policies. It may not sink in right away, but maybe the long hikes will give Utah's marijuana warriors a chance to reflect on the absurdity of the situation.

How Can We Stop Drug Gangs From Growing Pot in the Woods? Legalize Pot

One of the most embarrassingly mindless trends in the mainstream media's marijuana reporting is that of publishing one redundant story after another about the explosion of illegal outdoor cultivation in our national parks, while failing entirely to diagnose why it's happening and how it might be prevented: 

Pot has been grown on public lands for decades, but Mexican traffickers have taken it to a whole new level: using armed guards and trip wires to safeguard sprawling plots that in some cases contain tens of thousands of plants offering a potential yield of more than 30 tons of pot a year.

"Just like the Mexicans took over the methamphetamine trade, they've gone to mega, monster gardens," said Brent Wood, a supervisor for the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. He said Mexican traffickers have "supersized" the marijuana trade. [AP]

This Associated Press report is over 1,200 words long, yet does not contain one single idea for addressing the problem. Not even a stupid hopeless drug war idea like "we need more funding for eradication," or "we need to get everyone to stop using marijuana." Apparently, the AP is simply content to point out to us that our most precious natural resources are being slowly destroyed by Mexican marijuana cartels and there isn't a damn thing anyone can do about it.

But, of course there is. Illegal outdoor marijuana growing will immediately end the instant it becomes legal for Americans to grow their own marijuana on private property. People don't plant pot in remote wilderness because they like to go hiking. The reason they do it is obvious, but not so obvious that the AP should be forgiven for writing so much without mentioning it.

Marijuana is illegal and until that changes, the problems associated with it will get worse every year. Keep that in mind. As devastating as our marijuana laws are today, they are actually causing greater and greater harm the longer they continue.

Methamphetamine: Cold Sufferers Caught in the Crosshairs

Meth lab busts nationwide were up 27% last year over the previous year, according to the DEA, and state legislatures, prodded by law enforcement, are responding with a new batch of bills to ban pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in home-cooked meth, but also a key ingredient in widely used cold remedies such as Sudafed and Claritin-B.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/sudafed.gif
In at least three states -- California, Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri -- bills to make products containing pseudoephedrine available by prescription only have been or will be filed. Meanwhile, Mississippi this week became the first state this year to pass such a law, and only the second in the nation. Oregon passed such a law in 2006 and saw a dramatic reduction in meth lab busts.

In Mississippi, Gov. Hailey Barbour (R) is poised to sign HB 512, which would make ephedrine and pseudoephedrine Schedule III controlled substances available only by prescription. The measure passed the House 45-4 late last month and passed the Senate 45-4 on Tuesday.

The Tuesday vote came as about 50 uniformed members of Mississippi law enforcement looked on from the gallery. Mississippi law enforcement had been the primary force behind the bill.

As the cops looked on, supporters of the bill fended off amendments to the bill that would allow patients to be charged lower than normal fees when going to a physician to get a prescription. Opponents of the bill had argued that it would place a burden on Mississippi residents who would now be saddled with having to pay for a doctor's visit and a co-pay for their now prescription drug.

"I look forward to signing House Bill 512, which will make it more difficult to obtain the ingredients for this drug that tears families apart and harms many of our communities," Barbour said in a statement.

Barbour and the cops may have been happy, but the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents over-the-counter medicine makers, was not. The bill will be a burden on residents and will raise health care costs in the state, the group said.

"We are disappointed that the Mississippi Senate chose to overlook consumer sentiment and passed a bill today that will significantly impact how cold and allergy sufferers access some of their medicines," said association spokeswoman Linda Suydam. "While well-intentioned, this bill will impose an unnecessary burden on Mississippians, despite there being a better and more effective solution to address the state's meth production problem."

The association said that electronic tracking of over-the-counter medications containing pseudoephedrine was a "more effective, less-costly alternative, and one that eight states have adopted to fight domestic methamphetamine production while maintaining consumer access to these medicines."

Indiana is also moving to restrict pseudoephedrine, but not to make it prescription-only. The state Senate voted 46-4 Tuesday to approve SB 383, which limits customers to 3.6 grams of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine in one day and nine grams of the drugs in one month. That bill now heads to the House.

Law Enforcement: Utah "Meth Cops" Lose Out on Health Claims

More than 50 Utah law enforcement officers have filed workers compensation claims over ailments they believe were caused by exposure to methamphetamine labs, but none have been approved, and most have been dismissed for lack of evidence or because officers sought dismissal in a bid to come up with evidence. Only five cases are still pending.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/methlab4.jpg
meth lab
"They have to have enough evidence to justify the claims," said Carla Rush, adjudication manager for the Utah Labor Commission, which handles the claims. "Preferably a doctor saying they have been injured in a work-related exposure to meth. That would be the best evidence."

Scores of Utah police officers participated in breaking down clandestine meth labs in the 1980s and 1990s, wearing only standard police-issue uniforms. That was before they understood the caustic nature of some of the chemicals involved in cooking meth. Now, officers on meth lab duty wear air tanks and hazmat suits.

Those officers from the old days began filing claims asserting that a variety of physical ailments they were suffering were the result of meth lab exposure. By 2006, the Utah legislature commissioned a half-million dollar study to explore the issue. But that study, which was meant to establish a causal link between meth exposure and everything from cancer to nerve damage, was inconclusive.

The state has also paid out tens of thousands of dollars to the Utah Meth Cops Project for a scientifically unsupported detox regime backed by the Church of Scientology. But toxicologists say that toxins would have left the officers' bodies long ago, and the detox program is little more than quackery.

How about a study of legalization, to eliminate the meth lab problem once and for all -- followed by a detox from the consequences of prohibition?

Are Cocaine Users Killing the Rainforest?

The argument that cocaine users are destroying the environment is rapidly leading its proponents into a spiraling abyss of irony and incoherence:

If you're into charlie, snow, or a few lines of snort, Colombia's Vice President Francisco Santos Calderón has a message for you: your cocaine use is a "predator of the rain forest" and a serious threat to human life.

"Cocaine use requires a disposable income and during the week many users drive hybrid cars and recycle. Then, on the weekend, he or she destroys everything they believe in," Calderón said. [Huffington Post]

Wait, what!? Did he just say that cocaine users are successful and well-educated? Shall police start profiling Prius drivers for drug searches? I remember the good old days when cocaine was supposed to make you steal things and kill people.

I can’t even begin to imagine why you’d argue that cocaine is part of a healthy lifestyle if your goal is to make people stop doing it. If all this is true, then we can conclude rather easily that the problem with cocaine is how it’s produced and sold (which can be changed) rather than what happens when people use it (which cannot).

The two options are 1) illicit cocaine cultivation in the rainforest, or 2) regulated cultivation somewhere else. There is no third option in which everyone agrees not to do coke. If you wait for that to happen while the rainforests burn, you’re a bigger part of the problem than the party people who drive Priuses.

Press Release: Reformers Call For New Policy to Protect Forests From Marijuana Farms

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
OCTOBER 14, 2008

Reformers Call For New Policy to Protect Forests From Marijuana Farms
New Approach Needed to Curb Environmental Damage, Advocates Say

CONTACT: Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications ............... 415-668-6403 or 202-215-4205

SAN FRANCISCO -- Recent alarming reports of environmental damage caused by illegal marijuana farms in national forests and wilderness areas in California and elsewhere show that an entirely new approach is needed in order to solve the problem, officials of the Marijuana Policy Project said today.

    "Year after year we hear from law enforcement and U.S. Forest Service officials about growing environmental damage caused by these criminal operations, even as law enforcement seizures of marijuana plants set new records every year," said Bruce Mirken, MPP's California-based director of communications. "What we've been doing is plainly not working and has actually caused the problem in the first place. It's time to get off the treadmill and try a new approach."

    An Oct. 13 Associated Press story quoted Forest Service agent Ron Pugh describing the problem as "a crisis at every level."

    "California is a world-leading producer of two popular psychoactive drugs -- marijuana and wine," Mirken said. "California's wine industry is a huge asset to our state's economy and reputation, generating tax revenue, tourism and prestige, with no meaningful environmental problems. There is no reason marijuana should be different. They're both agricultural products, and there is nothing inherently dangerous about marijuana cultivation. The difference is that wine is legally regulated, while we consign marijuana -- the state's leading cash crop, based on government figures -- to the criminal underground where it is completely unregulated and untaxed, while all the profits go to criminals. In the process, we've effectively invited the violence from the Mexican drug trade over our borders. The problem isn't marijuana, the problem is dumb policy."

    "Last year the number of Americans who have used marijuana reached an all-time record of over 100 million. It's time to stop imagining that we can make this industry go away and time to start bringing it under responsible regulation just like our wine industry."

    With more than 25,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.

####
Location: 
CA
United States

Save the Rainforest From the Drug War

U.S.-sponsored efforts to fumigate Colombian coca crops have utterly failed to prevent cocaine production. But they have been very effective at destroying Colombia's national parks:
Leftist rebels, right-wing paramilitaries, and narcos that control the billion-dollar cocaine trade have invaded the 2.5-million-acre Macarena, laying waste to much of it to plant coca. Most of Colombia's 48 other national parks and nature reserves are suffering similar fates. Chased from more accessible sites by U.S.-sponsored aerial fumigation, coca growers relentlessly clear forests knowing that they are beyond the reach of the U.S.-Colombian fleet of planes because spraying of the parks is prohibited by law. [Los Angeles Times]
So what's next? Are we gonna spray crop killers on this precious irreplaceable ecosystem? Doing that will just force the drug lords to burrow deeper, leaving an ever-expanding trail of flaming destruction in their tracks.

Let's face it, rainforests are awesome. They are filled with jaguars, anacondas, and large spiders that eat chickens. I don't know what kinds of animals live in Colombian forests specifically, but I'm sure there are some wicked cool creatures in there that are worth saving.

Unfortunately, there's nothing in this entire LA Times article that even vaguely resembles a plan for stopping drug traffickers from completely destroying everything. The Colombians' best idea is literally to ask that people please stop doing cocaine, a plan so useless it isn't worth the trees that died to print it out. We are on an irreversible trajectory towards the total permanent destruction of many of the world's most unique natural resources as long as current efforts to thwart illicit drug production continue. That is just a fact.

This would all be a terrible price to pay to get rid of cocaine, except that we haven't even come close to accomplishing that and we never will. Invaluable natural resources are being destroyed for nothing. Only by ending the drug war immediately can we even begin to address this rapidly expanding ecological crisis.
Location: 
United States

Marijuana: Drug Czar Calls Pot Growers Dangerous Terrorists

In a bout of rhetorical excess unusual even for the nation's drug czar, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) head John Walters called California marijuana growers "violent criminals" and "terrorists" who wouldn't think twice about helping foreign terrorists enter the country to cause mass casualties. Walters made his remarks at a June 12 press conference in Redding, California as he lauded paramilitarized teams of law enforcement personnel conducting raids on marijuana grows on public lands in Shasta County.

People need to get over their "reefer blindness" and realize that drugs "fund terror and violence," Walters said in remarks reported by the Redding Record-Searchlight. As for pot growers tending crops on public land in the area: "These people are armed, they're dangerous," Walters said, calling them "violent criminal terrorists."

Upon reflection, the ONDCP noted the following day in its blog that Walter's comments were all good. "Do you have Reefer Blindness?" the blog post asked, qualifying the Redding Record-Searchlight story as "a good story" and displaying no second thoughts about Walters' incendiary rhetoric.

Unfortunately, no reporters present at the Walters press event challenged him on the role of marijuana prohibition in promoting violence or pushing marijuana growers onto public lands. Nor did anyone challenge him to present the least scintilla of evidence for his claim that marijuana growers would happily aid and abet Al Qaeda-style terrorists in attacking their fellow citizens. That is a good thing for Walters, because there simply isn't any.

Meth production down in state, but use is not

Location: 
SC
United States
Publication/Source: 
Spartanburg Herald Journal (SC)
URL: 
http://www.goupstate.com/article/20070707/NEWS/707070324/-1/BUSINESS

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