December 11, 2010

Cartel Marijuana Grow Operations Are a Menace to the Movement

December 11, 2010

I received this from San Francisco’s ASA Chapter. It addresses the issue of cartel grow operations on public lands, and legislative efforts to eradicate them. I have always argued against cartel grow operations, because all they do is pump out crappy nugs and give the movement a bad reputation. In a perfect world, there would be no cartel grows, and conservatives wouldn’t be able to cling to their worthless arguments that try to associate legit growers with cartel operations

The truth is the American MMJ growers, old school underground growers, and the part time ‘closet cultivators’ have NOTHING to do with cartels. They never have been associated, and they never will be associated. Marijuana is a cottage industry in America, and God willing, it always will be. Cartels cut corners, are bad stewards of the land, pump out booty nugs, and are despised by anyone I know. Where I live, you can always tell cartel nugs because they look like fake ‘pretendica’ nugs with no crystals. It is mind boggling to me that cartels are even in the business of growing marijuana, because I don’t know who buys their crap. Anyhow, enough with the ranting. Here is the e-mail:


A resolution authored by U.S. Rep. Wally Herger geared toward urging federal agencies to take a more active role in getting pot growers off public lands passed the House overwhelmingly today (this e-mail was received December 9th, 2010).

The Chico Republican’s House Resolution 1540 calls for Congress to come up with a plan that would create a long-term solution to permanently dismantle the Mexican drug traffickers’ pot growing operations on federal lands.

The bill, cosponsored by six House Republicans from California, Texas and Utah, passed this morning on a 400 to 4 vote.

“This resolution is an important step and puts federal agencies on notice that this issue is a priority for Congress and they need to act,” Herger said today in a statement. “As we move forward into the 112th Congress, I will continue to push the federal government to live up to its responsibilities and use every tool at our disposal to put an end to this problem.”

Saying that local law enforcement agencies haven’t received enough manpower or funding from the federal government, whose land the growers are exploiting, Herger urges the Office of National Drug Control Policy to “develop a comprehensive and coordinated strategy” to fight drug trafficking.

The resolution doesn’t allocate a funding source.

Herger’s spokesman Matt Lavoie said that Herger recently arranged meetings with officials at a number of federal agencies. Herger asked them if they had enough funding to combat the growers, Lavoie said.

“It was something quite unusual to hear from a federal agency,” Lavoie said. “They said, ‘We’re absolutely satisfied with the level of funding we’re receiving,’ so it’s not a funding issue. It’s an issue of priorities. That’s where this resolution comes in to play.”

John Heil, a spokesman for the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service, which includes the north state, has said that in 2008, the Forest Service spent $15.1 million – about 11.5 percent – of its $131.9 million law enforcement budget to combat illegal marijuana growing.

In the years that followed, more officers have been assigned to help local and state agencies, he said.

In California, the Forest Service has 20 special agents dedicated to drug investigations as well as three special agents assigned to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko has said it’s not been nearly enough to help his county combat the growers flooding vast tracts of public lands.

He notes that Shasta County alone covers 3,800 square miles of surface area, the majority of which is owned by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. National Parks Service.

Some 630,000 plants were pulled in Shasta County last year, a record haul almost six times greater than what agents destroyed in 2005. That’s more than what’s confiscated in some states, Bosenko said.

And drug agents say that’s a fraction of what the cartels are growing in Shasta County each year.

The sheriff’s office does receive some federal help to help offset the costs.

Bosenko said that in the last year, his office received around $492,000 in federal grants and other cash to combat illegal marijuana growers.

Bosenko said he was thrilled that the House seemed to overwhelmingly understand the problem.

“I think it sends a very clear message that Congress recognizes the impact and the problems with illegal marijuana growing and dangers on public lands,” he said. “This is a great starting point to further develop a collaborative strategy, both at the federal and local level.”

In September, Herger sent a letter to his Democrat rivals asking them to support the resolution.

In his letter, Herger urged the currently Democratic-led Congress to consider the detrimental environmental effects marijuana growing has on public lands.

“In addition to posing a severe threat to the public, these plantations cause severe damage to the environmental health of the impacted lands,” Herger said in the letter. “Illegal marijuana growers spray considerable quantities of unregulated chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers; leave behind tons of trash and other debris; and tap into streams and other waterways in order to construct fairly complex irrigation systems.”

It costs close to $11,000 to clean up and restore a single acre of marijuana grow on federal lands, Herger said.

“I recently joined law enforcement in a marijuana eradication raid in the forests of Shasta County and saw firsthand the flourishing productivity of these foreign drug traffickers,” Herger said, referencing a trip he took this summer to a Shasta County marijuana grow. “North State law enforcement officials have worked diligently to eliminate this threat, but they do not have enough resources to ensure long-term success.”


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