I read a press release today from the Wisconsin State Department of Natural Resources, which is asking hikers, hunters, and fishers to help report large scale marijuana grow operations on public lands. The first question I had was ‘when did Wisconsin become a hot bed for large scale marijuana grow operations?!’ I was always under the impression that Wisconsin, along with most of that part of the nation, was not an ideal environment for outdoor grow ops. But I guess that hasn’t stopped cartels from trying to grow some low grade bammer on US soil; apparently there were two major grow ops in Shawano and Buffalo counties last year.
The Wisconsin campaign is far from the first in the nation, but it already ranks near the top of the list in regards to its potential to create mass hysteria. The Department of Natural Resources is teaming up with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and will be launching surveillance flights, foot patrols, and putting up posters in parks and forests. Some of the items that they are asking people to look out for make sense; huts, makeshift structures, and chemical containers. But other stuff on the list seems like it could result in citizens calling the authorities on ordinary people; items include tents, water bottles, and small clearings. Hopefully people act rationally, but you never know, there are some crazy people out there these days!
With that being said, I am a firm believer in eradicating cartel grow operations. Maybe if responsible growers were in charge of the operations, I would change my mind. However, cartels use the plant I love to fund atrocities that I despise, give nothing back to the community, and give the legalization movement a black eye with every seed they plant. Think about it; if cartels were not involved in marijuana in anyway, what would conservatives have to say? I am so tired of being a medical marijuana patient and legalization activist, and having conservatives lump me into the same category as some mafia drug lord.
In my home State of Oregon, we have busts like the two in Wisconsin EVERY summer. Only we don’t have two; we had over 40 last summer with over 228,000 plants confiscated. When you consider that Washington and California are dealing with the same problem (especially California), it’s not hard to see that this issue is not going away anytime soon.
Something must be done about it, but what? Should law enforcement be granted more power in order to combat the problem (please don’t say yes to that question!)? It seems like the same tactics that would help to eradicate cartel grow ops are almost surely going to be abused by law enforcement in order to carry out personal vendettas against harmless, domestic growers. It’s a tough situation for sure. The easiest solution would be if the feds and state agencies went after cartels and left domestic growers alone, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for such actions. The government is not exactly known for using logical reasoning…
Here is an excerpt from the Wisconsin press release, along with a photo of the poster/flyer that will be going up at state parks and forests:
“Local, state and federal law enforcement authorities are teaming up to prevent criminals from trying to use wild public lands to grow marijuana,” said Wisconsin Chief Conservation Warden Randy Stark. "These illegal drug operations disrupt the landscape, leave a costly mess to clean up, deprive the public of the intended use of their lands, and potentially put the public in danger. The best way to stop them is to shine a bright light on places they may plant and make it too risky for them to plant. Wisconsin is blessed with great public lands and wild places, and the public traverses and enjoys them throughout the year. We are grateful that law abiding citizens care enough about their public lands to be aware and report problems. Hikers, anglers and hunters should be alert, and if they see something that doesn't look right, they should report the find to local law enforcement authorities.”