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Friday, August 31, 2007

This Week on Drugs

posted by on August 31 at 14:37 PM

The Final Days of Summer: Gentle breezes, warm nights, and the roar of helicopters over quiet mountain communities in Eastern Washington. It’s harvest time. Local police departments team up with the DEA and National Guard in the sky to identify marijuana by its telltale hue, yielding tens of thousands of pot plants and hundreds of arrests. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, really—pot is Washington’s second-largest cash crop, after apples.


Despite seemingly enormous returns, the helicopter strafes are mostly an air show. Nary a dent is made in the pot market, as Dan points out. Pot is still readily available; it’s still the same price; and it still hands hefty fourth-quarter profits to the Zip-Loc Corporation.

A report earlier this year estimated Washington annually produces about $1 billion worth of marijuana (it’s the nation’s top cash crop at just over $35 billion). A huge bust outside Yakima yesterday yielded 6,500 marijuana plants, worth a purported $9,750,000—even if each plant fetched an unrealistic $1,500, the impressive haul represents less than one percent of Washington’s untaxed pot crop.


The Drug Czar contends the work is an essential component of national security. Late last month he marched reporters through the woods of Northern California, attempting to reverse the nation’s blasé “reefer blindness.” Marijuana growers are “violent criminal terrorists” who wouldn’t hesitate to help other terrorists get into the country with the aim of causing mass casualties, he told them.

Although mainstream media outlets are staffed with critical thinkers on virtually every other issue, most reporters can’t resist the fervor when it comes to these heroic eradication efforts. Drug busts are part of the crime beat, see, and these here pot growers are criminals, see. That’s the story. No mention is made of the cost of conducting the busts or the collateral expenses, such as rescuing a bunch of officers trapped in the Columbia River Gorge earlier this month. No mention of the poor saps who get sent up the river. So, without a peep about the busts’ futility, another annual cycle of articles crop up here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. What tools.

Denver’s Mayor and Four Councilmembers Inhaled: But what about Greg Nickels? Jan Drago and Jean Godden…?

Jail Bird Seed: Japanese authorities struggle to eradicate pot plants from penitentiary grounds.

Bees That Has Honey in Their Mooths Has Stings in Their Tails: All-time high for Scotland drug overdose deaths.

White Lightning Is No Longer the Biggest Thrill of All: They got a meth lab in Muskogee.

Powder Reversal: Cocaine out of vogue for educated; uneducated are now the blowhards.

In Pakaderm Junkie News: Heroin-addicted elephant released to jungle.

Let Pictures Do the Talking: UK to issue graphic cigarette warning labels.

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"even if each plant fetched an unrealistic $1,500"

What's so unrealistic about that? Yields per plant are huge for outdoor operations. The last one that I umm heard about netted well over a pound per plant and sold for nearly $2k per pound.

Posted by Bison | August 31, 2007 2:51 PM

.” Marijuana growers are “violent criminal terrorists” who wouldn’t hesitate to help other terrorists get into the country with the aim of causing mass casualties,"

Right, because as EVERYONE KNOWS, the first objective of marijuana growers is to kill as many of their customers as possible.


Posted by COMTE | August 31, 2007 2:54 PM

Yet again, this is why we need to replace these ineffective Republicants.

I remember when we exported MJ. But now most of our hard drugs come from Afghanistan ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 31, 2007 2:59 PM

It's certainly possible, Bison @ 1 (in fact, I gave them the benefit of the doubt). But most growers don't average a pound per plant or sell outdoor weed at top dollar. Lots of outdoor plants end up kinda scraggly, and the plants that do grow large outdoors tend to produce shitty weed that's sold for less.

Posted by Dominic Holden | August 31, 2007 3:08 PM

I am so sick of this crap! Wasted money, time and lives.

Any journalist who questions the legitimacy of the drug war will win a hug from me.

Posted by Dianna | August 31, 2007 3:10 PM

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