cannabisnews.com: Police, Pot Advocates Debate Marijuana Use





Police, Pot Advocates Debate Marijuana Use
Posted by CN Staff on November 21, 2006 at 18:48:47 PT
By Dylan Darling, Record Searchlight
Source: Record Searchlight
California -- Bruce Mirken says he has a simple solution to the pot garden problem in the north state. Legalize it. "When marijuana is outlawed, only outlaws will grow marijuana," said Mirken, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project in San Francisco. "What we have is the guaranteed result of the laws we have."
Many of the law enforcement officers who spend their summers and early falls raiding the gardens and the prosecutors who try to convict the growers agree that the stateís marijuana laws should be changed. But they want to see them made more strict, putting more of a pinch on those who grow pot. Even with tougher laws, something would need to be done to diminish the demand for pot, said Ross Butler, assistant special agent-in-charge at the U.S. Bureau of Land Managementís office in Sacramento. "The real solution is to reduce people's appetite for marijuana," he said. "As long as you have people smoking it, you are going to have people growing it." While the debate continues over whether selling marijuana should be legal, the pot garden problem in the north state persists. Over the past decade, marijuana gardens hidden on public land have grown in size and number. In addition to being illegal, the gardens are considered a public safety risk by law enforcement officials and a blight on the environment by land managers. Law enforcement agencies continue to raid these gardens because they aren't grown to supply medical needs, they're grown for "pure profit," said McGregor Scott, U.S. attorney for California's eastern district and former Shasta County district attorney.  Conflicting LawsPart of the problem with marijuana is that it is regarded differently by state and federal governments. Under state law, pot can be considered medicine. Since 1996, people with a doctor's recommendation can grow and possess it. "I consider it to be a medicine," said Chris Conrad, a marijuana proponent in the San Francisco Bay area who has been studying the plant since 1988. He has a doctor's note allowing him to use marijuana in the state and said he hopes the drug will someday be approved by the federal government as a way to treat ailments such as cataracts and cancer. But the federal government regards marijuana as a dangerous drug. Since 1971, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has classified drugs in five categories. The federal drug schedules, or lists, determine how they should be regulated. Marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which means it has a "high potential for abuse and no accepted medical uses," said Gordon Taylor, who heads the DEA region that runs from Bakersfield to the Oregon border. Schedule II drugs, which have a high potential for abuse but an accepted medical use, include methamphetamine and cocaine, according to the DEA. Taylor said action needs to be taken to stop the normalization of pot through the medical marijuana movement, and the effort to reduce the demand for it needs to continue. "That can only be done through increased education and treatment," Taylor said. In addition to conflicting state and federal laws, there are differing penalties for marijuana cultivation. While the county of residence dictates the limit of plants for medicinal use, those convicted of cultivating thousands of plants usually don't get more than three years in state prison, said Jerry Benito, Shasta County District Attorney. In contrast, penalties for marijuana convictions in federal court range from five years in prison to a life sentence, depending on the number of plants and whether the grower has a criminal history. Benito said stiffer state penalties would help curb the growth of large marijuana gardens. "When you don't have sufficient punishment, it's hard to make people not do it," Benito said.   All In The NumbersWhen it comes to pot gardens in the north state, it's the numbers that often grab attention -- and also get federal agencies involved. Thousands of plants are uprooted from hillsides and drainages in Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama and Trinity counties each year. If the cut and dried marijuana buds had made it out of the woods, they would have been sold for billions of dollars, said police officers and sheriff's deputies. The latest report by the state Department of Justice, released Oct. 30, estimates that nearly 1.7 million plants -- worth more than $6.7 billion -- were pulled out in federally funded raids throughout the state this year. But some question how the numbers are crunched to determine how much pot pulled from a garden would have been worth. A pot plant is worth only as much as the amount of bud it can produce. Most law enforcement officials around the north state use an estimate of more than 1 pound of buds per plant. That puts their estimated value of one pot plant at $4,500. Most plants produce much less than a pound, said Conrad, the marijuana proponent. A female marijuana plant -- the male plants don't produce buds -- produces about 4 ounces of usable pot, or a quarter of a pound, he said. The going price for marijuana grown outdoors in the state is $250 per ounce, Conrad said. Using his figures, each plant would be worth $1,000. Plugging that into the Department of Justice tally of plants cuts the wholesale estimate by $5 billion, down to about $1.7 billion. Raids Go On Regardless of how much the pot might have fetched on the streets, the federal government is willing to spend money to raid pot gardens in the hills. Shasta, Siskiyou and Tehama counties all received $118,905 this year from federal grants distributed by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, said spokesman Eric Lamoureux. Trinity County doesn't get funding from the office for marijuana eradication. Greg Sullivan, a DEA special agent with the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, refused to say how much money was spent battling pot gardens in the north state this year. "That's just not something the DEA is willing to release," he said. The effort to raid and clear the gardens in the north state isn't cheap. Most raids involve a helicopter, which rents for $500 an hour, and several officers working long hours, often on overtime. It's an effort that will continue as long as there is an illicit marijuana market. "We are going to continue to raid the gardens," said Dave Burns, a special agent with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Redding who spends summer and early fall raiding gardens. "That's really all we can do." Complete Title: Cultivating Solutions: Police, Pot Advocates Debate Marijuana UseNewshawk: MayanSource: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)Author: Dylan Darling, Record Searchlight Published: November 21, 2006Copyright: 2006 Record Searchlight Contact: letters redding.comWebsite: http://www.redding.com/Related Articles & Web Site:Marijuana Policy Projecthttp://www.mpp.org/Officials Try To Make Federal Case Against Pothttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread22394.shtmlMarijuana is Big Business in Remote Foresthttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread22391.shtml
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Comment #18 posted by ekim on November 22, 2006 at 09:02:25 PT
was not a silver star given for such an effort
wonder how long before mad is calling for all our guns,mad is saying that more ck stops should happen.do this mean the cops should be going house to house by the way on NPR Fresh Air now is about a narc and story called Wire
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Comment #17 posted by Truth on November 22, 2006 at 08:43:58 PT
yeah
"To the COPS: Lick your wounds. Turn in your guns. Join LEAP. Do this now. Please."I second that!
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on November 22, 2006 at 08:42:38 PT
Comment 7 MaiBongCity
To be honest...I don't know what to think, about comment 7, at least. That's way over my worried about the turkey brain to comprehend today.
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Comment #15 posted by Toker00 on November 22, 2006 at 08:23:58 PT
BGreen
Wow. She tagged all three of them. That's not funny. HA! Yes it is! LOL! I apologize to God and every one else, but she stopped three arrogant cops before they stopped her. Bless her. To the COPS: Lick your wounds. Turn in your guns. Join LEAP. Do this now. Please.Wage peace on war. END CANNABIS PROHIBITION NOW!
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Comment #14 posted by potpal on November 22, 2006 at 08:14:38 PT
DEAth squads
From what I've learned on 'Weeds', there are only 400 or so DEA agents. How many are in CA during the summer landscaping on the taxpayers dollars? Sweet gig...overtime!
Camping and hiking! Lighting up a lil' evidence.This is dripping with the same boneheaded prohibitionist illogic that seemingly all leos and prosecutors love to spout. You cannot get someone to understand something when his paycheck depends on his not understanding it...Upton Sinclair Cannabis was there in the garden of Eden, no DEAth squad to yank 'em though, they were hiding up a tree.  Just because he's not willing to discuss the cost to the American taxpayer for this yearly exercise in landscaping, doesn't mean the figure is classified.Treatment is needed for the prohibitionist to teach them how to think logically and act humanely. Just how many of the leos that take part in this endeavor are corrupt? How many are tainted by prohibition, protect one grower over another, steal evidence, leak locations, etc. Are we to believe they are untouchable? How many have brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors that they are aware of that use cannabis? Surely, the answer to the latter is zilch.Even under the penalty of DEAth, people will grow cannabis.Let it grow.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on November 22, 2006 at 07:35:08 PT
BGreen
That's terrible. 
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Comment #12 posted by BGreen on November 22, 2006 at 07:32:26 PT
Not if they're shouting "Police!".
Unfortunately, the home invaders know that and routinely pose as cops.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on November 22, 2006 at 07:28:42 PT
BGreen
My husband and I were just talking about this incident. It is so darn sad and wrong. She made it until she was 90 and then shot down by a Swat Team or Police whichever. Aren't people allowed to shoot at a possible home invader? 
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Comment #10 posted by BGreen on November 22, 2006 at 07:21:36 PT
God, I feel SO much safer (shaking head "no")
Woman, 92, slain in shootout with policeATLANTA - The niece of a 92-year-old woman shot to death by police said her aunt likely had reason to shoot three narcotics investigators as they stormed her house.http://206.190.35.122/s/ap/20061122/ap_on_re_us/elderly_shootoutI'll bet those cops are prouderthanshit about smoking this old lady. Is this REALLY what they're fighting for?The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on November 22, 2006 at 06:36:52 PT
Hope
I will e-mail you and let you know about this new possible complication for my sister's children. It's Thanksgiving tomorrow and one thing I really believe is we should count our blessings because we just don't know how our future will be. Whig yes that is what Paget's Disease is. Thank you. That is actually the minor problem for them now.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on November 22, 2006 at 06:31:58 PT
Good News: Final OK for Eased Pot Enforcement
By Charlie GoodyearWednesday, November 22, 2006  
 The Board of Supervisors gave final approval Tuesday to legislation that would set most marijuana-related crimes as the lowest law enforcement priority for the San Francisco Police Department. The board voted 7-3 to approve the legislation, sponsored by Supervisor Tom Ammiano. Under the legislation, the city's police force would be directed to essentially ignore most marijuana offenses unless the crimes involve minors, acts of violence, sales on public property or driving under the influence. Police officials have said the legislation is consistent with department policy. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/11/22/BAGC2MI0FS1.DTL
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Comment #7 posted by mai_bong_city on November 22, 2006 at 06:27:30 PT
your thoughts?
maybe i'm crazy, well i know i am, but that's beside the point. i would just like to know how any of you would interpret this little snippet of the ADA - to me, it sure looks interestin'. i'm disabled, and under the supervision of a treating medical professional - um....this is federal law, right? am i losing my mind completely or does this imply it is not considered an 'illegal drug' under these guidelines? hmm.....(d) Definition of Illegal use of drugs.--(1) In general.--The term "illegal use of drugs" means the use of drugs, the possession or distribution of which is unlawful under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812). Such term does not include the use of a drug taken under supervision by a licensed health care professional, or other uses authorized by the Controlled Substances Act or other provisions of Federal law.(2) Drugs.--The term "drug" means a controlled substance, as defined in schedules I through V of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act.this is listed twice, under discrimination in employment and then in section 510 under 'other issues' - correct me if i'm wrong, but i read this to say that use of a drug - ANY DRUG - under medical supervision is NOT ILLEGAL? for a person with a disability covered under this act? whoa. of course - USE is emphasized - not the possession or cultivation thereof, i guess. still. there should be a way to use this to forward progress and help the sick and help the docs too.
well. i thought it was interestin'.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on November 22, 2006 at 05:29:18 PT
Careful with the calcium.
Back when they were trying to get my arm to heal, after I broke it and "stretched and exercised" it...to help it get well because I didn't realize I'd broken it smooth in half...I took extra calcium, among other things, to aid my bone in healing.The point...I'm getting to it...I've experienced that strange and sudden feeling of a heavy depression right out of the blue. It's the Calcium...in high doses it can cause depression...instantly...and if not profound...strange.FoM, I'm really sorry that there was another bad diagnosis for your family members. I'm so sorry.
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Comment #5 posted by whig on November 21, 2006 at 22:47:57 PT
Paget's disease
Here is my very lay understanding, so far.Paget's causes a fragile skeleton, with bones that are too soft and rubbery due to a bone growth malfunction.It can affect a lot more than bones, but this seems to be the principle symptom and indirectly cause of the other problems that can occur when important bones, like the skull, are too weak and/or flexible.Pain is a serious problem for people with Paget's, and at the very least cannabis should help with that. As for the condition itself, hard to say what I would do. I know bisphosphonates are prescribed but I know people have problems with those and I declined them for my own condition.Probably calcium and vitamin D would help, but I'm not sure how much. If the body doesn't use them properly, for whatever reason, they may do less good.That's as much as I've got for now.
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Comment #4 posted by whig on November 21, 2006 at 22:01:58 PT
What kind of national security matter is it?
Greg Sullivan, a DEA special agent with the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, refused to say how much money was spent battling pot gardens in the north state this year."That's just not something the DEA is willing to release," he said.Shouldn't it be a matter of public record?
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on November 21, 2006 at 20:01:58 PT
speaking of profit
Law enforcement agencies continue to raid these gardens because they aren't grown to supply medical needs, they're grown for "pure profit," said McGregor Scott, U.S. attorney for California's eastern district and former Shasta County district attorney.So medical cannabis gardens are for "pure profit". What are the Ambien and Lunesta factories for? Strictly for taking care of people's "medical needs", right.  That's why the price they charge Medicare and the insurance companies is so high. Three times higher than in Canada. We have 3 times as much medical need! Green butterfly? Ka-ching. Green plant? *clink* you get jail.
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Comment #2 posted by Truth on November 21, 2006 at 19:51:19 PT
bull
"That's really all we can do." No it's not. You could try treating cannabis smokers with the same consideration given to alcohol drinkers.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on November 21, 2006 at 19:45:21 PT
EDUCATION IS OUR FRIEND.
Gordon Taylor, who heads the DEA has a narrow thinking brain."...no accepted medical uses..."According to thousands of years of documented use, Taylor is wrong; He can not tell the truth or even acknowledge the potential truth, or risk loss of His paycheck.Taylor thinks it is right to put cannabis; the plant in the same catagory as heroin and LSD. Any clear thinking person knows better.Taylor said, "That (stop the normalization of pot) can only be done through increased education and treatment," Is Taylor stupid enough to not control His tongue?EDUCATION NORMALIZES CANNABIS.EDUCATION IS WHAT WILL END CANNABIS PROHIBITION.EDUCATION IS GOOD FOR THE CANNABIS MOVEMENT.EDUCATION IS THE ENEMY OF THE DEA. 420The DEA is ignorant.Ending cannabis prohibition is an educated choice.P L A N TThe cannabis issue exposes who is who.And it does so on a spiritual level.
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