Pot a Major State Crop?

Pot a Major State Crop?
Posted by FoM on December 28, 1998 at 10:40:31 PT

 From the cornucopia of Colorado's bountiful agricultural harvest spills golden corn, fresh earthy potatoes, lifegiving wheat, and more than a little bit ofthe seven-leaf hazard known variously as pot, cheeba, mary jane or the doob.
The farmer in the dell isn't always driving a tractor and harvesting grains, according to a recent report from the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which favors legalizing the plants. Some of Colorado's highest crop values come straight from the marijuana plant, which the report claims is the fourth-largest cash crop statewide in terms of dollar value.The report, which uses rough estimates of the street value of marijuana and the amount of the plants grown illegally, claims pot growers across theUnited States harvested 8.7 million marijuana plants worth $15.1 billion in wholesale prices. That claim puts the crop fourth among the cash values of all U.S.crops.Marijuana would also rank fourth in Colorado, according to the report, with the amount harvested worth about $141 million to the growers. The report ranks it behind hay, corn for grain, and wheat.The study's author, Jon Gettman, said he used extremely conservative numbers in compiling the values of marijuana. The marijuana organization, which is known as NORML, said the report proves that the billions of dollars spent by law enforcement agencies to eradicate the illegal plants are a waste of taxpayer money."Marijuana cultivation is here to stay,'' said NORML executive director Allen St. Pierre. "The question is, do we continue with current, unsuccessful attempts to sanction growers and users, or do we try to harness this unregulated, multibillion-dollar-a-year industry?''Law enforcement officials in Colorado said they have no way of evaluating NORML's estimates, since they have no way of predicting how much marijuana escapes their eradication efforts and makes it to market. While Gettman saidit is an accepted practice among law enforcement agencies to say that about 35 percent of marijuana is seized by the government, Colorado officials were skeptical.Colorado agencies seized and destroyed 92,192 plants in the state in 1997,the year used for NORML's report, including 52,709 uncultivated, low-grade marijuana plants known as ditchweed."We eradicate 100 percent of what we come upon,'' said Drug EnforcementAgency spokesman Mark Holm. "If we know about it, we're going to eradicate it. We have no way of knowing what else is out there. I'd have a hard time understanding how someone else could make those kinds of estimates.''NORML puts Colorado 24th in the value of its pot production, well behind California at $3.9 billion. Holm said the Washington group's report may try to show the lighter side of the marijuana issue. But he said that placing marijuana and its growers on the same page as wheat farmers and hay stackers gives a misleading impression.There were also 95 weapons seized in association with all those plants taken in Colorado, Holm said. "So the people who are growing the marijuana are not necessarily harmless people.'' 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 29, 1998 at 08:29:36 PT
'misleading impressions' I agree!
What I've noticed when I'm looking for news is that they always mention weapons in a drug bust. Aren't we allowed to bear arms in America? I just assume most people have a weapon, I guess! I thought that we are still allowed to have weapons for self protection. At least for the time being! 
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Comment #1 posted by Netizen_James on December 29, 1998 at 06:17:02 PT:
'misleading impressions'
I wonder how many "wheat farmers and hay stackers" also own weapons? Does this make them harmfull people?
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