Should Marijuana Be Legalized?

June 15, 2008

California — Each summer, the Napa Special Investigations Bureau runs a series of grow-op busts, taking down large areas in the Napa County hills where marijuana is growing. With each pot bust, NSIB leaders estimate the street value of the now-gone cash crop in the tens of millions of dollars.

I went along last year with Sgt. John Robertson of the county Sheriff’s Department to see the remnants of a large grow-op in the hills above Bothe Napa Valley State Park, seeing the destruction of natural vegetation, diversion of water and the trashed campsites set up by the growers/workers.

A small group of what were apparently well-armed men had been brought in from out of the area to spend 24 hours a day at the site, accessible by hiking up barely existing steep paths, and tend to a rather expansive cash crop.

Irrigation paths had been set up, where water was being diverted illegally from private property owners to nourish the pot plants. Large areas were set up as makeshift drying racks for the harvested plants, and the land itself was scarred from where vegetation had been ripped out to wake way for the marijuana growing operation.

Some of the plants had reached a height of a few feet above my head. I’m only 5-foot-9, so it is not ALL that impressive, but they were tall, nonetheless.

County crews had already cleared the vast majority of the plants by the time I arrived, leaving them in waist-high stacks throughout the site. The stacks were later hauled out by using helicopters to hoist them up and fly them out to be disposed of in some place marijuana users would have gathered in droves to inhale the burning remnants and rejoiced in the free contacts high.

This was not only a massive growing effort, it was a massive effort by county law enforcement to get rid of the illegal operation. Numerous people were involved in this overnight effort to try and catch the suspects, watch over the site until the daylight hours, and then rip out the plants and haul them away to be destroyed, only to set off the very next day in search of more grow-ops in the county.

I spent a few years living north of the border, seeing how the British Columbia populace — and the Canadian populace in general — placed far less of an emphasis on eradicating marijuana and finding marijuana users than takes place in the U.S. Seeing the differences leads me to ask …

Is this how money should be allocated in Napa County, to track down and clear these illegal grow-ops, or is there something different that should be done?

Maybe the emphasis should be on stopping petty thefts and crimes like car and house break-ins, where the majority of the thieves are stealing items just to resell them so they have money to but marijuana, meth and other illegal drugs.

Perhaps the need is to legalize marijuana, eliminating the need for secret growing operations and a force dedicated to getting rid of pot plants?

Source: Napa Valley Register (CA)


One Response to “Should Marijuana Be Legalized?”

  1. I think the real question is “Why Shouldn’t Cannabis be Legalize”. I haven’t heard anything from the government giving a good reason why it shouldn’t.

    Jamie at Cannabis News

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