MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS
MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924
Huge Pot Bust Near Dogtown;
Eco-Terrorists Claim It Wasn't Them
By Don Deane
Millions of dollars of immature marijuana plants were ripped from the ground by federal rangers on July 20th. With the help of helicopters and all-terrain vehicles at the southern end of the Point Reyes National Seashore, plants were hauled to an undisclosed location.
Local eco-terrorists claimed no responsibility for the operation. The sophisticated pot plantation was replete with a well and a drip irrigation system. The Bolinas Border Patrol had no comment on the park police action. No arrests were made.
The typical federal park arrest for growing marijuana produces a charge of "manufacturing" marijuana and possession with the intent to distribute. Park marijuana arrests are aggressively prosecuted.
Park visitors and growers rarely cross paths as pot farms are in areas with little public appeal, according the LA Times which did an August 9, 2005 story titled "War of the Weed."
Park rangers and administrators are concerned that growers tend to poach wildlife, spill pesticides, divert water from streams and dump tons of trash, the Times article said.
In 2004, 100,000 marijuana plants were pulled up from national parks in California.
Rumors that supporters of the park are supplementing shrinking park budgets with growing, harvesting and marketing marijuana are completely without foundation according to one official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
And according to the Times, "Pot growers are no longer the stereotype of hapless hippies. They are part of sophisticated criminal organizations schooled on the Colombian cartels' economy of scale," according to William Ruzzamenti, a 30-year Drug Enforcement Administration official.
Californians continue to deal a schizophrenic split between federal and state laws. Marijuana arrests are a low priority in California where citizens can get a card which makes it OK to smoke the herb and grow enough for one or two persons. The federal government continues to see marijuana as "killer weed," a major menace to society.
Marijuana smokers are arrested in the United States at a rate of one every 41 seconds. FBI statistics say there were 771,608 marijuana arrests in 2004. Of those charged with marijuana violations, 89 percent or 684,319 Americans were charged with possession only. The remaining 87,289 were charged with "sale/manufacture," Most of the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use.
The total number of marijuana arrests in the US for 2004 far exceeded the total number of arrests in the US for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Marijuana arrests have more than doubled since 1993.
"Arresting adults who smoke marijuana responsibly, needlessly destroys the lives of tens of thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens each year," National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORMAL) Executive Director Allen St. Pierre says, adding that over 8 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges in the past decade. During this same time, arrests for cocaine and heroin have declined sharply, indicating that increased enforcement of marijuana laws is being achieved at the expense of enforcing laws against the possession and trafficking of more dangerous drugs.
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