Pubdate: Tue, 28 Mar 2000
Date: 03/28/2000
Source: Kalamazoo Gazette (MI)
Author: Gregory Smith

In the full-page diatribe about marijuana (Associated Press article
headlined "Marijuana flourishes in U.S. forests," Page C1, March 10)
the U.S. forest Service is quoted complaining that marijuana growers
are cutting down public trees and spraying herbicides.

The Forest Service works for the timber industry. The Forest Service
cuts and maintains, at the timber corporations' behest, all the roads
that lead to clearcutting of public forests by private companies.
These roads sustain erosion of public land and subsequent siltation of
public rivers and streams. The Forest Service facilitates the
elimination of forests and life therein.

The Forest Service supports the use of herbicides and pesticides by
private companies who try to replant their devastated clear-cuts.
These momocultures need herbicides and pesticides to survive, having
been deprived of the natural surroundings that otherwise protects them
from epidemics.

To compare this colossal amount of clear-cutting and use of toxins to
the minuscule amount of clear-cutting done by marijuana growers is a
monstrous distortion.

Comparing the toxins sprayed on corn and hops for the production of
liquor and beer and on tobacco for cigarettes to the amount sprayed on
marijuana is laughable. It's comparing teaspoons to oceans.

The San Bernadino County Sheriff Department is quoted as saying the
marijuana growers "don't pay for the land and they don't pay for the
water and they don't pay very much for their overhead because they use
illegal workers."

That describes exactly what timber companies do. They don't pay for
the land, they don't pay for the water, and they don't pay very much
for their overhead because the Forest Service cuts their roads and the
public pays for the destruction to the land and water.

The DEA agent is quoted, regarding marijuana, as saying that 'heroin,
cocaine and drugs that people are dying from tend to get a higher
priority as far as enforcement goes."

Here's the news. Tobacco and alcohol are the drugs that people are
dying from - tobacco at 400,000 per year and alcohol at 10,000 of so.
And no known deaths resulted from marijuana use. None. Zero.

Meanwhile, this idiotic article suggests that what is needed is more
guys with guns patrolling people's backyards in search of marijuana
plants. If the yields are anywhere near what the writer suggests,
we'll all be engaged in growing, selling, enforcing of paying each
other off for doing of not doing it.

The article says that one plant equals 2.2 pounds of sellable product.
Which, of course, is insane. A goodsize maple sapling doesn't yields 2
pounds of dried leaves. Imagine going out into a field and stripping 2
pounds of dried plant stuff from any 10-foot plant in the world.

We're paying more to prevent marijuana growth on our national lands
than the cost of permitting it. Unless you use Drug Enforcement Agency
math, in which case I want two plants, please.

But speaking of math, the tobacco folks get paid to grow a product
that kills, and they get to advertise. Timber companies get subsidized
by the U.S. Forest Service with roads, and they get to clear-cut your
trees and kill your salmon.

Gregory Smith