Pubdate: Tue, 28 Mar 2000
Source: Kalamazoo Gazette (MI)
Copyright: 2000 Kalamazoo Gazette
Contact:  401 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo, MI. 49007
Fax: (616) 388-8447
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

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

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

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

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.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D