Pubdate: Sat, 01 Sep 2007
Source: Merced Sun-Star (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Merced Sun-Star
Author: Bruce Mirken


Editor: Your Aug. 23 story, "County reaches record high in pot plant
busts" states, "The worst news is that the illegal intoxicant's prime
harvest months ... have yet to turn over on the calendar." The real
worst news is that these marijuana "eradication" campaigns have a
decades-long record of failure, and only make the problems associated
with marijuana cultivation worse.

According to a summary put out last October by then-Attorney General
Bill Lockyer, law enforcement seizures of marijuana plants in
California rose over 1,200 percent in the last decade, from 132,485 in
1997 to 1,675,681 in 2006. During that same period, marijuana became
California's number one cash crop, worth $13.8 billion -- nearly
double the combined value of the number two and three crops,
vegetables ($5.7 billion) and grapes ($2.6 billion).

The only proven result of marijuana "eradication" is the explosive
growth in marijuana cultivation in national parks and wilderness
areas: We have literally driven the producers into the hills. The
solution is to regulate and tax marijuana as we do wine, beer and
liquor. After all, there's a reason you never hear of criminal gangs
hiding vineyards in national parks.

It was disappointing that your story quoted only law enforcement
sources who can't be expected to objectively evaluate such campaigns.
I hope that next time you'll consider including some more skeptical
voices in your reporting. The Marijuana Policy Project is always happy
to assist.


Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project, San Francisco 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake