Pubdate: Mon, 22 Oct 2007
Source: Eagle-Tribune, The (MA)
Copyright: 2007 The Eagle-Tribune
Author:  Steven S. Epstein


To the editor:

The price support provided by prohibition is what  makes marijuana 
growing a dangerous business because it draws organized crime  to the 
business.  The Deer Jump Reservation farmers are not such  villains. 
If you do not agree, go read the police reports and search  warrant 
applications.  Out of curiosity I did!

These farmers did  not resist and had not set booby traps.  They had 
no weapons with them  or in their homes.  Given the location of the 
plants, it is unlikely an  innocent citizen would stumble upon them 
and been at risk, but you raise that  specter.  It is unfortunate 
that Detective Robitaille was injured during  a follow-up inspection 
of the reservation when he rolled the ATV he was  riding over on his 
leg. His apparent negligent operation is not the  farmers' fault.

Nor does it appear the farmers were in it for  profit.  Everything 
seized is an amount more consistent with personal  use over the 
coming year than for profit.  According to Federal  guidelines, the 
plants seized would yield two and a quarter pounds of  merchantable 
product. My own experience defending such charges and  speaking to 
experts is that the yield would be no more than two pounds.   The 
marijuana found drying in one suspect's home and the 40 small 
bags  allegedly found in their homes hardly amounts to a "large 
quantity of  marijuana."  My informed opinion is these bags and 
drying marijuana  amount to no more than another pound.

This episode reinforces what I've  been saying for decades: it is 
time we legalized it, regulated it and tax it  like alcohol, after 
all when is the last time you read of a still being found  in the woods.

Steven S. Epstein
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom