Pubdate: Mon, 03 Dec 2007
Source: Union Democrat, The (Sonora, CA)
Copyright: 2007 Western Communications, Inc
Author: Bruce Mirken, director of communications Marijuana Policy Project


To the Editor:

Your Nov. 15 story, "Pot busts way up in '07," omitted important
context regarding this record-setting year for California's Campaign
Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP). Despite a roughly 2,000 percent
increase in plant seizures over the past decade, there is no evidence
that CAMP has made even a dent in the supply of marijuana, which
remains the state's number one cash crop. The U.S. Department of
Justice's just-released National Drug Threat Assessment found that
these "eradication" campaigns are simply driving growers to new
locations - often indoor operations in residential neighborhoods. What
does the Justice Department predict for the future of "marijuana
eradication?" Let me quote their exact words: "Increased cannabis
cultivation may result in reduced marijuana prices. ... Criminal
groups that traditionally grew cannabis outdoors will likely move
operations indoors ... the groups will produce higher-potency
marijuana year-round, allowing for an exponential increase in
profits." This is crazy. If California regulated marijuana production
just as we regulate our wine industry, the problems associated with
marijuana cultivation would evaporate. After all, when was the last
time you heard of criminal gangs planting vineyards in national parks
or suburban homes?

Bruce Mirken,

director of communications Marijuana Policy Project,

Washington, D.C.
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