Pubdate: Sat, 23 Jun 2007
Source: Burnaby Now, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Eric Johnson


Dear Editor:

Re: RCMP target grow ops, Burnaby NOW, June 13: "Cpl. Jane Baptista 
of the Burnaby RCMP noted the plants would have made more than 192,000 joints."

How does she know? A "joint" is not a standard of weight and measure 
of any type.

The same amount of cannabis can produce 284,000 joints, or 96,000 
joints, or perhaps 135,711, depending upon:

Total harvested yield of the plants (which in turn depends upon seed, 
growing skill, environmental conditions);

Final weight of dried harvested plants;

Final weight of manicured product;

Number of times the marijuana is repackaged;

Ultimate dampness of commercial end product at sale;

Ultimate amount of properly dried marijuana ready to be rolled; and

Amount lost to "dusting," of dry marijuana (we are talking about a 
lot of plants here. Dust results when a bud, or flowering top, is 
broken apart. Care is taken to save what can be saved, but the amount 
becomes significant when talking about this total amount).

To continue:

What type of marijuana is used (every strain produces a different set 
of effects within a well-understood range, from "let's go skiing" to 
"let's sit here and watch two movies," even if the THC content is the 
same. Preferences are varied, as with fine wine.);

Strength of marijuana used;

Skill level of joint roller;

Size of the cigarette paper;

Broad use of a rolling device or pre-formed 'cones';

What the occasion is;

How many people are gathered;

Desired remaining supply after producing one "joint";

How long the period available for smoking is;

Who owns the marijuana being smoked.

All of these things contribute to how a joint is rolled and therefore 
to how many will ultimately result. This number is simply impossible 
to predict.

So, as one can see, any attempt to divine the number of "joints," 
whatever that is, that can be produced from a given number of plants 
pulled at a grow op bust is absolute folly.

These alleged estimates are simply more scare-tactic propaganda 
employed by people in the business of pulling up pot plants for a living.

Why does law enforcement get a free pass on this type of claim?

Did your reporter check this claim in any way? (Did you when you were 
the reporter?)

Or was it simply parroted through like a good little citizen-deputy?

If Burnaby RCMP's marijuana enforcement team had claimed 1,920,000 
joints, would you have printed that, with no reference or 
corroboration, just as you did this claim?

Why is law enforcement always considered credible, and marijuana 
smokers not, especially as it regards how marijuana is 
used/grown/sold? Is it because marijuana smokers, sellers and growers 
are criminals by definition, with their every claim to expertise 
impeached by definition?

Meanwhile some police in Burnaby, who hopefully are not rolling or 
smoking joints and selling cannabis, and who thus have little actual 
experience with the consumption of marijuana, are considered experts 
at how many actual joints will be rolled when 341 plants are pulled, 
dried, processed, distributed.

Editor, just for the record, can you tell us, one, how a joint is, 
indeed, defined as a unit of weight and measure, and, two, what 
standard did Cpl. Baptista apply when she "noted the plants would 
have made more than 192,000 joints"?

Further, what if all that cannabis is smoked via a water pipe? Does 
none of it count? Is there a legal standard for a "bong hit," 
endorsed by a weights and measures authority?

Eric Johnson,

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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom