DEA private contractors?
September 12, 2014 7:35 AM   Subscribe

The fight to cleanup the environmental damage to forest land by illegal grows, has evidently spilled over to legal grows on private land, when armed private contractors dropped in by helicopter cut down a medical marijuana plot.
posted by 445supermag (59 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
She told KPIX 5 that she is following all the county regulations: 25 plants per parcel, the legal limit in Mendocino County. And she said the strain of cannabis she grows has no street value: It really is medicinal.

What she doesn't say is that she owns the land.
posted by Jahaza at 7:45 AM on September 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


And lol at medicinal pot not having street value. Just like no one buys oxycontin.
posted by empath at 7:46 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm glad the conservatives have come around to the environmental movement (he said facetiously) but you know, there's an easy way to stop these illegal grows: legalize it. Bam, problem solved. Oh wait, I forgot about all those illegal corn and soybean grows in the federal forests. Never mind.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:47 AM on September 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


Isn't this a bit like Blackwater operating within US borders?
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:49 AM on September 12, 2014


I can't figure out if the armed contractors were on private land or not. Or whether that woman had permission to grow there if it was not her land.

Armed contractors cutting down crops seems bad either way tho. If they're trying to stop people bulldozing hilltops because the growers couldn't get a permit, maybe pot should be legal so they could get a permit and then if they didn't get a permit it would actually be a violation of buildings codes or whatever to bulldoze the hill and not just some weird end run around chopping down pot plants.
posted by sio42 at 7:55 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm glad the conservatives have come around to the environmental movement (he said facetiously) but you know, there's an easy way to stop these illegal grows: legalize it. Bam, problem solved. Oh wait, I forgot about all those illegal corn and soybean grows in the federal forests. Never mind.

Yeah, if there's one thing for sure it's that the agricultural industry in America has environmental conservation interests first and foremost.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:56 AM on September 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


And lol at medicinal pot not having street value. Just like no one buys oxycontin.

There are plenty of strains that have virtually no THC. They don't get people high.
posted by entropone at 7:57 AM on September 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


I don't see illegal soybean grows in the Los Angeles National Forest, do you? That's the concern trolling that goes on about this: "They are destroying the environment in ways other than the ones officially sanctioned by government and society."
posted by entropicamericana at 7:58 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


100% in favor of legalization, i'll be voting for it when it comes up later this year in oregon, and also an advocate for the rights of citizens against the government, but...

the links do not prove the case implied in the hyperbolic framing of this fpp. a lot of these grows are mexican cartels who brought in illegal aliens (armed and ready to shoot at you) to work them, and my solution to that would be even more radical and political unpalatable than what you read. the links failed to illuminate an instance where someone growing it on their own land in compliance with california law had this happen, and if it ever does happen, some of the people i've been acquainted with in the past who do this are eminently prepared to defend themselves. the environmental damage described is a real, major problem.

also, yay santa rosa press-democrat! i've gotten my name in that rag a couple times, but not in the last 20 years.
posted by bruce at 8:10 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


There aren't illegal soybean grows because soybeans aren't worth growing like that. I haven't seen any realistic legalization scheme that would actually drop the price of cannabis low enough to be on par with soybeans.

All the legalization initiatives depend on keeping a relatively high street price for tax revenue-generation purposes. At least for the foreseeable future that is not going to change. The consensus for legalization, where it exists, rests heavily on the idea of "tax and regulate" not "lets make weed cheap as hell".

Even legalized, cannabis is likely to be like alcohol — which is made by organisms that are literally everywhere, and can be manufactured in a toilet if you are really motivated; easier than growing cannabis by an order of magnitude — in that it'll be taxed and regulated so highly that there's always still some remaining black-market demand. And in the short run, demand from jurisdictions that legalize outstripping legal supply could create increased pressure on illegal supplies elsewhere (aka the Colorado Effect).

Illegal grows will be like moonshiners, and there will still be a need to keep them in check, particularly since the environmental impacts of illegal grows are worse than moonshining.

I don't much like the DEA, but anyone growing cannabis on public land ought to have the book thrown at them in the same way someone running a white-whiskey still on public land ought to.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:13 AM on September 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


the links do not prove the case implied in the hyperbolic framing of this fpp. a lot of these grows are mexican cartels who brought in illegal aliens (armed and ready to shoot at you) to work them

Don't you think this might also be a little hyperbolic? If there were any significant number of armed "illegal aliens" killing American citizens on public lands I think there would be a massive and distinctive reaction.
posted by clockzero at 8:26 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


kadin2048, i've spent a lot of time in the backwoods of california and oregon, never seen a moonshining outfit. i have seen marijuana grows and meth labs. maybe it's different in the south, but here, moonshine would have to compete with the cheap rotgut in the liquor store, so if cannabis ends up like alcohol, you will have nothing to worry about. the upcoming oregon initiative will allow folks to grow four plants each. anybody here need more plants than that?
posted by bruce at 8:28 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Funny how the environmental outrage about pot farmers gets headlines, but not so much coverage of corn:

“Our results show that rates of grassland conversion to corn/soy (1.0–5.4% annually) across a significant portion of the US Western Corn Belt are comparable to deforestation rates in Brazil, Malaysia, and Indonesia, countries in which tropical forests were the principal sources of new agricultural land, globally, during the 1980s and 1990s.”
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:38 AM on September 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Allman said his deputies have conducted some recent raids, including several in Susan’s area on the day she was hit. But he says his guys wear badges and clearly identify themselves.

“So are they seeing things?” We asked him. “Or is it just the fact that they are mistaken?”

“I think there are some people who may become paranoid this time of year,” he said.
As usual, I'm finding these media reports confusing and skimpy on substantive information. The focus is on people's feelings and opinions and statements, rather than on concrete facts that might actually provide sufficient context to fairly evaluate the real issues.

From what little I can tell, it sounds like some people were growing weed on other people's property and those other people hired some kind of trumped up security contractors to swoop down from helicopters to cut down the illegal grows. That's not even really a pot-related story except incidentally; it's a simple property rights story.

Part of this is obviously anti-legalization counter-spin meant to fragment support for legalization by lamely trying to split environmentalists off the coalition. Part of this is something weird about private armies. But the piece I quoted above is the part that really sticks out to me right now, because it highlights one of the more insidious little tricks that we see in the culture all the time now: That's an official statement that effectively is an attempt to gaslight a segment of the official's constituency. The official quoted in all likelihood knows perfectly well that no one is actually literally being paranoid here, and that the events that gave rise to the complaints actually happened. But he casually dismisses the complaints and marginalizes his own citizens as crazy rather than addressing the issue honestly and with integrity.

It's this kind of thing--officials calling people's sanity into question, gaslighting as a political tactic--that's doing the most to erode the common wealth of trust and respect we need to function as a society. (Anecdotally, people seem to be doing this sort of thing in their personal lives a lot now, too.)
posted by saulgoodman at 8:39 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


The "paranoid" bit is absolutely an anti-legalization dogwhistle in re: the fact that she's clearly been smoking too much of her own stash and is seeing black helicopters because that is what happens when you do marijuana.
posted by griphus at 8:43 AM on September 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Also, saying "They are destroying the environment in ways other than the ones officially sanctioned by government and society" doesn't strike me as 'concern trolling'. That seems like a very legitimate grievance.

Civilization — at least industrialized civilization — requires certain, sometimes unpleasant, tradeoffs between the environment and public benefit. For instance, our love of cheap electricity means that there are coal mines and wind farms and nuclear reactors, and our penchant for ample water means there are valleys turned into reservoirs. There are lots of other examples. All degrade the natural environment to varying extents in order to accomplish ends which are, at least in theory, beneficial enough to society to offset the damage.

The determination is accomplished through government, and in fact is a core function of government. (I'd argue further that this resource-allocation question is really the defining feature of government, but I don't want to quibble over semantics.) You can argue that our government doesn't do this especially well at times, and I'd probably agree with you, but it's a hell of a lot better than no system at all.

So, yeah, there is a big difference between "destroying the environment in ways officially sanctioned by government and society" and 'destroying the environment in an unsanctioned way, purely for your own personal gain'. It's the difference between civilization and a bunch of Galts Gulch liberholes.

never seen a moonshining outfit.

They still exist, especially in WV and parts of VA, TN, western PA, etc. There's a cultural as well as financial aspect, but it is still A Thing. The Federal excise tax on liquor is $13.50/proof-gal, and then you have state tax on top of that (which in VA is almost $20/gal), so there's apparently enough of a margin to allow small moonshiners to undercut the legal market and eke out a profit. From what I can tell, they only get busted when they start to scale up beyond some too-big-to-ignore size (or, as mentioned in the link, start selling it openly at farmers markets).
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:43 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Don't you think this might also be a little hyperbolic? If there were any significant number of armed "illegal aliens" killing American citizens on public lands I think there would be a massive and distinctive reaction.

You misread the statement. The cartels are kidnapping people in Mexico and shipping them up to the pot farms as slaves. The "you" in this case is the poor immigrant forced to work at gun point. I believe the threat (more like a promise, I reckon) of murdering their entire family is also used as motivation for compliance.

This is definitely happening in the Angeles National Forest, because every once in a while these guys hike out and go to the cops to tell their story.
posted by sideshow at 8:50 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


a lot of these grows are mexican cartels who brought in illegal aliens (armed and ready to shoot at you) to work them

That's not really how it works in my area of the west. The poor schlubs earning less than minimum wage and living in tents are immigrants, but are hired locally (because they are only needed for a short time and then they go find other jobs), and generally aren't armed. I've been told by people in the business that the people running the grows around here are all white, but they contract with the grow-op version of the labor crew leaders who supply work crews to the orchards and fields. Those guys might have some distant cartel connections but that's about it, it's not like El Chapo has his guys driving around up here or as if the Zetas are hanging out in cafes.

and my solution to that would be even more radical and political unpalatable than what you read

And this is why you don't see cartel guys around, there are plenty of racist white guys happy to take on the same role. No one minds the illegal work crews because they are cheap labor, but the local growers would push back hard if anyone tried to muscle in from outside.

The growers are well-connected; they get a call whenever the sheriff's task force team is suiting up for a raid and all the workers clear out ahead of time. And they aren't shy about tipping off the task force about grows that break the informal rules, too.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:57 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Part of this is obviously anti-legalization counter-spin meant to fragment support for legalization by lamely trying to split environmentalists off the coalition.

This is an argument *for* legalization not against. If people could just grow pot in legal fields this wouldn't be an issue.
posted by empath at 8:57 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


The cartels are kidnapping people in Mexico and shipping them up to the pot farms as slaves.

This makes no sense. There's labor here already, and getting someone across the border is expensive.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:59 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is an argument *for* legalization not against. If people could just grow pot in legal fields this wouldn't be an issue.

Agreed. But there's a lot of top-level (headline) framing of the issue in terms of pot grows being inherently environmentally harmful for the benefit of low-info news consumers.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:01 AM on September 12, 2014


(Not in this specific FPP but in the news more generally I mean.)
posted by saulgoodman at 9:03 AM on September 12, 2014


You misread the statement. The cartels are kidnapping people in Mexico and shipping them up to the pot farms as slaves. The "you" in this case is the poor immigrant forced to work at gun point. I believe the threat (more like a promise, I reckon) of murdering their entire family is also used as motivation for compliance.

This makes no sense. There's labor here already, and getting someone across the border is expensive.


I had the same response initially, but perhaps it might be worth their while if they can operate their business without being obliged to get their product across the national border. On the other hand, there would be no need to expend resources on the uncertain prospect of kidnapping or human trafficking when they can easily either coerce or pay people to do this labor in (e.g.) Mexico. Once they have a lot produced, sacrificing a few people here and there who get caught smuggling seems less of a problem than running the whole operation inside the country that has much stricter and more heavily enforced laws, and in which the people involved are both here illegally and committing a pretty serious crime.
posted by clockzero at 9:16 AM on September 12, 2014


So as far as I can tell, the lady decided to grow pot on someone else's land. The owner objected and hired people to get rid of it, which they did. And I'm supposed to think the guys who did it were the problem? If you want to grow pot, do it on your own damn land.
posted by tavella at 9:23 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


This makes no sense. There's labor here already, and getting someone across the border is expensive.

Your argument makes some sense, but then again cross-border human sex trafficking a major issue.

In the specific case I'm remembering, the guy actually paid a Coyote to get him across, but that guy delivered him to the cartel who forced him to work.
posted by sideshow at 9:29 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


In the specific case I'm remembering, the guy actually paid a Coyote to get him across, but that guy delivered him to the cartel who forced him to work.

Which is a wildly different scenario than " The cartels are kidnapping people in Mexico and shipping them up to the pot farms as slaves."

cross-border human sex trafficking a major issue.

Most of the numbers that get tossed around for this are not based in the real world. It does happen, but not like on the breathless expose TV shows.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:36 AM on September 12, 2014


Sleazy coyotes make a lot more sense, actual kidnapping in Mexico not so much. Probably the usual deal of 'work to pay for your passage' with the usual amount of cheating.
posted by tavella at 9:38 AM on September 12, 2014


Once they have a lot produced, sacrificing a few people here and there who get caught smuggling seems less of a problem than running the whole operation inside the country that has much stricter and more heavily enforced laws, and in which the people involved are both here illegally and committing a pretty serious crime.

The "are the workers imported?" stuff might be up for debate, but the multi-million dollar illegal grow ups run by the cartels are definitely happening:

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/26/local/la-me-mexican-marijuana-20121226

http://www.laweekly.com/informer/2011/06/01/us-forest-service-warns-hikers-about-marijuana-grows-wants-you-to-narc-out-narco-traffickers-in-the-woods

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32918668/ns/us_news-life/t/pot-goes-smoke-wildfire-near-la/#.VBMg7EubRbw

http://www.whittierdailynews.com/general-news/20100724/35-million-worth-of-marijuana-removed-from-angeles-national-forest
posted by sideshow at 9:39 AM on September 12, 2014


We need to shut down the DEA because they're going to continue fucking up anything they get their hands on.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:41 AM on September 12, 2014


I believe that there are some workers who are lured by the possible profit and/or lack of strictly legal alternatives due to illegally coming here (from more than Mexico), but then when it comes time for wages, they are forced off at gunpoint. Who are they going to complain to?

We definitely need to legalize marijuana (and drugs). Less insane workdays, less pesticides and toxins, less illegal water/electricity pilfering in a drought. More protective equipment, health hazard compensation, and quality regulation.

At the very least, if it's not cheaper, buyers can be assured that the product bought has an acceptable level of toxicity, and is not contributing to the massive drought here in California. If cartels want to compete with that, they'll need to sell for a lower price, reducing its profitability.
posted by halifix at 9:43 AM on September 12, 2014


“This is probably the worst environmental crime I have ever seen in my life. It is literally ripping out the resources of this state,” said California Fish and Wildlife Capt. Nathaniel Arnold, who heads the department’s marijuana enforcement team.
Capt. Arnold has never been to North Dakota, or West Virginia, or Louisiana, or . . .
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:47 AM on September 12, 2014


Which is a wildly different scenario than " The cartels are kidnapping people in Mexico and shipping them up to the pot farms as slaves."

Wait, so when does the kidnapping happen? Right after the US border crossing? The moment the captive realizes he/she is in trouble? If I hail a cab and he drives past the airport (my intended stop) and into the next city to be worked at gunpoint, I'm pretty sure the kidnapping started when he picked me up.
posted by sideshow at 9:47 AM on September 12, 2014


I live just north of Mendocino in Humboldt.

Stop at a small country store out, say, highway 36 and just look around. Most of what you'll see (besides the multiple huge bags of various fertilizers and grow products stacked outside) are logging trucks and huge dusty pickup trucks full of soils, water, and various greenhouse products...all day long! I probably see 25 full logging trucks a day.

There are less that 5% of old growth forests left out here (though I'm sure the trucks are cutting on "private" land...).

Pot sells for $2-$3k a pound.

Everyone is trashing the environment out this way, except perhaps the small grow places on private property.

As far as private army groups, my question would be "who paid/pays them?"

If there is money to be made, there are *always* going to be those willing to do whatever it takes to get some.

Edit: btw, it's extremely rare to see a Hispanic out here. From what I hear, most sitters are hired through places like Craiglist...and the folks I see coming out of back woods are predominantly young white males....
posted by CrowGoat at 10:03 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't see illegal soybean grows in the Los Angeles National Forest, do you? That's the concern trolling that goes on about this: "They are destroying the environment in ways other than the ones officially sanctioned by government and society."

You have no idea what you're talking about. I've been to dozens if not hundreds of illegal grow sites and they are a blight on the landscape. They steal water, a lot of water, dig huge trenches to mix fertilizer, spray and leave pesticides everywhere, leave shit everywhere (including actual shit) and are generally like the worst party campground you've ever seen combined with a mini toxic waste dump.

And the reason the land owners hired "stormtroopers" is because they didn't know who was back there. A not insignificnar number of grows are guarded by kids with fully automatic AR-15s. And pit bulls. I've run into both. If they'd known it was Susan, they'd have saved their money I'm sure. Having said that, don't underestimate how violent even small time growers can get. Most of them carry because of all the armed robbery in the past few years. And a lot of them are in the meth business too. Not a lot of peace and love types anymore. Some.

I have no problem with legalizing weed, I think we should do it asap. But minimizing the issues associated with the status quo isn't going to get anyone on your side.
posted by fshgrl at 10:07 AM on September 12, 2014 [11 favorites]


btw, it's extremely rare to see a Hispanic out here. From what I hear, most sitters are hired through places like Craiglist...and the folks I see coming out of back woods are predominantly young white males...

That's Humboldt where most grows are locals on private land. Areas where the local economy isn't quite so weed-based or areas where there aren't any residents (national forests in the Sierras) are different. It's kinda scary being a forester in a lot of those places now.
posted by fshgrl at 10:14 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


You have no idea what you're talking about.

I'm sorry, but I do. I live in NorCal where this happening, I know all about it. Yes, they are a blight. I never said they weren't. My point is that factory farming is also a blight and these new-found environmentalists are not MAD MAD MAD about it, that's my point.

(Your dismissive and self-righteous tone isn't going to get anyone on your side, either.)
posted by entropicamericana at 10:27 AM on September 12, 2014


Your attempt to divert the conversation with "How dare you be mad about THIS when this other barely related thing is happening" isn't winning you a friend in my camp.
posted by tavella at 10:39 AM on September 12, 2014


If you haven't been to a bunch of abandoned trashed grow sites you really don't know. They're disgusting. At least you don't get shot at at the abandoned ones though.

Humboldt and surrounds are different. Its people growing on private land for the most part. They have incentive to clean up and stay quiet. The grows up in the National Forest, not so much. And there are thousands of the. and no way to clean them up.
posted by fshgrl at 10:41 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


thank you fshgrl, i've seen it too, you're right, they're wrong.
posted by bruce at 10:58 AM on September 12, 2014


Your attempt to divert the conversation with "How dare you be mad about THIS when this other barely related thing is happening" isn't winning you a friend in my camp.

I don't really care, sweetie.

I am arguing that a lot of these environmental concerns, while valid, are coming from people who otherwise don't give a damn about the environment (especially when it's fine, upstanding corporations like Cargill, Monsanto and Archer Daniels poisoning it instead of those long-hairs and foreigners).

Humboldt and surrounds are different. Its people growing on private land for the most part... The grows up in the National Forest, not so much.

I know this is may come as a great surprise to you, but there are national forests north of Los Angeles. The ones in my neck of the woods (not Humboldt, thanks!) are all larger than the LANF. There's one up here around three times as large.

So yeah, it's still a problem up here, but it's solvable. (SEE, I SAID IT'S A PROBLEM! I AGREE WITH YOU.) The thing is, doubling down on (yeah, I'm going to say it) jack-booted thugs and the demonization of a nearly harmless plant is going to work about as well as it has for the past forty years—which is to say, not at all.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:06 AM on September 12, 2014


Living in a state with both medicinal and legal recreational marijuana - the difference between the two? About thirty bucks a gram.
posted by stenseng at 11:11 AM on September 12, 2014


(I'm sorry, but I do. I live in NorCal where this happening, I know all about it. Yes, they are a blight. I never said they weren't. My point is that factory farming is also a blight and these new-found environmentalists are not MAD MAD MAD about it, that's my point.)

I just saw Cowspiracy, pretty good movie. One of the major points is that even old guard environmental groups barely address agricultural issues. It's kind of an elephant in the room even though the impact is pretty well known. I think you are off base to consider focusing on pot grows concern trolling, it's just one part of a big world wide set of confused priorities.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:12 AM on September 12, 2014


The very real blight doesn't mean it's not concern trolling to see people trying to frame this as "Look! Pot is bad because the grows are a blight! Just imagine the horror if the floodgates were opened by legalization!". They're not trying to paint a real-world picture of legal agriculture like growing soy, but an imaginary picture of illegal blight grows x1000.
Doubly so when protecting the environment is not a concern that typically comes from a news channel suddenly taking this angle.
posted by anonymisc at 11:18 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd actually prefer if possession and growing pot for personal use was legalized a few years before selling it, and grow coops legalized in-between, because that'd help build the culture around independent cultivation rather than building a "big pot" industry.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:29 AM on September 12, 2014


There are plenty of strains that have virtually no THC. They don't get people high.

lol
posted by stenseng at 11:56 AM on September 12, 2014


Charlotte's Web is a strain of medical marijuana processed into a marijuana extract[1] that is high in cannabidiol (CBD) content, called Realm Oil and Alepsia. It does not induce the psychoactive "high" typically associated with recreational marijuana strains that are high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The Charlotte's Web strain is named after Charlotte Figi, born October 18, 2006 (age 7), whose story has led to her being described as "the girl who is changing medical marijuana laws across America."[2] Her parents and physicians say she experienced a reduction of her epileptic seizures brought on by Dravet syndrome after her first dose of medical marijuana at five years of age.
lol
posted by Drinky Die at 11:58 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


The East Bay Express had a good article on the environmental devastation of illegal grows in Mendocino county. I am hoping legalization will end up providing people with a good way to know where their pot comes from, because it's awful right now, and people who are otherwise pretty environmentally conscious don't think about it.

Here's the article. It talks about the rat poison that's killing the local martens. The pesticides they use end up in the creeks, which are pretty much dry this year anyway, so it's extra concentrated.

I don't think the comparison to big ag is relevant here- a relatively small grow (by big ag standards) will devastate an area and there is no one to sue, no one to hold accountable for the devastation. (Plus they tend to be in pretty environmentally sensitive areas.)
posted by small_ruminant at 11:59 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


There are plenty of strains that have virtually no THC. They don't get people high.

Yeah. They still feel awesome. Sort of like taking a valium. Or so I hear.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:59 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am hoping legalization will end up providing people with a good way to know where their pot comes from, because it's awful right now, and people who are otherwise pretty environmentally conscious don't think about it.

I don't know the extent to which people who smoke do or do not think about it, personally, but I can imagine several reasons why people don't talk or do much about it.
posted by clockzero at 12:21 PM on September 12, 2014


Do you? What are they? I live in Northern California and grew up in Mendocino County. It's not legal here, but it's 90% legal, so that part wouldn't usually be an issue. What are the reasons you're thinking of?
posted by small_ruminant at 12:29 PM on September 12, 2014


I am arguing that a lot of these environmental concerns, while valid, are coming from people who otherwise don't give a damn about the environment

That's the very definition of an ad hominem. Like, textbook.

Once you've established that the environmental concerns are valid, the opinions of those concerned with regard to other issues don't really matter, when the issue at hand is illegal cannabis grows.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:14 PM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Once you've established that the environmental concerns are valid, the opinions of those concerned with regard to other issues don't really matter, when the issue at hand is illegal cannabis grows.

It does matter, because the issue at hand is not illegal cannabis grows, it's (ostensibly, supposedly) environmental damage. If someone's motive is to frame this issue to help ensure the crop stays illegal, while the environmental problems are the result of it being illegal, then legitimizing dog-whistles to keep it illegal is being part of the problem.

Change the framing to connect the blight to legitimate farmers not being allowed to grow (instead of painting it as an intrinsic aspect of the plant), then the counter-productive dog-whistle stuff goes away. (And so too, perhaps, some of those voices whose opinions on these "other" issues such as environmental damage, raised flags)
posted by anonymisc at 1:57 PM on September 12, 2014


Humboldt and surrounds are different. Its people growing on private land for the most part. They have incentive to clean up and stay quiet. The grows up in the National Forest, not so much. And there are thousands of the. and no way to clean them up.

It's not as different as you would hope. Lots of public land (especially in the "surrounds"), and the private land has been illegally subdivided, clear cut, leveled, and water diverted.
posted by one_bean at 4:49 PM on September 12, 2014


So as far as I can tell, the lady decided to grow pot on someone else's land. The owner objected and hired people to get rid of it, which they did. And I'm supposed to think the guys who did it were the problem? If you want to grow pot, do it on your own damn land.

The article is pretty badly written, but I am pretty sure this was on her own land.

I am in Mendocino county right now, and I actually have some friends who were arrested in this last round of raids.

There have been a lot of rumors over the last month or so about Lear being involved in raids on private land, but as far as I can tell there has not been anything really credible. Lear definitely are operating here, and much more so in neighboring Lake county, but I think they really are keeping to public land.

I could be wrong, but I think mostly what has been happening is just the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force just hiring a bunch of horrible people for the season. I know that they were overseeing my friends arrest, and refused to identify themselves at the time. Had the face masks, and assault rifles, and all that

They technically report to the sheriff, and I am not really sure what is going on there. He has been really good in the past at working with genuine medical growers, while also doing a really great job of shutting down most of the large scale public land grows in the county.

In the last few years the DA has stopped really charging smaller pot cases, and is just using a flat per plant fee program, so these days cases clear much faster, no one gets jail time, and the county makes a *lot* of money. So there is also plenty of conspiracy talk around that as well.
posted by St. Sorryass at 11:34 AM on September 13, 2014


Here is a decent article.
posted by St. Sorryass at 11:44 AM on September 13, 2014


Charlotte's Web is a strain of medical marijuana processed into a marijuana extract[1] that is high in cannabidiol (CBD) content, called Realm Oil and Alepsia. It does not induce the psychoactive "high" typically associated with recreational marijuana strains that are high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The Charlotte's Web strain is named after Charlotte Figi, born October 18, 2006 (age 7), whose story has led to her being described as "the girl who is changing medical marijuana laws across America."[2] Her parents and physicians say she experienced a reduction of her epileptic seizures brought on by Dravet syndrome after her first dose of medical marijuana at five years of age.
lol



Seems like a statistical outlier to me. Go to juuuuuuust about any dispensary *I've* seen, and this not what you find. You find what are scientifically referred to as "dank nugz," full of THC, or "The High Causer."
posted by stenseng at 4:40 PM on September 17, 2014


A newer article from a recently deleted double post.

This one includes interviews with Trouette, the man behind Lear Asset Management, providing such insight as:
"Law enforcement just doesn't have the means to take care of it any longer," Trouette told TPM. The 2011 murder of Fort Bragg, Calif. city councilman Jere Melo by an illegal trespasser tending poppy plants as Melo patrolled private land for a timber company made a big impression on Trouette, he said. Lear was incorporated the same year, and the company has worked with a non-profit founded in Melo's memory.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 8:32 AM on September 25, 2014


Yeah, between the murders and assaults of people who come across pot patches and the environmental destruction, I am unmoved by all the "but the poor pot growers" and "oh my god PEOPLE WITH GUNS" faffing. I have not seen a single one of these articles where someone says "but I owned the land and they came in without my permission". And given a) the lack of the pot growers talking about legal actions (they would have them if they were growing pot in a legal matter on their own land) and b) the guy flat out saying that he is only patrolling where he is paid to do, I don't think that is happening.

Show em a case of that, and I would be more than happy to support legal action again the company. As long as it is people paying him to get illegal pot farms off their own land, I am all in favor of it and I don't blame them a bit for going in with body armor and overwhelming force, given above note about murders.
posted by tavella at 8:40 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


By the way, I didn't pull that quote to highlight any kind of supposed victimhood for people who somehow stumble upon grow operations and end up murdered and/or assaulted (but I would love to see the available reports and statistics on this claim). Additionally, this thread alone talks about how environmental destruction is not mutually exclusive to pot growers and exists in much more destructive forms in other types of agriculture, so I won't belabor that point either.

I just pulled that quote to show that Trouette has a very personal stake in Lear Asset Management.

But it's pretty easy to attack American pot growers for not having taken legal action, since marijuana is still very much a grey market with little legal protections afforded, even when it's medicinally legal in the state but illegal at the federal level. Personally, there's too little information given about the specific properties Lear is assigned to and the specific locations where these operations have been dismantled for me to be defensive about either side in this case. It's just the benefit of the doubt.

But please don't ask me if I think the potential for environmental destruction and random acts of violence caused by illegal grows in California is more damaging than the potential mismanagement of well-armed, helicopter-equipped privatized security firms who tend to attract "type-A personalities."
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 9:20 AM on September 25, 2014


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