Pot on public lands - the questions need to change


By on Sun, August 21, 2011

Let's quit supporting illegal pot grows on public lands!

I think a different set of questions needs to be asked of the public regarding pot grows on public lands.

Those being ...

1) How do you feel about trespassers being allowed to camp anywhere they want on local public lands for the purpose of growing crops that other farmers have to grow on private land or on public land with a permit?

2) How do you feel about them being able to have & use firearms, pesticides and poisons to kill the local native wildlife who are otherwise protected on public lands, in the name of protecting their un-permitted crop?

3) How do you feel about them being able to steal water from the public or from adjacent landowners for their un-permitted crop, and the usually attendant destruction of riparian habitat, seeps, springs and so forth?

4) How do you feel about them creating a hostile and threatening environment for other public land users including hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and others?

These are (among) the questions that need to be asked.

And if these questions ARE asked, the answers will quite likely be much less tolerant of pot growers illegally using public lands.

It would also likely help if the media quit referring to these destructive plots as “gardens”, and to those who perpetuate the destruction as “farmers.”

Comment 1
Thu, August 25, 2011 2:42pm
Carl May
All my comments

Using down-home characters and local issues in the Emerald Triangle for supporting examples, a recent article by Matt Jenkins in High Country News does a nice job of summarizing developments for California’s top cash crop since state-level approval of medical marijuana and, more recently, voter rejection of overall legalization of pot. (The “High” in the periodical’s title has nothing to do with drugs, by the way.) Subscribers can read it online.

Georgia politely avoids mentioning that many of the large pot plantations on public lands these days belong to Mexican drug cartels and are worked by illegal aliens. Of course, there is no good argument for growing operations of any kind on undomesticated public lands.

I’d suggest that the general apathy toward damaging activities on public lands is at least partially due to the condoned trashing of our common property by all levels of government. Most of the big illegal pot operations are in national forests or on BLM land, where massive destruction due to logging, mining, grazing, recreational development, and infrastructure development (roads, dams, etc.) precondition us to think of the pot industry as just another increment of artificial activity.

Thanks for your comments Carl! Just for the record though, I did not “politely avoid” mentioning the facts related to Mexican drug cartels - it was just not part of my focus. Of course you are correct in that assessment.

In addition to BLM & USFS lands, these very ecologically destructive & violent activities occur frequently & increasingly in National Parks, State Parks and special districts (e.g., MROSD, East Bay Regional Parks, Marin Watershed & the like) where logging, mining, etc. are NOT allowed.

You help make the point (thank you!) that indeed these are not “peaceful farmers” bringing their lovingly-tended crops to market. Or for personal use. Or for anything other than bringing in gazillions of dollars and getting away with it for a few reasons, including a prevailing public perception that these grows on public lands are not only harmless, but righteous. Nothing could be further from the truth!