War On Drugs Goes Into Orbit

War On Drugs Goes Into Orbit
Posted by FoM on April 16, 2002 at 13:47:05 PT
By Jim Bronskill
Source: Vancouver Sun 
The RCMP is studying a plan to enlist space satellites in the war on illicit drugs. The Mounties believe satellite technology could help detect and monitor illegal marijuana production across Canada. "It is something that is at the research and development stage to determine if there is a practical application," said Sergeant Paul Marsh, an RCMP spokesman. 
A recent report by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission says Canada is pursuing the idea as a new means of estimating the amount of cannabis cultivated each year. Current methods employed by Canada to make these calculations include ground surveys, monitoring by airplane, and analysis of data from plant seizure reports and crop-eradication programs, says the commission, an agency of the Organization of American States that helps co-ordinate the anti-drug efforts of the 34 member countries. "Recently, Canada launched a new program involving the police and the Canadian Space Agency to enhance detection and monitoring of illegal crop production," says the commission report, an evaluation of Canada's initiatives to stamp out illicit drugs. A spokeswoman for Canada's space agency had no information about the plans but Sgt. Marsh confirmed the idea was under consideration. "The RCMP is committed to using technological advances which will assist us in reaching our objective of safe homes and safe communities," he said. He provided no details, saying, "it's really premature because it's at the R and D stage." RADARSAT, Canada's advanced Earth observation satellite, has been used to measure legitimate crop fields, make accurate maps, study ice movement and monitor the coastline. Using a system known as synthetic aperture radar, the satellite is able to operate day or night in all types of weather. The concept of using satellites in the fight against drugs is not new. The United Nations International Drug Control Program has also announced plans to employ satellite technology as part of an effort to eradicate the cannabis plant, cocoa bush and opium poppy by 2008. About half of the marijuana available in Canada is produced domestically, the RCMP says. Conservative estimates indicate at least 800 tonnes of pot is grown annually. Surveillance of crops through airplane flights has proven useful to date, Sgt. Marsh said. "Obviously, there are advantages to aerial surveillance and that's why we use aircraft at the present time. There are things that you can see from the air, because you simply don't have the same perspective from the ground." However, as the OAS commission report points out, even high-powered satellites will not guarantee an accurate measure of Canadian cannabis production. "Canada notes that a complete picture of marijuana cultivation is difficult to obtain because a significant portion of cultivation is indoors," the report says. There has been a boom in indoor pot growing operations in recent years, particularly in British Columbia, but also in the Prairie provinces, Ontario and Quebec. Note: The RCMP Examines Use of Satellites to Track Marijuana Grow-ops. Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)Author: Jim BronskillPublished: April 15, 2002Copyright: 2002 The Vancouver SunContact: sunletters pacpress.southam.caWebsite: Articles - Canada
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Comment #1 posted by Bounce to the Ounce on April 16, 2002 at 18:35:58 PT
Money well spent...
f*cking morons.
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