Illegal MJ Growing Pollutes U.S. National Parks

Illegal MJ Growing Pollutes U.S. National Parks
Posted by CN Staff on October 13, 2008 at 07:32:40 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Porterville, CA -- National forests and parks -- long popular with Mexican marijuana-growing cartels -- have become home to some of the most polluted pockets of wilderness in America because of the toxic chemicals needed to eke lucrative harvests from rocky mountainsides, federal officials said. The grow sites have taken hold from the West Coast's Cascade Mountains, as well as on federal lands in Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Seven hundred grow sites were discovered on U.S. Forest Service land in California alone in 2007 and 2008 -- and authorities say the 1,800-square-mile Sequoia National Forest is the hardest hit. Weed and bug sprays, some long banned in the U.S., have been smuggled to the marijuana farms. Plant growth hormones have been dumped into streams, and the water has then been diverted for miles in PVC pipes. Rat poison has been sprinkled over the landscape to keep animals away from tender plants. And many sites are strewn with the carcasses of deer and bears poached by workers during the five-month growing season that is now ending. "What's going on on public lands is a crisis at every level," said Forest Service agent Ron Pugh. "These are America's most precious resources, and they are being devastated by an unprecedented commercial enterprise conducted by armed foreign nationals. It is a huge mess." The first documented marijuana cartels were discovered in Sequoia National Park in 1998. Then, officials say, tighter border controls after Sept. 11, 2001, forced industrial-scale growers to move their operations into the United States. Millions of dollars are spent every year to find and uproot marijuana-growing operations on state and federal lands, but federal officials say no money is budgeted to clean up the environmental mess left behind after helicopters carry off the plants. They are encouraged that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who last year secured funding for eradication, has inquired about the pollution problems. In the meantime, the only cleanup is done by volunteers. On Tuesday, October 14, the nonprofit High Sierra Trail Crew, founded to improve access to public lands, plans to take 30 people deep into the Sequoia National Forest to carry out miles of drip irrigation pipe, tons of human garbage, volatile propane canisters, and bags and bottles of herbicides and pesticides. "If the people of California knew what was going on out there, they'd be up in arms about this," said Shane Krogen, the nonprofit's executive director. "Helicopters full of dope are like body counts in the Vietnam War. What does it really mean?" Last year, law enforcement agents uprooted nearly five million plants in California, nearly a half million in Kentucky and 276,000 in Washington state as the development of hybrid plants has expanded the range of climates marijuana can tolerate. "People light up a joint, and they have no idea the amount of environmental damage associated with it," said Cicely Muldoon, deputy regional director of the Pacific West Region of the National Park Service. As of Sept. 2, more than 2.2 million plants had been uprooted statewide. The largest single bust in the nation this year netted 482,000 plants in the remote Sierra of Tulare County, the forest service said. Some popular parks also have suffered damage. In 2007, rangers found more than 20,000 plants in Yosemite National Park and 43,000 plants in Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, where 159 grow sites have been discovered over the past 10 years. Agent Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Game estimated that 1.5 pounds of fertilizers and pesticides is used for every 11.5 plants. "I've seen the pesticide residue on the plants," Foy said. "You ain't just smoking pot, bud. You're smoking some heavy-duty pesticides from Mexico." Scott Wanek, the western regional chief ranger for the National Park Service, said he believes the eradication efforts have touched only a small portion of the marijuana farms and that the environmental impact is much greater than anyone knows. "Think about Sequoia," Wanek said. "The impact goes well beyond the acreage planted. They create huge networks of trail systems, and the chemicals that get into watersheds are potentially very far-reaching -- all the way to drinking water for the downstream communities. We are trying to study that now." Source: Associated Press (Wire)Published: October 12, 2008Copyright: 2008 The Associated PressCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #12 posted by The GCW on November 09, 2008 at 20:22:57 PT
US CA: PUB LTE: Legalization is the only answer
US CA: PUB LTE: Legalization is the only answer 30 Oct 2008Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)Referred: To the Editor: It's commendable that Mendocino County Sheriff, Tom Allman isn't targeting cannabis (marijuana) patients or their caregiver's cultivation sites (Letter: Sheriff Discusses Policies, Oct. 10, 2008). It is important to note however that the sheriff is partly responsible for his list of negative aspects of cannabis cultivation. Police unions across America lobby, support and perpetuate cannabis prohibition and its discredited laws. Damaging the environment, contaminating soils, stealing water, killing wildlife and livestock, trespassing, threatening law abiding citizens, draining natural resources and not paying taxes is all due to prohibition, not honest plant cultivation. The original prohibition of alcohol had the same associated problems which don't exist today because alcohol is legal, and regulated. There is reason to believe legalizing and regulating the relatively safe God-given plant cannabis would have the same results. Millions of responsible adult citizens choose to use cannabis and demand its availability; cannabis is here to stay. Does Sheriff Allman even realize by supporting cannabis prohibition, He insures all those associated ills will remain until cannabis is re-legalized? And "public safety?" Murder rates declined for 10 years after repealing the original prohibition. S. W. Dillon, ColoradoComing soon to MAP
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on October 13, 2008 at 15:26:02 PT
Mark Entre
I agree with you.
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Comment #10 posted by Mark Entre on October 13, 2008 at 14:49:20 PT:
The evils of prohibition
Criminals polluting public lands with cannabis grow ops is just one of the evils of cannanis prohibition. Prohibition is a counter-productive failure. Which, itself does far more harm to our society than does cannabis use. We must regain control over cannabis with regulation via legalization. This will drive criminals out of the trade and out of our forests. Legalization ended the prohibition of another drug, alcohol. We no longer have bootleggers shooting up the streets of America. One day we'll be able to say the same about cannabis, when legalization becomes a reality. Then, I'll feel like my kids and grandkids are safer than they are now, with prohibition.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on October 13, 2008 at 13:27:46 PT
Senator Webb Continuing Focus on US Drug Policy
Senator Webb Continuing His Important Focus on US Drug PolicyOctober 13, 2008I am pleased to see from Senator Jim Webb's website that he will be hosting this Wednesday morning at George Mason University a symposium entitled "Drugs in America: Trafficking, Policy and Sentencing." The symposium details are set out on this official flier, and the event is described on Senator Webb's webpage: "Moderated by Senator Webb, three panels of experts will examine drug distribution in the U.S; law enforcement practices; and punitive vs. public health responses to drug abuse."As regular readers know, I have frequently praised Senator Jim Webb for being one of the few national politicians giving serious (and much-needed) attention to mass incarceration and criminal justice policies connected to the "war on drugs."  And, after reading this interesting recent post from the TierneyLab titled "The Drug Czar's Report Card: F," I plan to step up my criticisms of other national policy-makers for failing to give these issues the serious attention they deserve. Here is the start of Jon Tierney's post:In 2002, the Bush administration’s National Drug Control Strategy set a goal of reducing illegal drug use by 25 percent in five years. This was followed by an unprecedented campaign of persuasion (more than 100 different anti-drug advertisements and commercials) and law enforcement as the number of annual arrests for marijuana possession climbed above 700,000 — higher than ever before, and greater than the combined total for all violent crimes.Now that the first five years’ results are available, the campaign can officially be called a failure, according to an analysis of federal drug-use surveys by Jon Gettman, a senior fellow at the George Mason University School of Public Policy. The prevalence of marijuana use (as measured by the portion of the population that reported using it in the previous month) declined by 6 percent, far short of the 25-percent goal, and that decline was partially offset by a slight increase in the use of other illicit drugs. As a result, the overall decline in drug use was less than 4 percent....In 1991, [Dr. Gettman] noted, the official National Drug Control Strategy’s goal was to reduce number of illicit drug users in America to 7.25 million within a decade. But a decade later, in 2002, the number was actually 19.5 million, and by last year it had risen to 19.9 million, Dr. Gettman said.Whatever else one might say about the "war on drugs," it clearly has been a very costly battle measured in either economic or human terms. And there seems to be little evidence that the considerable costs of this war are producing significant and lasting benefits. I continue to hope that the next president might try a different kind of surge in the drug war — a surge focused on public health realities rather than criminal justice rhetoric. I also hope that Senator Webb can and will be committed to leading a new battalion of troops in this seemingly never-ending war.
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on October 13, 2008 at 11:38:49 PT
The AP
It would be good to see newspapers print this so people may write letters to help expose the whole story.The Ass Press spews out stuff like this. Like they are helping perpetuate the dirty deed.-0-This is a related letter in the Ukiah Daily Journal from Tom Allman Sheriff of Mendocino County where He speaks about all the ills... He doesn't understand that He causes the ills because He helps perpetuate the problem that causes the problems. 
US CA: LTE: Sheriff Discusses Policies
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Comment #7 posted by museman on October 13, 2008 at 11:21:58 PT
My first 'marijuana ticket' was gotten in this neck of the woods. The Sequoia National Park used to be a great place - before global warming started burning it up, the smog and pollution of L.A. creeping up into the trees, and the only people who could afford to enjoy it after Reagan were the over 250thou a year bracket.Sequoias are a cousin to the redwood. They grow hundreds of feet tall, providing a forest canopy where hardly anything but ferns and grasses grow in the shade. Though there was once a great hippy movie made concerning 'cannabis sequoia' a mythical marijuana plant so big you had to cut it with a chainsaw, and haul with a logging truck - called 'Ganjasaurus Rex' growers did not grow around the sequioas themselves because there is not enough light. Not all of the national forest is filled with sequoia trees, but the areas where one could grow a better crop than in mexico, or a competing crop to the Humboldt growers (just over the sequoia hill) are known by every pilot that has flown over the area, and any grows in those areas would stick out like lights in the darkness. Again these prohibitionists are playing on the ignorance of amerikans who believe what their big brother tells them.Its just not logical to assume that the mexicans would continue to plant these crops year after year, and then just as they are ripe, they disappear so the cops can come raid them? Now I know where all the bunk pot has been coming from in the cities. The cops sell it to teenagers, then bust them, making their parents pay many dollars in fines and fees, so they can pad their funding for more cops, more guns, more tech, and more laws stripping away our rights and freedoms- and keep filling the ranks of the 'criminal population' so that all those new prisons won't go to waste. The cops are bigger dealers these days than any bust they've made in years. Oh by the way, since the statute of limitations has run out, -about 20 years ago- Tulare county never got my $50. I got arrested twice for it, did 3 days in jail 2 times for the same ticket, but they could kiss my ass then, they can still kiss it... I drove all over the country for 23 years without a drivers license because of it, but its just the principle of the thing, I don't pay thugs and thieves, no matter how high up the socio/political scale they think they are.FREE CANNABIS SEQUOIA FOR EVERYONE
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Comment #6 posted by E_Johnson on October 13, 2008 at 11:17:56 PT
How long can they keep whining
about the consequences of their own actions? They take no personal responsibility when they enact tough laws and the world gets worse instead of better. Where was the paradise we were supposed to have with all of these tough laws? They won't take responsibility for the fact that this paradise never arrived and we've been heading instead in the other direction.It's getting downright boring. Please grow up. Please act like adults and admit that your tough laws made the world worse instead of better.
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Comment #5 posted by museman on October 13, 2008 at 10:55:57 PT
Don't believe it people
Heard of "wagging the dog?" The Oklahoma Bombing, 9/11?This is supposedly been going on for over 10 years? Where's the pictures of the " miles of drip irrigation pipe, tons of human garbage, volatile propane canisters, and bags and bottles of herbicides and pesticides."? How about the 'carcases of animals'? Surely the cops have cameras?And in 10 years hardly any 'mexicans' (if any- none that I heard of) in the so-called 'mexican cartel' have been caught doing it?The prohibitionists have gotten so used to lying, and thinking that people believe them, they'll stop at nothing in their pack of lies.Oh I bet they got plenty of pictures of helicopters hauling plants - the ones they planted themselves, or busted the
 americans grows ( a new tactic) without going after the growers. That way they can claim "The Mexicans did it!""..officials say, tighter border controls after Sept. 11, 2001, forced industrial-scale growers to move their operations into the United States." So they "stopped the smuggling" but couldn't stop the smugglers, who obviously don't have green cards or visas'? Why bother trying to stop them then if it doesn't work? Why not go back to letting the 'mexican cartel' grow in the better suited climate of mexico? And then use their 'million-dollar-dope-dogs' to find it as they come across the border?There are so many holes in the boat of prohibition its a salvage operation to bring the sunken ship back into the air.The "Mexican Cartel" is a US government invention.FREE MEXICAN FOR EVERYONE
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Comment #4 posted by HempWorld on October 13, 2008 at 09:07:34 PT
 Illegal MJ Growing Pollutes U.S. National Parks..
Just another unintended consequence of prohibition ... exacerbated by an unregulated medical marijuana market thanks to the DEA!
On a mission from God!
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on October 13, 2008 at 08:22:32 PT
It's hard for me to understand why
their great and apparently, very rarefied, brains don't connect this problem with prohibition.
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on October 13, 2008 at 07:58:39 PT
Wait wait, I know how to fix this!
End cannabis prohibition.Have every American grow their own organic 'victory garden' of cannabis!!!No more dangerous, imported, Mexican herbicides and pesticides, no more miles of drip irrigation lines in the wilderness, no more rat poison to keep pest away, no more garbage from crop tending crews.It will put the Mexican cartels, growing on US public lands, out of business.
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on October 13, 2008 at 07:50:51 PT
Cannabis doesn't need them. I grew guerrilla style in the forest for many years, about twenty years, I had pest but never insects. What kind of pest are they using pesticides for? I say he is lying to make a case or to use scare tactics to piss of environmentalist.Yup, he's a lier.
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