Pubdate: Thu, 14 Sep 2000
Date: 09/14/2000
Source: Boulder Weekly (CO)
Author: Laura Kriho
Authors: Laura Kriho

Wayne Laugesen's article "Black helicopter invasion" was a good report
on how the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, local law
enforcement and the National Guard team up to fight the war on
cannabis in Boulder County (Wayne's Word, Sept. 7-13). Laugesen
reports on one recent day in Ward when the Boulder County Drug Task
Force, hovering in unmarked helicopters, spied and confiscated 27
cannabis plants from one house.

I can't imagine how much it costs to run a helicopter and personnel
eight hours a day for a two to three month harvest season, but you can
be assured your tax dollars are working hard. Surely, it must be worth
your money to confiscate 27 plants from someone's personal stash?

The DEA's cannabis eradication program is in full swing in Colorado.
I've heard complaints from all over the state about low-flying,
unmarked helicopters terrorizing people, children and animals.

But what is it that they are really eradicating?

A 1998 Vermont State Auditor's report evaluated the DEA's Cannabis
Eradication/Suppression Program. The Vermont report revealed that over
99 percent of the 422,716,526 total marijuana plants eradicated
nationwide by the DEA in 1996 were "ditchweed." The DEA defines
ditchweed as "Wild, scattered marijuana plants (with) no evidence of
planting, fertilizing or tending" what we call "industrial hemp."
While marijuana contains from 4 to 20 percent THC (the psychoactive
chemical), industrial hemp or ditchweed contains less than 1 percent
THC. In fact, industrial hemp that was recently confiscated illegally
by the DEA from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota
contained less than 0.01 percent THC. The Vermont Auditor's report
found that the DEA spent over $9 million on marijuana eradication
efforts in all 50 states in 1996. (This figure does not include the
cost of state and local participation.) So most of the money spent on
the war on cannabis really goes to eradicate ditchweed, not commercial

I would like to ask the Boulder County Commissioners how much local
taxpayer money is spent on eradication programs, and do they think the
programs are worth the cost? County Commissioner Paul Danish has been
an outspoken critic of the war on drugs, and many people would like to
hear his assessment of the issue.

For more information on this issue, see, and

Laura Kriho,