Pubdate: Thu,  20 Dec 2001
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
Author: John Moritz


760,000-Plus Pot (Hemp) Plants Destroyed

AUSTIN, Texas -- Narcotics officers from the Texas Department of Public 
Safety, with help from the Air National Guard and the U.S. Drug Enforcement 
Administration, destroyed more than 760,000 marijuana plants across the 
state in 2001, officials said.

The bulk of the plants were growing wild in the Panhandle, but tens of 
thousands of others had been carefully cultivated by growers bent on 
profiting through illegal sales of their crops, DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange 

"We found some pretty sophisticated operations, including one that was 
being irrigated by an automatic pump, and it appeared that there was some 
genetic engineering going on with the plants," said Mange, who spent three 
days in late summer in the field with drug agents.

The program led to the arrest of 160 people and the seizure of 77 firearms.

The marijuana eradication program has operated in Texas since 1987. In 
2000, more than 415,700 marijuana plants were eradicated, 71 people were 
arrested and 53 weapons were seized.

The program, funded by a DEA grant, "has helped make Texas a safer place," 
said Col. Thomas Davis Jr., director of the DPS. "This is a program that 
shows definite, immediate results. Many burglaries and other crimes are 
directly related to drugs and drug use."

Mange said most of the wild marijuana plants were remnants of previous 
legal cultivation for hemp in wartime 1940s.

"Some of those wild plants grew to about 20 feet tall and were 2 inches in 
diameter," Mange said. "We took them down with gasoline-powered weed eaters 
with steel rotary blades."

State offices worked with local law enforcement agencies to locate both the 
wild plants and those cultivated for profit. Officers patrolled in National 
Guard helicopters and could easily spot the plants from the air, Mange said.

The marijuana that had been cultivated was held as evidence and slated for 
destruction after the legal process had run its course. The wild plants 
were left to decompose naturally.

"Those plants have a really low THC content," Mange said, referring to 
tetrahydrocannabinol, the most potent mood-altering component in marijuana, 
"So it's unlikely that people are going to be smoking it and getting high." 

NOTE: In America's "Drug War" 99.2% of all "marijuana" eradicated in the 
United States is actually low-THC non-psychoactive "hemp".  Check out the 
unbelievable facts in Vermont's State Legislative study on the federal 
government's "Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program" at: 
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom