Pubdate: Fri, 15 Oct 2004
Source: Arthur Enterprise News (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 Arthur Enterprise News
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


An estimated $163,000 worth of marijuana plants was discovered in a
corn field near Elora recently, not a rare occurrence in this part of
the world in the early autumn.

What happens is someone in the illegal drug business plants marijuana
along a fence or in the middle of a field of corn. No one knows the
illegal crop is there, including the farmer.

Sometimes a neighbour will wonder about a strange car parked along a
country road, or fertilizer bags in the ditch. He might mention it in
passing but rarely associates these things with drugs.

Come fall, someone flying over the farm will see a patch of green that
does not look right - marijuana in a corn field really stands out, if
a person knows what to look for. The drug eradication teams move in
and the crop ends up being incinerated.

Growing marijuana like this is a low-risk operation. The grower makes
only a few brief visits to look after the plants; there is little to
connect him to the illegal crop. He knows the worst that will happen
is the marijuana will be destroyed - or stolen - before he can harvest
his plants. It goes without saying that police discover only a small
part of what is actually growing. The low risk and high profit make
the activity more common in our communities than most of us would like
to think.

At first glance growing marijuana in someone's corn field seems to be
pretty harmless. After all, the Canadian government is considering
decriminalizing this drug.

At second glance it is disturbing to the extreme. This is not a
situation where local kids are growing a couple of plants. These are
large-scale operations, and that usually means organized crime.

Rural residents have enough problems, what with the continuing BSE
crisis and low commodity prices. The last thing we need is gun-toting
gangsters trespassing on our land and using it for illegal purposes -
or breaking into local agricultural supply businesses and stealing
ammonia for production of methamphetamine (speed).

It is time we opened our eyes and took responsibility for what is
happening around our midwestern Ontario farms and towns. Sticking our
collective heads in the sand is not going to make crime go away.

No one is asking anyone to confront motorcycle gangs or form groups of
vigilantes to protect our property. All a person has to do is jot down
the licence plate number of that big, shiny car that is sometimes
parked at the side of a rarely-used gravel road, and call the police.
If the caller prefers to remain anonymous, he or she can call Crime
Stoppers and may even earn a cash reward.

Perhaps the car belongs to a lady collecting cattails for her autumn
floral arrangements, or a young couple looking for a quiet place to
discuss the weather. Perhaps, too, it belongs to a drug dealer from
Toronto who is checking on his marijuana. The call might be the
missing piece that lets the police complete the puzzle and make an

One of worst hazards a criminal can encounter is a nosy neighbour with
a cell phone.

We have to get the message across that the only thing we want growing
in our corn fields is corn, and the way to do it is increase the
criminal's risk while decreasing his profit. A $163,000 crop in the
police incinerator may not do the former but it accomplishes the
latter quite effectively. Make the call.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin