HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Big Pot Busts Just Another Bust
Pubdate: Tue, 31 Aug 2004
Source: Nanaimo News Bulletin (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004, BC Newspaper Group
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Here Are The Statistics:

Over 10 days recently the police and the military worked together to
find outdoor marijuana grow operations on Vancouver Island. Using
helicopters they removed 18,300 marijuana plants that would have soon
been on the streets.

Drug enforcement officers state the amount seized could have supplied
every person in Nanaimo with five marijuana cigarettes a day for a
month - not that even Nanaimo smokes that much.

The RCMP might have found more outdoor grow ops, but funding for
helicopter time ran out.

One could put forward the argument that by reducing the supply the
RCMP have simply pushed up the price for the remaining supply,
rewarding those who didn't get caught. But Cst. Beth Blackburn told
the News Bulletin we're nowhere near to making a dent on the supply to
affect the price.

So what have we achieved? We've simply spent money on sporadic and
eventually futile enforcement that has led to charges against three
people. That's hardly going to cripple the supply from the thousands
involved in the drug industry on Vancouver Island.

The RCMP cites environmental impacts as one huge problem from these
outdoors sites. Creek diversions, irrigation, chemicals, fertilizers,
garbage - it's not the sort of thing we want in our backwoods.

The argument could be made that more funding should be made available
to combat these grow operations. That's fine if we want to wage a war
in the woods, but it doesn't address the demand that is fueling this
trade. With so much money on the line, the criminal element will
simply find a safe way to avoid the law.

In other words, the environmental impact is just another side-effect
of our desire to keep marijuana growth and distribution in the control
of the deepest criminal elements. We can celebrate the hard work of
the law enforcement agencies, but we can't celebrate being closer to
ending the problem.
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