By Shelley Smith
Across the United States, illegal marijuana plants are being grown in national forests, public lands, agricultural fields, jungles of Hawaii, and on drug buyers purchased private farm lands and other. Drug dealers are overtly and covertly purchasing vineyards as is depicted in the article “Drug dealers turn Wash. vineyards into pot farms”, by Shannon Dininny, August 9, 2008, which demonstrates how the drug dealer and pot growers take a vineyard and convert it into a marijuana operation.
President Bush’s Drug Czar, John P. Walters, said people need to overcome their “reefer blindness.” From the article “Drug czar gives warning”, by Dylan Darling, July 13, 2007, Walters sees the growing of marijuana as a terrorist threat to the public’s health and safety, and to the environment. He believes those who help pot cultivators and pot farmers enter into the United States are assisting terrorists and this could cause mass drug use casualties through the purchase of drugs that fund terrorism and violence.
As people write off marijuana as harmless, it not only endangers the public, but endangers law enforcement officers and other agents who perform dangerous duties, while working within rough terrain that could be booby-trapped and hinder potentially serious HAZMAT conditions due to other chemicals that could be present. There is also the danger of illegal growers and illegal immigrants who are assisting the pot growers who carry assault rifles and other weapons. This makes the conditions extremely dangerous and places them in the category of violent criminals and potential terrorists.
Since pot growers and farmers learn the terrain so well, it makes it easier for them to escape and officers must use stealth in their covert operations to cripple not just the growers, but those organized crime groups behind the drug crop cultivations.
In California, eradication operations are being conducted in the mountains and other public land involving law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Forest Service, and the California National Guard. Unbeknownst to, or non-attentive tax-payers do not realize it costs thousands per acre and millions nationwide to pull plants, clear for irrigation, and reshape and plant native vegetation.
About the Author
Shelley Smith is an expert in analysis and research on varied national and international issues, homeland security, terrorism and counterterrorism, law enforcement, criminal justice systems, and other. Smith has an A.S. in Criminal Justice with Honors and a B.A in Intelligence Studies. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Intelligence Studies Capstone with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies at American Military University.