Photo by David Snyder, U.S. Park Service
By Steve Elliott in Chronic City
The latest mainstream media narrative in California's marijuana wars is a spruced-up version of an old favorite: "Mexican drug traffickers" are growing massive amounts of pot in state and national parks, and are despoiling the natural environment in doing so. Once again, we are given to believe that pot is somehow scary and bad -- if not the herb itself, then at least the people who grow it.
As usual, there's a kernel of truth here, with lots of anti-marijuana spin wrapped around it. Tightening budgets have indeed reduced the number of sheriff's deputies and rangers patrolling parks, and that has indeed resulted in expanded grow-ops on public land, often by undocumented immigrants working for large cartels.
These migrant marijuana workers are considered disposable by the cartels for which they work, are often in the U.S. illegally, and often make less than $100 a day. Many have been told their families will be harmed if they stop working on the pot plantations, according to state drug enforcement officials.
These workers really do cause lots of environmental damage by clear-cutting natural growth to make way for pot fields, damming up creeks for irrigation purposes, and polluting public lands with excess fertilizer, pesticides (many of which were banned in the U.S. years ago), septic waste, and trash.
Trouble is, that's as far as the mainstream media narrative usually goes -- which makes it next to useless for actually identifying the cause of this real problem, and its solution.
Read the rest at Chronic City in the SF Weekly blog, "The Snitch":
Chronic City: There's Pot In Them Thar Hills! How To Make Marijuana Scary Again.