Tuesday, January 4, 2011

All Together Now: A Marijuana Garden Is Not A 'Lab'

In an embarrassing display of Bad Journalism, the Miami New Times, one of the sister Village Voice Media blogs of my paying gig, Toke of the Town, has called marijuana gardens "labs."

That's right. Growing God's green plants from the earth now pretty much equals cooking up meth, boys and girls!

"Oh, it's just semantics," one of my friends said. Well... when "semantics" is used to justify locking people in cages for decades (you can get a life sentence for growing pot), then "semantics" becomes a problem.

I thought it was bad enough this week when a couple of yokel media outlets in my home state of Alabama called a marijuana grow room a "lab"... but to get this kind of fathomless stupidity from a supposedly "alternative weekly" just rankles.

Deeply clueless reporter Francisco Alvarado, in "Top Five Florida 420 Busts in 2010," a December 30, 2010 story in the Miami New Times helpfully tells us:

"Marijuana production is at an all-time high in Florida and so are grow house busts. The local, state and federal law enforcement weed eradication program has seen a 50 percent spike in the number of grow labs [emphasis added] in less than four years."

And now, having unbecomingly fallen for a simple-minded yet deceptive cop turn of phrase, he digs the hole deeper:

"It's easy pickings for Johnny Law when you think about it. Growers are stoners. They concoct hair[sic]-brained schemes to build impregnable Kush farms over multiple bowls of Fruit Loops after smoking some Super Lemon Haze."

Hey Francisco, why don't you just let the cops write the story for you? Way to reinforce 1970s pot stereotypes, man. Just so you know, we stoners enjoy those about as much as you must love colorful, "witty" Hispanic slurs.

So here's my comment to Francisco, made on the page of his trashy little article:

Francisco, marijuana gardens are not "labs."

This Orwellian phrase -- which tries to turn growing plants into something sinister and dangerous -- is not only dumb, it's just bad journalism. Quoting a cop calling a marijuana grow operation a "lab" is one thing.

But doing it yourself? That makes me doubt everything in your story.

As if THAT wasn't bad enough, you helpfully tell us that "growers are stoners" and imply that means they are too stupid to avoid getting busted.

Are you aware that most growers are never caught?

Unlike sloppy journalists, who get called on their very public mistakes.


Sal Paradise said...

wow! have you contacted the reporter providing them with information on why they were so boneheaded. especially for an alt-weekly? fascinating Village Voice Media has determined that a subset for marijuana is a worthy investment. how about more articles in their print edition promoting legalization to go along with their blatant cash grab.

Michelle said...

This is such an amazing entry and I love to read more of it so that I will be able to look over and have it as an inspiration for further articles to write about when it comes to updates on legalizing marijuana stuffs and it's pros and cons too. I do hope you will get to visit our official website and let us know what you think about it. Here is the link


Thanks ahead :)

Anonymous said...

Now most grow rooms are not definitely not labs in the typical sense. But Ive seen some medical marijuana grow rooms in California that are pretty bad ass.

ronne said...

Our marijuana garden was raided by sheriffs, even though we were as "legal" as you can be in California. Our families unity and safety are at risk. We are raising funds for our legal defense. Read more and help more here: