Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Dealers wanted

Another long day at the homestead and it was too cold to go outside today. The wind was just howling all day long. I came home and there were a bunch of big branches down around the driveway. I expect there will be more in the yard when the daylight comes. But life is good. I have the next four days off so I'll catch up on posting.

Meanwhile, this irritating little bust is fresh out of the inbox. The headline blares, Three charged in elaborate pot operation. And granted it was sophisicated with the underground setting and the elevator, but elaborate is a bit over the top for basically a rotating 200 plant grow. The cops of course, make it sound like some kind of gigantic enterprise.
A federal search warrant affidavit alleges the operation took in an estimated $5 million in three years, until federal and state authorities, tipped by a confidential informant, raided the farm on Nov. 9. They confiscated nearly 800 marijuana plants, with an estimated street value of $3 million, according to the affidavit.
Later on in the article it mentions the plants were in various stages of maturity, meaning there were seedlings to mature plants. I'm guessing not more than 200 were mature at any given time. Clearly this is a small operation that caters to a small circle of trusted consumers. But even taking the numbers at face value that's valuing the bust at $375,000 per plant for marijuana they later estimate sells for $4,200 to $4,800 a pound. So are they saying each plant will yield about 75 pounds of useable herb or that by the time it hits the street it will be worth $23,000 an ounce? Absurd. [LOL! Okay I did the math wrong again, and the sad thing is I used a calculator. I must have added too many zeros. Thanks to Acidman for the real values.]
If you do the math (I don't do math--- I was an English Major), you'll discover an average "street value" of $3,750 for each plant at "at all levels of maturation," grown in a 1000 square-foot (32' X 32' is 1024 square feet) area, with each plant having 1.25 square feet of space in which to grow and yielding 0.84 pounds of reefer picked and dried. That's one hell of an efficient farming operation.
As for millions these guys made, at the time of the bust, they found $6,000 in cash. It's unlikely they have Swiss bank accounts. They weren't making millions on an operation that size. And the main guy had a record for pot busts, sure, but he's an ex-Marine with a family and a job as a welder. So essentially our government just spent tens of thousands of dollars chasing down a productive member of society who happens to smoke and grow a plant.

He lives in the South. He owns guns. He's not accused of using them but with the sentencing enhancements for possession of firearms, he's going to jail for a long time. So how have you been served by seeing your tax dollars go to incarcerate a non-violent tax paying member of society?

I can't think of a way either. But I can guarantee that other dealers will step in to fill the gap. Basically your tax dollars just went to creating new jobs in the black market. I could think of better ways to spend the money.


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