Wednesday, September 15, 2004

From all walks of life

A few interesting stories on the wires this morning. In this first one, Cory W. Whitfield, a Customs agent who worked for six years screening U.S.-bound traffic at Vancouver International Airport in British Columbia, was busted at the U.S.-Canadian border, accused of driving a van packed with 536 pounds of marijuana.

According to the complaint, Whitfield tried to enter the United States at the Lynden border crossing Monday. He presented a diplomatic passport, telling Inspector Rodney Nash, "I'm one of us."

He initially claimed he was bringing an engine block to a Ford dealership in Bellingham but fell apart under questioning and eventually told investigators, "he was blackmailed into bringing the drugs to Bellingham by a man who had compromising photos of him - photos that showed Whitfield, a married man with two children, surrounded by illegal drugs and in a sexual encounter with a woman at a party."

In this next story, a 54 year old nurse was convicted of a felony offense for growing her own marijuana at home. She was ratted out by a "concerned citizen." More interesting to me is that she had 30 mature plants and other seedlings that she stated were not cannabis. Tests conducted on those seedlings would indicate she was truthful but nonetheless they convicted her as if she was some kind of dealer.

Also note that she only had 7 ounces or so of pot on hand. Thinking that she could not grow more than 30 at a time because of the limitations of space and equipment, this gives a better indication of what an actual yield from a personal grow is. This illustrates how these valuations of $1,000 and up for homegrown plants regardless of maturity and/or potency is simply not realistic even for a commercial grow. While the black market does inflate the price beyond its intrinsic value, pot that costs a $1,000 an ounce comes around maybe once in a lifetime and she clearly was not getting that kind of yield.

Finally, there's this story that also provides the graphic for this post. Now this guy was dumb to leave his generator running at an abandoned trailer in the aftermath of the hurricane. People are always more vigilant after a natural disaster about odd little things like that but I include it here for the graphic. Look at those pathetic buds - they don't even look smokeable. Law enforcement giving themselves credit for a $100,000 bust would be laughable if it wasn't such a tragic waste of taxpayer's money to chase these little grows down.

Now the safety issue is a good point. Rigging these indoor operations requires a certain level of skill and intelligence that this guy clearly did not have but as Ben Masel pointed out in the comments section of yesterday's post on this subject, if it were legal, people could grow them outdoors in perfect safety and saving the fuel and electricity for other uses.

What I really want you to think about today though is just how pervasive cannabis is within our society. These people are not common criminals, they are your neighbors, your health care givers, your protectors from terrorists and otherwise law abiding citizens. They were not arrested for doing anything harmful or violent. They were arrested for gardening or transporting a common herbaceous plant that in terms of toxicity is less harmful than aspirin. With all the real crime in the world, how much longer are you willing to let your government waste its limited resources on going after these easiest of targets?


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