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Pot Farmers Tilling Ground in Yosemite



Though much of the news involving national parks and marijuana plantations has been focused on Sequoia National Park, a bust the other day in Yosemite shows that that park has some pretty fertile ground for pot as well.

On Monday rangers in Yosemite raided three marijuana gardens and confiscated nearly 7,500 plants with an estimated street value of $22 million.

"The illegal cultivation sites bore the characteristics of a Mexican drug-trafficking enterprise, including a sophisticated watering system, use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides," say park officials, who didn't identify where in the park the pot gardens were.

Chief Ranger Steve Shackelton says the park is working with several California counties, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, and other national parks to mount a comprehensive campaign against the California-based crime families "that often use illiterate and financially desperate Mexican nationals to do the actual cultivation."

"For years we've been seeing these people make millions of dollars in profit, while they devastate the environment on private property and California's majestic public lands. They destroy habitat, pollute streams with poisons and nitrogen fertilizers, kill wildlife, and pose a fire threat. The only thing missing is public outrage," says the chief ranger.

While it's good to hear parks are trying to crack down on marijuana cultivation within their borders, the problem isn't new and seems to be ongoing, which makes me wonder whether the Park Service truly has the resources it needs to combat this practice?


Legalization of all drugs would end this destructive practice in places like Yosemite, Sequoia and Redwood as well as put the criminals out of business. Just as Prohibition created one of the greatest crime waves in our history the so-called "War on (some) Drugs" has done the very same thing in our time.

This small patch of weed is only an outgrowth of the much larger crime of the government attempting to regulate human behavior and the use of plant derived substances that have been around and consumed for as long as humans have inhabited the earth.

It will be a great day when we can all purchase packets of marijuana seeds along with beefsteak tomatoes and pole beans at the Wal-Mart garden center. They'll be no more need to wreck precious acres in Yosemite or put victimless criminals in jail to share a shower with rapists and murderers.

The 52% of U.S. prisoners (which, by the way, is the largest population of incarcerated people in the world) who had been locked up for using or selling drugs will be out walking free and probably headed towards the newly liberated garden center themselves.

Looks like the Park Service is working with every law enforcement agency except ICE. Keep illegals out of the country and out of the parks and this pot growing problem goes away. Until illegal immigration got out of hand, there weren't marijuana fields in the National Parks.

Damn, Beamis, you beat me to the punch on that one.

Let me just add that marijuana is America's largest cash crop, bringing in $35 BILLION a year, more than wheat and corn combined. It's the most expensive flower in the world. (For more info, check out Pollan's Botany of Desire).

Once prohibition ends, those who don't want to buy seeds and grow could be able to buy marijuana cigarettes packs, just like tobacco. A ten percent tax would yield billions which would be enough to support the park service along with the millions and millions saved by releasing half the prison population.

Reform the National Park Service!

Time for a controlled burn to reduce the understory...

I love how people talk about a fictitious future as though it were set in stone. I can see it now: MaryJane National Monument, a cooperation of big business and greedy government looking for more tax revenue. So long as it's self-supporting, who cares if you have to sell your soul to the devil as part of the bargain? Very sad... and explains a lot about some people's stances regarding a lot of other issues discussed in this forum.

-- Jon

Since when is being able to make personal decisions about what substances you wish to freely ingest is about "selling ones soul"? I personally disagree with Frank's suggestion that the government should get any tax revenue from the future sale of currently illicit drugs but do think that the growing of marijuana in a remote area, like Yosemite, is a small symptom of a much bigger problem. The drug war done nothing to slackened demand but has been successful in raising prices that have only made criminals richer and more powerful as well as the streets of our cities more violent.

Who's soul is really being sold?

What about those toxic meth labs that are stuck way into the Sierra foothills, talk about chemical junk left behind. Were dealing with a nasty breed of people that could care less about the toxic chemicals that they dump into are pristine streams and rivers surrounding our National Parks. This is a huge national issue that calls for the National Guard to eradicate these deviant criminals from their drug pens, and inflict them with the most severest to Pelican Bay!! Remind you, this isn't a fancy play ground for cute kids that go's a mean prison for mean people. The only problem is, most of the National Guard is stuck in Bush's war that keeps draining this countries precious resources into a endless hell basket.

Yeah, beamis, I don't really agree with my statement either. Just presenting options.

The devil didn't create marijuana; isn't god the source of all life on the planet? Oh, wait. Evolution. So I guess there's no devil or soul. In which case someone's playing loose with metaphors or just relying on cliches...explains a lot about some people's stances regarding a lot of other issues discussed in this forum. Very sad.

Reform the National Park Service!

I would just love to tell you EXACTLY what I think about tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs, but we're all making this effort to be more civil now, so I'll refrain from insulting folks here, even though it is something I wouldn't hesitate to say in person. For now, you'll have to decipher the metaphors (which isn't really all that difficult).

This is a perfect job for the National Guard, not the National God.

-- Jon

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