On Saturday July 17th 2011 at 4 am Platte County Sheriff’s SWAT conducted a raid on what was described as a “clandestine marijuana grow” operation located on the Kansas City International Airport property accessible only by a three mile off-road drive, aided by the Missouri Highway Patrol, Kansas City Police Department, and the KC International Airport police.
While the raid yielded no arrests at the time, the survivalist style camp was empty when the raid began. The police did discover and consequently eradicated some estimated 3000 plants by late afternoon valued by the police at two to four million dollars.
The grow site was discovered by mushroom hunters who happened upon the area back in April of this year but authorities chose to wait until the crop was closer to harvest, which they suspect this was the second harvest from the site.
The police were unsure as to why the suspects abandoned the site but there where clear signs that the people lived at site and worked the field are undocumented immigrants as is evident by the canned goods, clothes and toiletries found left behind in and around the lean to shacks made of sticks and scrap wood.
This grow site is “typical of the type being used by Mexican drug trafficking organizations” said Capt. Erik G. Holland of the Platte Counties Sheriff’s Office. Going on to say about the site’s close proximity to the airport that “they can easily identify the flight patterns of planes coming in and out of the airports, therefore, they can tell if there was a law enforcement plane coming over doing enforcement.”
With the lucrative nature of the unregulated “black” market coupled with the difficulties in shipping countless thousands of tons of low-grade cannabis over the border and across long distances it makes business sense for the cartels to set up cannabis cultivation operations within the states to reduce costs and the risks associated with transportation.
At the same time we have our various police agencies ranging from local, state and federal working countless hours and using untold workforce resources to (in most cases) locate, survey, and eradicate these crops while the amounts and dollar values of seizures are typically over estimated and misreported to justify the overtime paid out to law enforcement agents. These officers typically have other law enforcement duties that go neglected by the diversion of time and resources to pursue cannabis producers.
In addition, if cannabis is the threat to society drug warriors claim and that those who grow, distribute, and sell cannabis must pose as much theoretical danger as the plant, why then did the police wait between three to four months before conducting this raid? Was the decision to wait until closer to harvest time to make a larger “bust,” that makes a better photo op than taking immediate action to arrest the suspects in this case, to justify their drug interdiction budgets? This is akin, in theory, to the police witnessing an individual committing assault with a deadly weapon yet choosing to wait until the person is dead so that they can charge the suspect with homicide as opposed to assault with a deadly weapon, thus resulting in a noteworthy case to bolster the homicide department’s budget.
We need to start asking those in our communities unsure of legalization and those who are in favor of continuing marijuana prohibition serious, well thought out, and deliberate questions aimed at addressing the serious issues we face with this failed yet continued policy of cannabis prohibition.
Question such as the following; why spend all this money to pay police overtime while increasing the size and power of the government in order to fight the cartel cannabis producers who send the majority of the profits from the illicit sales of this valuable commodity south of the border into the hands of these criminal organizations? When we can legalize the cultivation, transportation, sales and consumption creating economic revenue for business’ of all sizes and tax revenues generated from the licit market created while at the same time reducing the scale and scope of the negative impact that these failed policies have had on society by ruining otherwise law abiding cannabis consumers futures and lives?
- Copenhagen votes to legalise marijuana (telegraph.co.uk)
- California Medical Association Calling For Medical Cannabis (hailmaryjane.com)
- New poll shows continued concerns about blanket pot prohibition (sentencing.typepad.com)
- Obama War on Medical Pot Sweeps Washington Yesterday (reason.com)
- Re-Frame of Mind (trixterphillips.wordpress.com)
- Stand Up and Speak Out: High Time To End Marijuana Prohibition (trixterphillips.wordpress.com)