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Why We Need Legally Grown Marijuana, Probably by Corporate Farmers

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There are many reasons to support the legalization of marijuana. For me, one of the most important reasons is to get growing operations out of the national forests and national parks and under a regulatory structure. That probably means corporate control over a lot of it and a lot of local operations that are operating in a horrible manner going under. This is a good reason why:

Northern California is home to numerous wildlife species which are dependent on the unique critical habitat attributes that public lands within this bioregion provide. Some species of conservation concern that inhabit this region include Northern spotted owls, fishers, and Coho salmon. It is also home to numerous terrestrial big game species including black-tailed deer, American black bear and elk.

Therefore, in addition to non-game wildlife benefits this area offers, game species are reliant on the large tracts of public lands in order to sustain viable populations for both natural resource and recreation use benefits. Specifically, all three Roosevelt Elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti) hunt zones are located within this area. Unfortunately, northern California is also experiencing a sizeable amount of clandestine marijuana cultivation on public lands, much of it entrenched in prime elk habitat.

These illegal cultivation sites on public lands have a long list of deleterious impacts towards natural resources upon which many wildlife species are dependent. They divert large amounts of water, fragment landscapes in order to cultivate marijuana plants, and contaminate native plants, soil and water resources with either legal or illegal pesticides not intended for use in remote forested areas.

Finally, due to the clandestine nature of this activity, armed growers occupy many of these sites for several months who in turn poach and maliciously poison wildlife.

For example, in 2015, Integral Ecology Research Center (IERC) and Law Enforcement agencies discovered several black-tailed deer does and bucks that were illegally harvested or poisoned at grow sites. In addition to deer poaching, IERC research staff documented several black bears and non-game species like gray foxes maliciously poisoned. Occurrences of fawns bedded down in contaminated plots or deer illegally snared were also common and frequently documented. Finally, remote camera systems have detected numerous game species browsing within cultivation plots, raising the question of the potential contamination risks these sites may pose towards human-harvested game.

There are growing operations throughout the northern California forests operating in this manner. There is a horrible environmental price to these. Marijuana needs to be legalized, placed under a regulatory framework,* and those continuing to grow in the national forests need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

* Yes, I know that there are lots of problems with agribusiness and with the regulations of the agricultural industry. It’s still way better than this.

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  • N__B

    Anyone want an over/under bet on when a “hippie-punching” comment first appears?

    • Schadenboner

      Never take over/under against a bear who knows how to dig.

    • tsam

      I still can’t get that smell of patchouli oil off my fists.

  • A lot of this goes on down in Southern Ohio as well. That part of the state is Appalachia and there isn’t much of an economy down there.

    • sparks

      The two guys I knew/know who ran big grow operations here in CA retired, one with a self-inflicted bullet to the head, the other with alcohol. Due to their personalities, I don’t imagine either was environmentally friendly. The basement operators I know are a bit more stable and respectable (although one is a musician), as the crop is usually half for themselves.

    • Woodrowfan

      same in Kentucky, the “Cornbread Mafia.” the story (urban legend?) is that they’d hang fishhooks at roughly eye level as booby traps near their plots.

      • I have heard the same urban legend. Never wanted to test the theory.

      • ColBatGuano

        Wasn’t this the dumb plotline of the last season of ‘Justified’?

    • postmodulator

      Ah, yes. Meigs County Gold. The only thing that will grow in that rocky soil.

    • Brownian

      I volunteered for the Army on my birthday
      They draft the white trash first,’round here anyway
      I done two tours of duty in Vietnam
      I came home with a brand new plan
      I take the seed from Columbia and Mexico
      I just plant it up the holler down Copperhead Road
      And now the D.E.A.’s got a chopper in the air
      I wake up screaming like I’m back over there
      I learned a thing or two from Charlie don’t you know
      You better stay away from Copperhead Road

  • flounder

    I did some work in the mining industry at one point, and my first job was consulting at a mine in Colombia. The Spaniards had discovered gold in the area and it had been mined ever since. The streams were dead from poorly designed/measured cyanide leaching processes, there was trash all over the place, and acid mine drainage was coming from everywhere. The best bet for this otherwise beautiful area to have a clean-ish environment was for the big boys to hire all the locals, stop the small-time mining, and get the mining under a regulatory framework, no matter if it is perfect or not.

  • jamesjhare

    But — BIG Marijuana. I mean it could be really big and stuff.

    • cpinva

      “But — BIG Marijuana. I mean it could be really big and stuff.”

      right you are james! and, though I gag saying this, it’s also the surest route towards national legalization. those shareholders are going to want to see continued upward drift of their dividends, and corps. will have plenty of lobbying power, at both the state and federal level.

      a prediction: pot will be legal, nationally, within 10 years.

      • I thought that in 1979.

        Prohibitionists have done a pretty effective job of spooking people about marijuana, and the current opioid scare isn’t helping. I expect better from New York than I mostly ever see, and the best the Empire State can do is a very narrow lifting of medical marijuana restrictions.

        • tsam

          They have, but they’re losing this one faster than the anti-LGBT fuckheads lost their war. Even though it’s not over yet, they aren’t going to get any of that ground back.

          This was as good as over when the whole “medical” marijuana thing started happening. It’s just a matter of time now, and I’d guess that cpinva’s guess at 10 years is probably accurate, at least for most states. There will be hold outs until a case hits the Supreme Court, I’d bet.

          • Schadenboner

            And maybe even after this, if the American people continue in their partisan insistence in electing Democrats to the White House.

            • tsam

              Voting for Democrats is just the partisanship that is destroying this once fine nation. We all know that.

        • MPAVictoria

          You know the Canadian gov’t has committed to legalizing it in 2017. Might change the picture down south of us.

          • rea

            Or, for Detroit residents, up north of you. The difference in drinking ages already affects life in metro Detroit, now that the state appellate courts have held that a minor is not illegally “in possession” of alcohol if he or she comes back from Canada with a belly full of it.

        • ColBatGuano

          Given that four states have already legalized for recreational use, I’m guessing odds are better now than in 1979.

      • pot will be legal, nationally, within 10 years.

        And, whenever it is, its corporate producers (the necessity of whom I agree with Eric on) will, like the tobacco industry (and the sugar industry, the casino industry, etc., etc.), put the efforts of pre-corporate pushers to shame.

        • Dennis Orphen

          Which is why there should be laws that mandate disgusting strains names, like that Saturday Night Live fake TV commercial from the 70’s. And what a coincidence, I just happen to have a list I’ve been making right here on my phone, right after the band name and porn star name list (which just had ‘Woody Johnson’ added to it, thanks LGM!).

          Here are a few examples:

          Bedridden
          Grillbrick
          Tailing Pond (for Monsanto or the Koch’s first foray into marijuana genetics.
          Cankle

          And so on……

      • John Revolta

        pot will be legal, nationally, within 10 years.

        Lenny Bruce said the same thing in c. 1962. Because, “all the lawyers I know smoke it”.

    • Dennis Orphen

      Epic. The term is epic.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    I predicted this a few years ago, so keep your ears tuned in a decade or two: eventually, some chip-on-shoulder resentissment type male country singer is going to croak about how, “ah buy my pot from Wal-Mart, unlike you big city sissies with your elitist marijuana grown in soil and under the sun without chemical fertilizers or pesticides, like a workin’ man, ‘cuz I’m a workin’ man (who likes to get his buzz on.)”

    • Gwen

      A Country Boy Can Survive on Sam’s Choice brand marijuana. So leave this Long Haired Country Boy (and Wal-Mart shopper) alone!

    • I thought you were going to say the song was the lament of a small time pot grower forced out of business because he can’t compete with big weed.

      • witlesschum

        If he was any good, he’d record both. Merle Haggard would have.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    Trumpite response to the above story is, “This is why I should be allowed to shoot all the Meskins I see!” They might not even notice the pesticides/watershed issue. (If they did, they might start cheering for the Mexican grow ops… until you told them they were organized by Mexican drug gangs… it all depends with these folks… bonus points if you can work undershirts and rollerskates into it.)

    • bonus points if you can work undershirts and rollerskates into it

      No deal unless cantaloupes! And if you hope to win the Victor Davis Hansen Order of Wingnutty Merit, chainsaws too.

  • yet_another_lawyer

    Can’t we all just switch to meth? Sure, sure, it might not be great for the houses we manufacture it in, but you don’t need any soil. Nature is saved!

    • Better living through chemistry!

    • Dennis Orphen

      Can’t get reliable smurfs.

  • Karen24

    I work in regulatory law. I have learned from that experience that “small” is only an adjective describing size, not merit. Standardization of business practices usually happens because people in a particular industry learn that those practices are the most efficient and effective ones to adopt. It is not a vast conspiracy by Big Whatever so much as evidence that there are not actually an infinite number of ways to do something and achieve all desirable results.

    On this specific issue, consolidation in the industry would likely make it much easier to keep pot out of the hands of minors, because large companies don’t want the bad publicity and are big enough to attract media attention. Old Hippie Bob with half a dozen plants does not have the same incentives. (I realize this is not going to be a perfect system and that much blind-eye-turning happens with booze and cigarettes as well, but judging from my kids’ high school friends, not nearly as much as went on when I was in school.).

    • N__B

      I have learned from that experience that “small” is only an adjective describing size, not merit.

      Try convincing Trump of that.

      • postmodulator

        I don’t know about that. He’s probably tried to convince all his wives of it at some point.

    • Rob in CT

      This is the sort of thing I try to explain to people about pollution. Big companies can do more environmental damage because their sheer size (and they also have the $$ to hire serious legal/technical firepower to fend off the government, which is an important factor, and regulatory capture is a valid concern), but a bunch of small companies that collectively add up to the same amount of (whatever) production would probably pollute more, not less.

      There are reasons to prefer a larger # of smaller companies in an industry, but I don’t think the environment is one of those reasons.

  • MPAVictoria

    I think it makes sense for those growing pot for resale to be at least as heavily regulated as cigarette and liquor companies. Not so sure about people growing a few plants for personal use. I would like to see them exempt from any major regulatory requirements.

    • Karen24

      This is really easy to accomplish. Simply define “grower” based on the number of plants and require that those plants only be used for personal use. Say, anyone with more than three plants and anyone who sells or offers or advertises for sale any amount is a “grower” subject to the licensing law and regulatory scheme, and provide enough money to make enforcement mean something.*

      *For all definitions of “mean,” including “really unpleasant.”

      • MPAVictoria

        Oh I agree it is easy to accomplish from a regulatory perspective. I just have my doubts that it WILL be accomplished. I hope so though!

      • JustRuss

        Oregon’s law includes a provision for personal-use growing. We’ll see how things develop, but it really shouldn’t be hard to implement.

    • Richard Gadsden

      Much like homebrewers are for alcohol?

      • MPAVictoria

        Yeah that was basically how I was envisioning it.

    • burnspbesq

      Your neighborhood doper prompts a re-examination of Wickard v. Filburn? Oh, yay.

    • TroubleMaker13

      I don’t know about tobacco, but the overwhelming bulk of the regulations around liquor production are pretty tightly focused on tax collection. The main exception being restrictions on labels and marketing from a moralistic/public-health standpoint.

      Otherwise, they’re pretty agnostic about details of the production process.

  • SamChevre

    How much growing in random places (rather than farms/gardens) would you get if you went with “legal to grow, illegal to sell”?

    That would be my preferred regimen (yes, I’ve been reading Mark Kleiman for years)–regulate it like we regulate home-brewing.

    • Rob in CT

      Sounds good to me. I haven’t read him recently, but I also read Kleinman for years. I think I even learned a couple of things :)

    • CaptainBringdown

      It is my understanding that compared to cultivating tobacco, distilling liquor or even brewing beer, growing marijuana is quite easy in virtually any climate. The profit making potential of “Big Marijuana” seems to be severely limited if large numbers of people could cultivate small gardens for personal use and sharing with friends.

      • yet_another_lawyer

        Possibly, but if you could just buy marijuana at the store the average consumer will probably suddenly lose interest in home grow operations. Marijuana cannot possibly be easier to grow than potatoes, but Big Potato is still a viable enterprise notwithstanding that in principle everybody could grow their own without too much effort and that the profit on each potato sold is next to nothing.

        • CaptainBringdown

          Good points, but potatoes are very cheap to buy at the store. I don’t see pot selling for the price of parsley, particularly if it’s heavily taxed.

          • MacK

            I could see it selling very cheaply – remember Cannabis is just a variety of hemp, and used to be grown by the ton when it was heavily used for sacking and rope. It was cheap then.

        • joel hanes

          Marijuana cannot possibly be easier to grow than potatoes

          Plausible but wrong.

          Useable marijuana (“shake”) is much, much easier to grow than useable potatoes. Artisanal marijuana (“bud”) requires considerable tending, but a dozen marijuana plants are a generous year’s supply.

          Digging potatoes without splitting them, then washing and storing them successfully, is a surprising amount of work. Also, potato bugs, potato blight, hornworm, aphids, mosaic virus.

          • tsam

            Useable marijuana (“shake”) is much, much easier to grow than useable potatoes.

            And in fact grows wild in many warm, humid places. Fort Riley, Kansas had millions of those things growing all over the post. Pvt Tsam mowed them down at least once a week, and back they’d come.

          • TroubleMaker13

            Yeah, but what you’re calling “shake” is to marijuana what jailhouse hooch is to wine.

      • postmodulator

        growing marijuana is quite easy in virtually any climate.

        This is quite literally why it’s called “weed.”

      • TroubleMaker13

        It is my understanding that compared to cultivating tobacco, distilling liquor or even brewing beer, growing marijuana is quite easy in virtually any climate.

        This is not true at all. Cannabis does grow like a weed, but getting it to produce usable, quality marijuana takes care and skill.

        • ColBatGuano

          Yeah, not a huge market for ditchweed.

          • Dennis Orphen

            That has to do with genetics, not cultivation methods. Cultivation methods determine the amount of yield per unit of area/time/inputs of water*air*fertilizer*light. The potency per mass unit of said yield is determined by the strain cultivated.

            • TroubleMaker13

              Nope. Those same cultivation methods you mention also impact quality, particularly temperature and sunlight. You need to be able to identify and cull the male plants before they pollinate the females. Flowering is dependent on the photoperiod so you only get one crop per year if you’re growing outdoors.

              I mean, it’s not rocket science, but it’s not like growing tomatoes or something like that.

              • Dennis Orphen

                Well, I was assuming only females to start with. Who grows from seed anymore? Who ever did? And yes, temperature and sunlight affect quality, but mostly after the plant is harvested. And as far as one crop per year outdoors goes, there’s always a dep tarp (although you could argue that a dep crop isn’t outdoors anymore.

                • TroubleMaker13

                  Yeah, you clearly know what you’re talking about. I was mainly pushing back against the notion that some kind of informal cottage industry could effectively compete with professional cultivators.

                • Dennis Orphen

                  As do you. Having a dialogue that clarifies a few points and slowly introducing new ones is good for educating others here who may not farm tuff, dirty 530 style. And they probably aren’t going to start googling .

                • Dennis Orphen

                  As things have stood up to the very recent past An important skill, more important than the others, has been a willingness to break the law and an ability to not get caught.

                • Dennis Orphen

                  And in the currently most progressive and future regulatory environments your comment above regarding taxation is spot-on.

    • Murc

      How much growing in random places (rather than farms/gardens) would you get if you went with “legal to grow, illegal to sell”?

      Probably quite a lot of it, because unlike home brewing, you cannot just pop down to the corner store and purchase some legally. People will still want to purchase pot without growing it themselves.

      • SamChevre

        Can you explain further? What would be the advantage of growing in a National Forest, rather than your yard, if only the selling was illegal?

        • Schadenboner

          If, as we’ve posited, it’s going to be “legal to grow, illegal to sell” and if, as joel hanes notes above, “a dozen marijuana plants are a generous year’s supply” (I don’t know, I haven’t smoked in years, and while I certainly consumed in bulk back in my day I was never close enough to the land to get an idea of how many plants were involved) and your entire backyard is a pot plantation I think the cops might put two and two together.

          Allowing the individual to grow a dozen plants probably won’t stop large scale cultivation on public lands (and the environmental problems this brings with it), but agribusiness-scale producers would probably lower the cost enough to put this sort of thing out of business.

          • DrS

            Yields per plant can be kinda tricky. Large grows often sacrifice yield per plant by crowding plants together. Less per plant but more yield per watt of light/area of grow space. I think you can get over a pound per plant, but large grows might only get 1-1.5 oz per.

        • Murc

          Can you explain further? What would be the advantage of growing in a National Forest, rather than your yard, if only the selling was illegal?

          Because presumably you want to move that product eventually, and if you bring a half-acre of pot under cultivation where everyone can see that’s going to be impossible. The cops will park a cruiser out front and watch you like a hawk, and they’d be right (in the narrow sense of “this idiot is clearly gearing up to commit a crime”) to do so.

    • Dilan Esper

      The big problem with Kleiman’s position is that there’s no reason it should be illegal to sell a relatively safe consumer product that gives people pleasure. In other words, selling marijuana is actually a non-problem. (Certainly compared to, say, selling alcohol, tobacco, etc., all of which are less safe.)

      So the only reason to really do this is if you think marijuana is so immoral that you can’t stand the thought of anyone making a profit off it.

      Meanwhile, this sort of regulation would have tremendous negative effects. There’s a reason societies moved from a barter and subsistence farming economy to trade and money. Why should a marijuana user have to waste time growing pot rather than paying someone else to grow it for him or her?

      Further, corporate sales are easier to regulate, which is really important. For instance, it’s easier to police the THC content of commercial pot. It’s easier to deal with impurities. It’s easier to deal with liability issues (suing a corporation for products liability rather than suing your buddy who has little money for negligence, when something goes wrong and someone gets hurt). It’s easier to tax.

      Basically, “legal to grow, illegal to sell” is mindless puritanism.

  • vic rattlehead

    Erik calling for corporate control of something? Egads! Someone please bring me to my fainting couch.

    • Naturally, I would also be for state-owned farms as well.

      • Bootsie

        Barack Obama National Indo Farm

      • Schadenboner

        Something something something, Bong State Recreational Area, something something something, pause for laughter.

        • Dennis Orphen

          I grew up about 20 minutes from there. The land was purchased for an air force base, which was subsequently cancelled. The story could make a good post for a blog equally concerned with the air force, history, politics, government, budgets and conservation, if such a blog were to exist.

          • GFW

            Or one committed to abolishing said air force. :-)

      • Dilan Esper

        Before Obama took the feds off the case, I thought state owned farms were a good solution to the Bush Administration’s attempts at cracking down on states that allowed medical marijuana. Use those Tenth Amendment precedents to our benefit (it’s very possible that under current constitutional law, the federal government has no power to arrest state officials who produce and distribute narcotics).

  • Joe_JP

    At some point, a nation-wide business in modern time will use the corporate form, given economic realities and all. The problem these days is the right sort of regulations.

  • I have one question: what are the dangers of first and second hand smoke? Is it comparable to tobacco? Probably is, but just wondering.

    • My understanding on first hand smoke is that basically it is bad for you, but the relatively small amount of smoke inhaled in comparison to someone sucking on a cigarette every 30 seconds makes it unlikely that lung-based health issues would develop.

      • Origami Isopod

        I think it depends on the amount of use. There’s a reason many people use vaporizers.

        • Schadenboner

          I thought the reason people vaped was to make Grover Norquist feel all tingly in his wee-wee.

      • DrS

        A lot of regular cigarette smokers smoke a pack a day. The amount of tobacco in a pack of cigarettes is about 1/2 an ounce. Half an ounce of cannabis is a really massive amount, and someone smoking that amount has to be pretty rare. For one, that’d certainly cost north of $160. Checking one of the dispensaries in Sacramento and their price is $180 for 1/2 an oz.

        Inhaling smoke is never good, but most cannabis smokers are almost certainly going to inhale less smoke that most regular cigarette smokers.

        I do believe that there’s been some research into differences in the smoke, as there are compounds in tobacco that increase the carcinogenic effects that are not present in cannabis smoke.

    • Dennis Orphen

      Hotboxing. It’s called hotboxing.

      (Don’t know if the link above is safe for work, but if you’re supposedly working, shouldn’t you be working?)

  • postmodulator

    * Yes, I know that there are lots of problems with agribusiness and with the regulations of the agricultural industry. It’s still way better than this.

    If there is a lesson to be learned from Issue 3 in Ohio last year, it’s that a fairly large number of people who are nominally pro-legalization prefer no legalization to an imperfect legalization regime.

  • socraticsilence

    I’m no fan of big Ag, but ADM isn’t going to shoot you or get you maimed by a trap when you decide to hike a national forest.

    • Dennis Orphen

      Maybe we should just make shooting and/or maiming people a crime if that is problem. Write your congressperson!

  • anapestic

    If we end up with a situation where ADM/whoever is allowed to grow but home growing is illegal (or impracticable because regulations) then it will seriously harsh my mellow.

    • pianomover

      Siskiyou county has two anti-grow measures on upcoming ballot. Targeted at small independent growers who around here are manly Laotian/Hmong groups. The not so subtle talk of crazed Asian gangs and other paranoia is getting intense.
      California sherrifs group sees marijuana grow legalization as threat to asset confiscation grift also.

  • pianomover
  • shah8

    This sort of reasoning always drive me nuts.

    Legalization would make this problem *worse* because the legal business effectively protects the gray and black markets. If there is a demand for outdoor grown high quality strain with great margins for sellers, then they will encroach on “unclaimed” land with water, regardless.

    Write effective environmental laws, make them outcomes dependent rather than “intention” dependent, don’t give locals discretion (so focus on floors, and nothing super-ambitious), and enforce them.

    Let’s not have stupid libertarian inflected harangues about “prohibitionism”.

    • TroubleMaker13

      This makes no sense. There is certainly demand for high quality product, but not at “great margins for sellers”. Producers would certainly want to minimize costs, but the most effective way to do that would be simply to produce within the law, given the opportunity. Why grow in remote areas of public lands when there is plenty of prime ag land available with existing infrastructure?

      Illicit growers are already flaunting laws with pretty high stakes, why would they care about environmental laws, however “outcome dependent”? The point is to bring the industry into the light so that oversight and enforcement can be effective.

      Maybe you can explain your point in more convincing detail?

      • shah8

        Nah, it’s pretty simple sense. Effective oversight depends on actual effective oversight.

        • TroubleMaker13

          Which is a metric fuck-ton easier if the activity in question is actually, you know, in sight.

          • shah8

            You know, I really wish you’d actually take a look at your own thinking, instead of mine.

            For example…is the activity illegal?

            Yes.

            Would the activity stay illegal with legalization of MJ?

            Yes.

            Is the activity hard to discover?

            No.

            Would the activity be easier to discover if MJ becomes legal?

            No.

            Are legal corporations prone to going after violent criminals or buying them off?

            Buying them off.

            Will that change when MJ is legal?

            No.

            How about legal marajuana corporations outcompeting small time growers in state forests, so that they become unprofitable?

            Depends. Not likely. Small growers aren’t paying for land or water that corps would have to pay for. They also have ready access to workers with impaired right such that they could be paid/treated however the grower with guns feel like.

            Also, if you legalize MJ, that’s a new crop that demands a a share of water resources, potable water being on the decline these days. Legal MJ corps would probably behave like legal ag families/corps. Which means problems are shifted, and maybe made worse, depending on laws and water pricing/rights.

            So, silly ass dude who probably listens to all the “get rich quick” schemes, and dieting tips that rely on “this one trick”, it’s pretty damned simple. If you want to protect state forests, the animals, and the water, you have to pay up in terms of cash for brave forest patrollers, drones, pilots, and also resist the various bad faith liberty arguments that might get these Bundy folks off the hook.

            Now, if we’re talking using the tax revenue from legal MJ and dedicating it to MJ eradication on public lands…

            As an extra taste:

            http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-famous-tigers-of-tinder-have-been-saved-from-their-drugged-up-hell-tiger-temple?i

            • TroubleMaker13

              How about legal marajuana corporations outcompeting small time growers in state forests, so that they become unprofitable?

              Depends. Not likely. Small growers aren’t paying for land or water that corps would have to pay for. They also have ready access to workers with impaired right such that they could be paid/treated however the grower with guns feel like.

              I wonder what’s different about marijuana, than say, tomatoes in this respect. Why don’t we see a problem with illicit cultivation of heirloom tomatoes on public land? It’s a mystery.

              So, silly ass dude who probably listens to all the “get rich quick” schemes…

              WTF?? Did I insult you?

              • shah8

                You may as well have insulted me.

                I mean…illicit cultivation of heirloom tomatoes?

                The actual article.

                again.

                Is about illicit cultivation *in* *public* *lands*. It’s not about grow rooms, or people’s damned backyards. And it’s not as if there wasn’t…oh, a recent controversy about a certain band of thieves who use public lands for otherwise legal cattle to graze. How did that end, hmmm?

                Yes, you’re a fucking dense personality on the internets.

                • TroubleMaker13

                  Is about illicit cultivation *in* *public* *lands*.

                  Right, hence my use of the words “on public land”. Who’s dense?

                  Look, here’s what YOU wrote:

                  Legalization would make this problem *worse* because the legal business effectively protects the gray and black markets. If there is a demand for outdoor grown high quality strain with great margins for sellers, then they will encroach on “unclaimed” land with water, regardless.

                  Not “fail to entirely solve this problem”, but “make it worse”. I find that unconvincing and what you’ve offered is your own hand-waving and the Bundys. And insults. Lots of insults.

                  First off, to answer your question “How did that end?”, it’s with one man dead, the Bundys in jail, and the entire movement disowned and disavowed by most legitimate industrial users of public lands (thus refuting one of your assertions above).

                  In fairness though, sure, overgrazing and illegal use of public lands is a problem. Its also the case that there are significant differences between marijuana growing and cattle ranching, including a 150+ year tradition of sanctioned use of public land.

                  There are at least three reasons why illegal growers chose to be squatters (and BTW they squat on private land too): to hide, to reduce costs, and to avoid legal liability. You don’t think they want to hide, but they do– not just from law enforcement, but also from theft (because they have no legal recourse). Public lands are good for this, particularly in wilderness areas. The reduced costs are offset somewhat by the increased cost of dealing with the remote locations.

                  Legalization would address the incentives to hide and avoid liability (by which I mean legal repercussions from being the owner/leasee of the land where an illegal crop is grown). It’s reasonable to think that the market effect of increased supply would squeeze margins such that whatever reduced costs are involved, a lot of previous squatters would no longer find it worth the hassle.

                  I doubt legalization will solve the problem entirely, but I’m totally unconvinced that it won’t be reduced or made worse. At least until I hear a sensible argument to the contrary.

                • shah8

                  If you make effectively unresponsive long arguments, I think you deserve the insults.

                  I mean, you think there are all of these would be law abiding people who’d just move from national forest to a plot visible and taxable to the government and get straight when MJ is legal? Because so much of the problem is that people have to hide their capitalistic urge to make money by growing MJ? Wait, are they Pamela Isley and her friends?

                  Legal MJ offers better market access to all MJ grown, unless to gov’t is quite good at surveiling the supply chain. They also provide better access to services. Often times this means that illegal operators tends to have really great profit margins with lowered attending risks–because they have more legal/lobbying tools and can use red tape as an advantage. Good examples of this dynamic are everywhere, but I suppose anyone actually interested can google some good papers on payday lending (and online payday lending), or illegal gold mining.

                  There is simply no smart bomb or super pill here. It’s simply governance 101 and boots on the ground and eyes up.

            • TroubleMaker13

              BTW, here’s the payload to the post that you’re objecting to. Note the second clause to the sentence.

              Marijuana needs to be legalized, placed under a regulatory framework,* and those continuing to grow in the national forests need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

              • shah8

                And my original reply was effectively speaking, these are two separate issues that do not, on close inspection, correlated.

                Legalizing MJ would not make the state forest problem go away. It would probably make it worse. However, Loomis effectively takes the point of view that the primary value of growing in state forest is that it’s all “hidden”. No, there are many growers with easy access to opaque land, or who grows indoor. State forests aren’t great because they’re hidden. State forests are great because of unpriced resources. As such, the primary issue wrt to *state forests* is to hire more people and use better surveilance. Kick people out and deter with fines or jail time. Legalizing MJ has nothing to do with improving conditions in state forests unless you explicitly make it so.

                Jeez…

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