When dialing up SiteMeter this morning over the first cup of coffee, I noted an unusually large number of hits coming from Fark.com to my post on a NEJM article detailing lead poisoning cases among marijuana users in Germany.
In that article, lead shavings were used to boost dime bags that were “a little light.” The combustion of the particles lead to lead poisoning in users and is one of the few scenarios where use of a chelating agent ((2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid; DMSA; succimer; Chemet®) was both indicated and effective.
Turns out that the Fark.com hits today are coming from a forum thread discussing a story at ABC News on the use of US National Parks as sites of marijuana cultivation by so-called Mexican marijuana cartels. The primary point of the article is that pesticides and herbicides available in Mexico but banned in the US for safety reasons are being spread across these swaths of protected forests, leaving environmental issues behind when the groups are busted as well as a safety hazard for those purchasing the plant from such cultivation operations.
We’ve actually had our own issues back East with organized pot plantings run not by environmental-minded stoners but, instead, the migrant and often-undocumented farm workers who we exploit for picking fruits and vegetables, risking birth defects in their kids to keep our food prices low.
Some are helping to mind relatively large plantings of marijuana and these plots are now being scouted by state helicopters, just as in California. Even in the conservative South, where moonshine alcohol was the illicit trade of the last century, you’ve got a good number of folks who ask if monies aren’t better spent on other more relevant crimes:
After news of the big Harnett County bust in June traveled across the country, Harnett Sheriff Larry Rollins says, he was inundated with calls and e-mail from people questioning the value of putting so many resources to work on investigations that rarely result in arrests. When charges are made, they are usually for manufacturing or trafficking marijuana. Even then, police say, the courts treat the charges lightly.
And at $340/hour for the helicopters alone, you’ve got to ask if some of the “operations” aren’t a bit overzealous:
In one, Sheriff’s Capt. Alex Fish said, spotters found seven plants in a man’s vegetable garden. In another, they found one plant in a pot on a man’s back porch.
“Bless his heart,” Fish said. “It’s kind of hard to deny the marijuana plant on your back doorstep.”
Perhaps the gentlemen were putting their faith in their own growing methods rather than risk buying marijuana laden with pesticides.
Seriously, can you imagine the amount of money spent on detecting and prosecuting people with 1 or 7 marijuana plants on their porches or in their garden?
Instead, how about investing that money in the DonorsChoose.org teachers’ projects in their economically depressed communities?
*The quote in the title came from Agent Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Game. Agent Foy estimated in the ABC News story that 1.5 pounds of fertilizers and pesticides is used for every 11.5 plants.