Monday, August 16, 2010

Reefer Madness

Several years ago, a county sheriff just north of Madison got his deputies and assorted other law-enforcement types to trundle through the countryside on a summer weekend, looking for cannabis, and when they managed to pull up about six or seven examples of what in common parlance is “ditch weed”, the sheriff put the uprooted plants on a table, called a news conference, and told the media about the “success” of his quest.

He called the ditch weed “highly addictive and extremely dangerous marijuana”, and referred to it as a gateway drug.

About a year ago, a phalanx of deputies, State Troopers, DEA personnel, and assorted others went tromping through the Navarino Wildlife Area and found a fairly large marijuana growing operation they’d been tipped to by some hunter. The Shawano County sheriff trumpeted their success.

A few days ago a bunch of law enforcement officials conducted raids in Outagamie, Brown, Menominee, and Oconto County, and corralled a bunch of weed (10 thousand plants and 2 to 3 hundred pounds of processed cannabis, says the Attorney General), a stash of weapons, and enough cash to finance a decent weekend in some exotic locale.

The Oconto County Sheriff, Mike Jansen, said this was a coordinated effort that had been two years in the making…trailing suspects as they bought stuff at local stores, surveilling all manner of suspected perps,..that finally paid off with the big bust. TWO YEARS!

I often wonder if all the “evidence” is really “destroyed.”

I also wonder – again – if the taxpayers were ever given an accurate and realistic accounting of the costs of this failed “war on drugs”, would they continue to be so complacent in how law enforcement authorities allocate their time and resources?

Perhaps I’m just advocating what I talked about in last week Thursday’s essay, and suggesting, like Eddie Ben Elsen, that only the good laws should be enforced.


  1. There are a lot of dead bodies CLOSELY associated with drug trade in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas.

    No problem to me if that toll drops due to 2-year evidence-gathering.

  2. That's why we need to legalize marijuana. Turn the business over to legitimate farmers and processors, keep the money local, stop funding Mexican drug cartels, and spend our law enforcement resources on other problems. Alcohol and tobacco are the real gateway drugs, and yet somehow we cope with their legality (and the vast majority of users do not move on to harder stuff).

  3. Jill, I drank.....cough...a fair amount in my yout', and have not moved on to horse or coke.

    "Gateway"? I don't think so.

  4. Dad29 - I've also smoked a lot of pot in my time and haven't moved on to horse or coke. Gateway? I don't think so. And some hippies growing weed in the woods that my taxes just paid a ridiculous amount to bust have about as much relationship to your Milwaukee drug problem as your drinking does to someone else's drug problem. It's just a waste of money in tight times.