Sunday, February 17, 2008

Here's another one:

Eel River pot bust reveals costly mess
A month ago in Mendocino:

An elaborate 2,000-plant indoor marijuana growing operation uncovered this week near the Eel River in northern Mendocino County is the site of environmental contamination that may cost $1 million or more to clean up, law enforcement officials said Thursday.

Two Southern California men were arrested and an investigation continues at a site fouled by the dumping of diesel fuel and other petroleum waste into an open pit a half mile uphill from the river, according to Mendocino County sheriff investigators.

In order to maximize profits... the growers had installed machinery and equipment to extract THC, the potent chemical found in marijuana, from pot plant waste. He said the end product was being stamped into "cakes" that were to be sold....

...Deputies discovered two indoor grow rooms, $15,280 in cash, hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana packaging materials and scales, and several weapons including a military-type assault rifle.

... investigators also discovered that diesel fuel spewing from a leaky generator supplying power to the indoor growing rooms was being collected in containers and dumped into an open pit.

By Thursday afternoon about 750 gallons of dumped diesel had been removed from the pit, which might have originally served as disposal for an old outhouse.

"We don't know what it will take to clean everything up,"...

... the damage is believed to be so extensive that county officials Thursday called the federal Environmental Protection Agency for assistance...

...The case underscores mounting concerns among county residents about the extent of commercial marijuana operations and the effects on the environment, crime and rural neighborhoods.

County voters in the June primary will decide whether to repeal a local measure passed in 2000 that decriminalized possession of up to 25 marijuana plants, a move that helped foster Mendocino's reputation as a haven for pot growers.
By Mike Geniella, The Press Democrat, Friday, 1/18/08

And here in Humboldt County - it's 99 plants. And we are known as a haven for pot growers.

Maybe I missed it - have we heard from the 'environmental' groups like Salmon Forever/Humboldt Watershed Council/"Riverkeepers" and friends of the Eel etc, etc, etc. condemning this kind of thing? Seriously. Something on the scale of CREG's outrage...


  1. Rose,

    I'll add my two cents worth. I have heard of outrage screamed at alleged indoor growers. Lots of people are up in arms over the environmental disaster that SOME indoor grows apparently present. I have heard there are underground movements to get diesel spill mats to indoor growers and to help educate them to the dangers of what they are doing. But because marijuana is illegal, people hesitate to deal with officials in any capacity. Therefore, there is no reporting of spills and no cleanup. Seems like a good argument for legalization to me.

    Besides, if it were legalized, indoor growers would have a harder time making a living period. Because of the nature of the business, people tend to work underground not through media, and certainly not through officials. That doesn't mean there isn't concern and there isn't some action.

  2. If it were legalized tomorrow - would the people who right now make LOTS of money tax-free be willing to fork over the 30-50% that regular wage earners pay?

    Would they be willing to subject themselves to the stringent regulations that current businesses are subjected to?

    Would they be willing to pay to make their places of business handicapped accessible like current legitimate businesses have to do?

    Would they be willing to clean up their act, as you say, and pay for the costs of doing so? You can see the costs for the one in this story are projected at a million bucks. That's alot of money.

    Presumably many of the 'pot' voters helped put many of those regulations in place, even if only through support of people like Lovelace and Ken Miller (one of the greatest ironies of the last year is the fact that it is people like Miller who have sought to put in place and enforce regulations that, in effect, prevented the simplest and easiest, most cost effective way of saving his own home, now close to being eroded out from under him.)

    Presumably, those voters are of the mindset that the 'rich should pay more' without thinking that if they can afford, like Hedlund to forfeit a million bucks and six million dollars worth of property - they ARE the rich (not that he had a choice, I'll warrant)...

    But you see what I am asking?

    Or will there be a revolt - because there is no way in hell they want to fork over 50%, especially after profits plummet as a result of legalization? And after the expenditures to clean up and set up properly according the regulations they have, de facto or not, allowed to be set in place?

  3. Peace be with you

    It never fails to amaze me with the talk of legalization. Mostly because those that talk of legalization are full of shit, as they really don't want it. The only ones that really want legalization are the potheads, plaza types, and causual users.

    Even the "alledged" 215 growers don't want weed legalized. Why not ? Because they want the money ! They don't want to work a real job. It's about the money pure and simple.

    I hate marijuana growers and all that they represent. I could care less if someone smoked some weed in their house on a Saturday night after a weeks work. But we all know that is not what is happening. And I could go for legalization (just to turn the growers world upside down) IF it were made legal in every, city, county, and state overnight on the same day. The only possible way for legalization to work would be to make it legal everywhere in the US & Canada at the same time.

    If weed is legalized in California we will just get more maggots from out of state coming here to grow, just like they have with the 215 crap and 99 plants. Not for personal use, not for "mediecine", but to sell in Iowa or Kentucky or Maine.

    As for as the environmental damage caused by dope growers in Humboldt County, is doesn't occur. At least that's what I've read here before !!! It's just the cops exagerating? Miller and those like minded fucks won't speak out against the growers, BECAUSE of the money ! Hell Miller makes money issuing 215 "recommendations", or at least he has in the past.

    Just look in that free Trader paper they put out each week. How many places specialize in selling generators ? And it's not all because of "back to the earth" or "off the grid" hippies wanting to live with nature. It's greed, it's the weed. How many stores specialize in selling grow lights, liquid "plant" fertilizer", generators, diesel delivery to remote locations ? Marijuana growing is openly fluanted in Humbldt County. I'm glad to see Medno is coming around some.

    Humboldt County is too far gone. The marijuana industry. underground economy, or whatever you want to call it has ruined (corrupted) the county. Politicians like Roger were elected because of their support (overt or ocvert) of the marijuana growers. Do you really think that anyone could get elected in Humboldt County if they openly talked of more marijuana enforcement? Or just publicy stating they opposed the growers?

    On an happier note. I just love reading about the cops arresting these growers and taking their money and weed. I would like to see more cops working this, following the money and getting the Big Boys, the legitimate businessmen types, and maybe a lawyer or two, or some politicians. Now wouldn't that be grand.

    love eternal


  4. When I moved here in 1982, my new neighbor came over to our rental to say hi, and offered us a joint. We said no thanks, so he thought we were narcs or worked for the FBI.

    What we have now are 2nd and 3rd generations of pot growers. And they are quite open about it.

    I think decriminalizing pot would take the money out of it by dropping the price. But the contraband growers do not want the price to drop, because if there was a glut, then the price would drop.

    If people could grow outside freely, then they wouldn't have to grow indoors causing diesal spills.

    It is a weed and grows freely. Once on a cross country drive, I saw acres and acres of wild hemp growing in Nebraska. I remember the days when ocean-roaming boats use hemp roap. It is durable and holds up well to the salt water. Hemp pulp could be used for paper and pulp products and help save the declining forests.

    There should be stiffer penalites for environmental damage cause by diesal spills and other environmental degradation.

    And then there is the tax evasion issue. . . Not to mention that minors can get it too easily and smoke it.

    However, I have seen good results with cancer patients that smoke it. It can stimulate appetite and ease nausea when undergoing chemotherapy. It is also beneficial to glaucoma patients. It can help people ease chronic pain.

    I think it is time for some open honest dialogue. Thank you, Rose, for providing a forum for discussion. It would be nice if there could be a forum for more discussion in the community.

  5. Thank you for sharing that with us Carol.

  6. "If it were legalized tomorrow - would the people who right now make LOTS of money tax-free be willing to fork over the 30-50% that regular wage earners pay?"

    The answer is; of course not because prices for legal stuff are not high enough to make it feasible. If pot were treated like alcohol, eeevil business men would supply it cheaply and efficiently while paying taxes on it. As with alcohol, allowing local option (for sales) would result in it being legal for sale in some areas and illegal in others. Some states have "dry" counties. Would pot end up being used by minors? Yes. They now can get hold of it as well as alcohol in spite of legal prohibition. Human ingenuity being what it is there will always be those who are willing to take the risks to supply any product for which there is a demand.
    Pot growing is a major player in the Humboldt economy and as usual, all the down sides are the direct result of prohibition. If Joe Smith can buy the pot he uses for $50.00 per pound at the local store the Humboldt growers who are raking in $3,500.00 are out of business in a heartbeat.

  7. Thank you for sharing that with us.

  8. Everyone talks about legalization simplistically.

    Do you really think that people who are living outside the law are suddenly going to to willingly start playing by the rules, especially when the rules are going to cost them money - LOTS of money?

    I don't.

    I don't think they are willingly going to turn over the tax money, even though all other people have to.

    I don't think they are willingly going to invest in all the environmental safety equipment, or even the handicapped accessible infrastructure that other businesses are required to bow to.

    I don't think that even the tradeoff that you no longer have to fear arrest and prison will be enough.

    And if you are going to grant them exceptions, that is grotesquely unfair to all of those who live by the law, and have had to pay all of the costs all along.

    But perhaps, I am looking at this backwards. Perhaps the advocates of The Fair Tax need to team up with these guys and restructure taxation away from income tax. They would surely be formidable allies in that fight.

    And perhaps those who seek to stop California's business climate from being increasingly expensive and repressive would also find powerful allies in securing change in that quarter.

    Unforeseen consequences - both good and bad...

  9. 99 plants....and who decided on that number? Hmmmmm?

    Legalize it and let agri-business control it and tax the bejesus out of it. Medical Marijuana should be purchased at a pharmacy.

    And if someone wanted to do a "Micro-Grown" product like Eel River Brewery...then let them compete with Philip Eel River competes with Miller Brewing Company.

    Legalize it and be done with it.

  10. Uh-huh, I know. And, for the most part, I agree.

    My question is, will you need a special Task Force/Police Unit to enforce the taxing the bejeezus out of them, or will they willingly comply, willingly lay down their arms in exchange for being made legal.

    Will you need a new task force to force environmental compliance and workforce/labor law compliance?

  11. Diesel is going to get spilled one way or another, from the equipment used to power the generators, to the equipment used to turn the soil.

    They talk of peace and love and being one with gaia mother earth, while completely raping her.

  12. Rose, isn't it 99 plants within a 100 square feet?

  13. That was my understanding, carol, and the 100 plants was to allow for starters as well as full grown plants, supposedly to cover a person's needs for a (year? month?)... How that translates to 1200 sq. ft. full house indoor grows being exempt - it just shows what a sham this whole thing is.

    If legalizing would solve it, go for it - i just see tons of extenuating problems. I don't think the criminal element in this equation is going to go quietly into becoming legal with all that that entails - i.e. giving up half their income in taxes, losing money due to supply and demand, and costs associated with legal operation, compliance with rules and the like.

    They're not complying with the rules NOW - and those were set pretty lenient.

  14. I like the "recent comments" feature of your blog, Rose.

    I think there are many more indoor growing operations than before. At least now, whenI look at a house that has its curtains drawn or blankets on the windows, I think, "Hhm...wonder what is going on in there - "

    I think the law is being stretched, to say the least. It is too bad that people can't just do what California law allows them to do. Then there is the issue that it is against federal law -

    I think we can agree the system needs improvement.


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