Gone to Pot! Giant Marijuana Plants All Over California!
Before It’s News
October 27, 2013
By Dan Rather
The old expression about everything being bigger in Texas just got trumped by what’s happening in California. In my career as a reporter, I’ve been on more than a few drug raids and seen my fair share of marijuana plants. But nothing prepared me for what’s growing in northern California. As Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman describes them, they’re “super-mega-steroid marijuana plants. We followed Sheriff Allman along on a raid near Ukiah where deputies had just discovered more than a hundred plants the size of giant Christmas trees, some reaching 15 feet high. It’s the latest trend in pot farms, or what are increasingly looking like pot plantations! So how’d they get so big? Sheriff Allman says it’s a combination of genetic modification, fertilizers, pesticides, California’s ideal growing climate and water, lots of water.
While the super plants we found in an illegal growing operation were in Mendocino County, they’re popping up all over the state, and much of the time on public land where illegal large-scale cultivation of marijuana is destroying local ecosystems. And, increasingly, it’s not locals who are farming the pot plants. Allman told me that Latin American, even European syndicates, have moved in to the back woods where they are growing far from prying eyes. This is a multi-billion dollar business and those who I spoke to used words like “crisis” and “out of control” to describe what’s going on here. Think about this — illegal marijuana farms in northern California are actually sucking the mighty Eel River dry, and that’s threatening the native salmon population.
While the diversion of water from rivers is a big concern, the use of toxic pesticides — some banned long ago in the U.S. — to keep anything and everything away from crops is also troubling. These pesticides are poisoning wildlife and contaminating the water supply. We also discovered that these chemicals show up in marijuana that’s not only headed for the black market, but in supplies due to be sold in California’s medical dispensaries.