Wednesday, July 23, 2008

B.C. Bud

A BBC reporter checked out the marijuana crop in Canada,starting with one man's basement.

In front of me stand 120 marijuana plants whose thick bushy leaves cover the strong stems.
John explains quite nonchalantly that this is just a small growing operation, or grow-ops as they are known throughout Canada.

He has competition, and not just from the usual suspects.

Inspector Brian Cantera of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Vancouver believes that John's small grow-op is one of 20,000 to be found in residential houses around the province.
That figure excludes the larger grow-ops in industrial locations, not to mention the huge dope farms that are scattered around British Columbia's vast interior.

The striking aspect of BC's marijuana trade is that it has gone beyond the boundaries of traditional organised crime groups (although some are still heavily involved) and entered into the middle classes. Much of the revenue derived from BC Bud, as the cannabis crop is known, goes on paying college fees, perhaps buying a second car or making that holiday to the Caribbean just a little bit more affordable.

The trade is so large that the police in BC are faced with an impossible task.

That last phrase is a standard summary of the situation everywhere. A statement from an opponent of lightening up Canadian marijuana laws caught my eye.

And it's like alcohol - it runs an industry."

Like alcohol - which was banned, then re-legalized.

Here's an understatement.

If BC's marijuana trade ever did force through a change in the legal status of the drug in Canada, the implications for Canadian-US relations would be profound.

It's worth remembering that Canadians made a lot of money from U.S. alcohol prohibition.

Stories like this - massive marijuana production overwhelming law enforcement - have become a standard part of journalism as the so-called War on Drugs lumbers thoughtlessly and expensively on. Although I'm not optimistic, it is nice to think change is possible. After all, Don Quixote did eventually quit charging the windmills.

No comments: