Wow, just when I thought the war on drugs couldn't get any more futile, this from the Associated Press:
Soldiers trying to seize control of one Mexico's top drug-producing regions found the countryside teeming with a new hybrid marijuana plant that can be cultivated year-round and cannot be killed with pesticides.
Soldiers fanned out across some of the new fields Tuesday, pulling up plants by the root and burning them, as helicopter gunships clattered overhead to give them cover from a raging drug war in the western state of Michoacan. The plants' roots survive if they are doused with herbicide, said army Gen. Manuel Garcia.
"These plants have been genetically improved," he told a handful of journalists allowed to accompany soldiers on a daylong raid of some 70 marijuana fields. "Before we could cut the plant and destroy it, but this plant will come back to life unless it's taken out by the roots."
The new plants, known as "Colombians," mature in about two months and can be planted at any time of year, meaning authorities will no longer be able to time raids to coincide with twice-yearly harvests.
The hybrid first appeared in Mexico two years ago but has become the plant of choice for drug traffickers Michoacan, a remote mountainous region that lends to itself to drug production.
Yields are so high that traffickers can now produce as much marijuana on a plot the size of a football field as they used to harvest in 10 to 12 acres. That makes for smaller, harder-to-detect fields...
Toward the end of the article, another lovely sign of what good the war on drugs does for domestic peace and tranquility:
[Former Mexican President Vicente] Fox boasted that his administration had destroyed 43,900 acres of marijuana and poppy plantations in its first six months and more than tripled drug seizures.
Yet drug violence has spiked across the country in recent years, with gangs fighting over control of routes following the arrest of drug lords, authorities say.
Mexico has also continued to struggle with corruption among its law enforcement ranks. Garcia said authorities did not tell soldiers where they were being sent on raids and banned the use of cell phones and radios.
Earlier this year there was a brief and aborted fooferaw about Mexico possibly loosening some of its drug possesion laws, which I wrote about in the LA Times. They should really think of revisiting that eminently sensible idea, extend it to sales as well, and say goodbye to the endless, violent, hopeless task of keeping people from substances they want to consume.