Losing the Farm


Boris Petrov, a Russian immigrant, just got busted for running a marijuana farm out of his house. He says his family was forced to start the farm after he lost a poker game to some Russian mobsters. So who ends up in handcuffs? Apparently, his 74-year-old mother-in-law, who was found cleaning the plants when the police barged in:

Ludiya Gurinovich, who speaks no English and used Petrov as an interpreter, was confused and crying as she was led to prison in handcuffs after being arraigned Wednesday on felony counts of criminal conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance and other charges, officials said.

Link via Drug Policy Alliance.

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  1. And they thought they had fled a totalitarian country…

  2. The cops had the choice of prosecuting these people, or getting them to testify agains the gangsters, and they chose the former.

  3. Are you praising the cops, chastising them, or making a random observation, Joe?

  4. On a related note, do y’all remember a few weeks back when “Hit and Run” posted a story about the loathsome ONDCP blog gloating about how medical marijuana was shot down? I sent them an e-mail talking about a friend’s father who was dying of bone cancer and found marijuana to be the only thing which alleviated his symptoms, and asked why this man should be considered a criminal. Well, two days ago they sent me a response:

    Thank you for your e-mail to ONDCP. We appreciate your input
    concerning the ruling by the Supreme Court regarding marijuana.

    It is important to note that smoked marijuana has not been
    demonstrated to be efficacious medicine in accordance with FDA
    standards. Further, the Institute of Medicine does not recommend
    smoked marijuana as medicine due to the numerous risks associated
    with smoking. Serious misperceptions exist about the harmfulness of
    marijuana, and ONDCP does not condone bypassing processes put into
    place for consumer protection, such as the rigorous FDA approval
    process, when there are effective medications available which have
    been tested and approved.

    To find out more about this topic and the harms associated with
    marijuana, please visit the following sites: [BULLSHIT DELETED]

  5. You know, andy, I figured the comparison between professional, violent racketeers and people they compelled to participate in their crimes on pain of death would suggest its own conclusion.

    Guess not.

  6. “professional, violent racketeers” Do you mean cops or the mobsters? I’m serious.

  7. Jennifer-

    I got the same reply that you got. They sent it to my more confrontational question.

    I sent a less confrontational question with a different email address. Still no reply. If I get a reply to that, and it’s different from the one you got, I’ll send it to you and to one of the Reason staff writers in case they decide to start a thread.

  8. Well, I certainly feel safer (not)…

  9. OK, andy, now I know you’re screwing with me…

  10. The cops had the choice of prosecuting these people, or getting them to testify agains the gangsters, and they chose the former.

    Cops are gangsters, joe. You can dress them up in a pretty uniform and give them a shiny badge and boots but you don’t change what’s on the inside: a power-mad failure waiting his turn to shove a broomstick up your ass.

  11. I swear to god I’m not! I really thought your comments were both very ambiguous! Am I the only one?

    I’ll admit, in your second comment, you were probably talking about the cops, but in your first, did you mean “at least they didn’t make them testify against those mean gangsters (who presumably would go after them)” or “It’s an outrage that they prosecuted these people and didn’t go after the gangsters!”

    I assume you were implying the second choice, but I have yet to begin to understand your thought processes.

  12. What rst said.

  13. Thoreau–

    Gee, and to think that there are Americans who say the government is deaf to our concerns. My e-mail was confrontational too; I said I hoped they got the exact same form of bone cancer and had to make do with the worthless drugs the government will allow for the pain.

  14. I give up! I’ll do anything you want, just please make it stop!

  15. Jennifer-

    IIRC, my less confrontational comment was something like “A friend of mine says that crime will go down if drugs are legal, but I don’t see how we’ll be safer if we stop going after dangerous drug dealers and let people get high in public. But he says that it worked with alcohol prohibition. Could you guys point me to any studies debunking the notion that crime will go down if we stop chasing after drug dealers?”

    I’m waiting for a comical response.

  16. I appreciate the family’s dilemma but…he had/has a $60K gambling debt? Hate to break it to him, but yes, that often leads to bad things happening to a person. Heck, it might be for the best that the cops got involved. Now his family’ll be too “hot” for further mob-inspired business plans.

  17. Well, shit, I was just looking to have a rational argument, but now that you mention it, how bout them bank account numbers, social security #, credit card #s, and phone numbers of all single, hot female relatives or friends of yours? ­čśë

  18. “The Russian immigrant’s 12-year-old son was also involved in the operation, police said, but the boy will not be charged.”

    Oh, well all right then. It’s nice to see the prosecutors wouldn’t do anything so unreasonable.

  19. I am a long time lurker on this site, so hello to all of you. I live near the Boro where this series of unfortunate events occurred. The local yolkles that arrested these folks had no idea what to do with this mess. So they arrested everone and waited for federal advice on what to do.

    If the dude gambled away his families future to the mob, he deserves what he gets. The rest of the family dosen’t deserve to be prosecuted, that is if all of the facts are what they appear to be.

    Thoreau – do you think the Russian Mob would be forcing some cat and his family to grow a house full of the devils oregano if it was legal like tobaco.

  20. Serious misperceptions exist about the harmfulness of marijuana

    Well, at least they got one thing right in that e-mail.

  21. I dunno, Butcher. I’m inclined to think we shouldn’t endorse gambling with the Russian mob, but also should shut them down when the opportunity arises. The fact that prosecutors haven’t yet cut a deal with the hapless shmoe doesn’t mean they never will.

    As for waiting for the feds’ advice on how to handle a marijuana case — no comment is really needed.

  22. Butcher,

    For that matter, if you could get a lid of pot for the same price as a can of oregano, do you think people would be pushing it at the junior high? How many times do you see a guy with a can of oregano saying “Psst, kid! The first one’s free!”

  23. “I give up! I’ll do anything you want, just please make it stop!”

    Heheh. I wonder about you sometimes, Joe. Do you hang out here because you have a masochistic side?

  24. Jennifer, Thoreau,

    I hear those types of “retorts” all the time and it just demonstrates the ignorance of people related to the subject of medical marijuana. I’ve known my share of AIDS patients who, due to their other, wonderful medications, could not keep solids in their stomachs. Smoked marijuana, however, provided some relief whereas the marinol pills prescribed couldn’t be kept down.

  25. Kevin: I wonder if the price would come down to that of oregano. Dried herbs are cheap, but the fresh stuff that a discriminating smoker might prefer would likely cost as much as fresh grocery herbs. That’s way less than black market, but out of reach of many grade-school budgets.

    Beyond drug control, the whole idea of “conspiracy” bothers me. I’ll have to look up the statute sometime, but it seems to be the law used to prosecute people when police can’t come up with enough evidence of an actual crime.

  26. Sorry, here’s the full version:

    Honestly, anyone who supports the drug war is a sick authoritarian who should sent to Myanmar for a year. There’s no excuse for such ignorance.

  27. Hey, I know marijuana makes people crazy just listen to cops, politicians and prosecutors talk about it.

  28. Illegal Immigrant Found Trafficking in Narcotics. Film at 11.

    – Josh

  29. Not all government approved medications are ineffective for pain of course, though they may be ineffective for some. Cancer pain is often treated with opiates which are very powerful by nature (although there is no guarantee that even these are being prescribed in adequate dosages).

    I think the inconsistency between the way legal prescription opiates are treated and marijuana is .. is just glaring. Opiates are generally vastly more addictive (say hi to Rush Limbaugh for me) and they are of course sold on the black market as well.

    Having the option of opiates and/or medical marijuana plus several other pain killers currently used for cancer would be the most powerful and tailored strategy of course. Marijuana does have some unique properties many other medications don’t such relieving nasea and improving appetite (really! :)) and works on some people other medications don’t.

  30. From the article:

    The four-story operation set up in a former funeral home was uncovered when a worried resident noticed their new neighbors’ door was ajar and called police,…

    What the hell is this? I notice my neighbors’ door is open so I call the cops? The cops of course go in to ensure my neighbor is o.k. After all, his door was open for Gods sake! What is happening in this country?

  31. Dude, oregano is expensive! Do any of you go to a supermarket that puts the unit price of each item on the shelf? Spices are hundreds of dollars a pound! You can see why global trading systems developed for them.

  32. Joe, oregano is dirt cheap! Just look at the price of saffron! Now, that having been said, if an ounce of pot ran what an ounce of saffron does ($30-40usd) that would still keep it above the means of the common student.

  33. A discount store near my house sells those really cheap spices from the “Spice Classics” or “Spice Supreme” company. A two-ounce bottle of ground oregano sells for a dollar. At fifty cents an ounce that’s eight dollars a pound.

    Granted, in marijuana terms Spice Classics is like cheap Mexican weed; to get the Canadian-kind-bud-equivalent of oregano can cost over two dollars an ounce.

    Now please excuse me while I enjoy an intense daydream about a land where pot is legal and kind bud sells for two bucks an ounce.

    (By the way, I read an interesting bit of anti-drug propaganda today which seriously claims that marijuana leads to murdering people. The rationale was that “smoking dope is against the law. And if you break one law, what’s to stop you from breaking another?” Which is an excellent point. Since I drove home ten miles over the speed limit yesterday, my soul is already corroded so what’s to stop me from robbing a liquor store and killing the owner?)

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