Drug Policy

Drug War Update, Mexican Division: Drugs Still Winning


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.

NEXT: Yabba-Dabba-Doofascism

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  1. Now this is a GMO I can support 100%.

    I would love to volunteer to test out the genetically modified herbage — for the safety of others of course.

  2. Burning it, hmm?

  3. In other news, an administration spokesman announced that they expect the recent trend in diminishing daylight to reverse itself next week.

    Good post uhh…. Brian.

  4. Frankly, I don’t believe them about the genetically modified plant. Technically you can plant any cannabis year round, as long as you artificially induce budding by controlling the amount of sunlight each day. If they’re saying that this plant can bud on it’s own any time of year I’m guessing they’re full of shit. And about the resistance to herbicides, i guess it’s possible that a domestic plant had a variation that made it resistant and then breeders either encouraged that variation through selection or just cloned a resistant plant, but there’s a wide range of herbicides that damage or kill plants in different ways. The plant certainly wouldn’t be resistant to all of them. Why don’t they just use a systemic poison?
    And cannabis isn’t a perennial plant, I don’t think it can grow back from it’s roots if chopped below it’s lowest latent bud.

  5. Kip—Well, it certainly would not be a surprise for govt officials to make absurd claims about the superpowers of drugs or drug dealers for their own benefit, and I don’t have enough of a background in pot capabilities or genetics to judge independently just on this reading. (I wonder if the AP reporter did?) however, I do recall reading a feature in WIRED within the last year or so, though no web search is coming up with it, that seemed learned on the topic of super-gene-modified pot and took it seriously, though whether these particular qualities would be possible even through gene modification, I am just not certain.

  6. How long before someone genetically modifies parsely, oregano or something dry-and-smokable — or even something edible like a cucumber — so that it produces THC? Or an opiate? Or cocaine?

    Then what will the nanny-cops do?

  7. I, for one, welcome our new cannabis overlords.

  8. I’m trying to imagine pot smugglers developing a laboratory on a par with major pharmecuetical companies and bio-engineering labs. Genetic modification just isn’t that simple. I know drug dealers are supposed to be powerful people with lots of money, but…
    Engineering through domestic breeding by selecting ideal variations sure. It’s been going on for thousands of years and is the reason that cannabis is such a widely variable genus. but we’re talking about introducing proteins that cause a specific modification into a strand of DNA. I don’t think they’re up to it.

  9. I for one think this is a great idea. That evil marijuana needs to be destroyed before it ruins more lives. In fact I feel so strongly about this that I volunteer to singlehandedly burn IT ALL.

    Now where did I leave my genetically modified blunt wrap…

  10. Awesome, now they just need to cross it with Kudzu. Trying to outlaw that would be like trying to stop the tide.

  11. “…and cannot be killed with pesticides”

    So it can be sprayed, survive, harvested, sold and smoked.


    Anyone remember paraquat?

    Just what we need, pesticide-soaked-reefer-filled-doobs flooding the nation.

    Looks like it is time for home grown. Are the seeds viable?

    “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”

    What a klutzy way to say it. This does us no good. Anyone know how many acres in a football field? Hey you, yeah YOU, the dummy that supposedly gradumated colidg, compare acres to acres or football fields to football fields, This does no good for the readers comprehension of the difference, if any.

  12. If it is to be believed, this new pot could destroy the drug war.

    Go Johny Appleseed Go, Go, Go!

    More Violent Crime – A Drug War Economic Success Story

  13. Google says 1 football field = 1.32 acres.

    I think they should modify the blackberry plant to produce THC-laden leaves. Those goddamn things are indestructible. I spent 4 years trying to kill the hedge that had taken over my backyard, and ultimately I lost: we moved to a new house instead.

    In the post-apocalyptic world, the blackberries and kudzu will grow to meet near the continental divide, and a great war will ensue.

    If those damn things were chock full of psychoactives, we might not mind their inevitable conquest of our continent.

  14. For the visual among us: Ten acres is approx 660 ft by 660 ft while a football field is 360 ft by 160 ft. Put just under two fields together by length and five of those combinations together for width.

  15. If those folks Eric Cartman calls “damned hippies” hear that the local weed supply has been contaminated with a GMO variety, the cognitive dissonance will be a blast. I imagine that “certified organic” pot will be marketed. Of course, some will lie about the certification, increasing the paranoia. What fun!

    Man, the WoSD sucks, and I’ve puffed less doobage than rush Limbaugh.


  16. TO: kevrob | December 20, 2006, 7:13pm

    LOL! Thanks. Asymmetric thinking at its best.

  17. “How long before someone genetically modifies parsely, oregano or something dry-and-smokable — or even something edible like a cucumber — so that it produces THC? Or an opiate? Or cocaine?”

    I’m working on this as we speak…. 😉

  18. I’m skeptical that these plants are genetically modified. A similar story about coca plants that resisted pesticides turned out not to be true.

    This is probably evolution in action: they sprayed, some plants survived, and then they multiplied.

  19. Anyone else remember a hybrid cannabis that had the leaves genetically altered?It was to disguise it since it didn’t look like a typical marijuana plant

  20. Apparently, tomatoes have a trace amount of nicotine in them.

  21. Now if we could only genetically modify our couch warrior politicians to be wise enough to figure out that the war on drugs is not only going to fail, but that it is unconstitutional as well…

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