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June 15th, 2009
11:59 PM ET

How does your garden grow?

Program Note: Watch Randi Kaye’s full report tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

Randi Kaye kneels beside a marijuana plant on her visit to a 'marijuana garden' with a team of sheriff's deputies and officials who destroy the plants.

Randi Kaye kneels beside a marijuana plant on her visit to a 'marijuana garden' with a team of sheriff's deputies and officials who destroy the plants.

Randi Kaye | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

The helicopter waiting for us was bright blue and yellow. That was our ride into the Los Padres National Forest in California. We were about two hours north of Los Angeles. After the dirt and sand swirling around us settled down, we climbed aboard.

Our pilot flew during Vietnam so I wasn't too worried when he took us into the canyon of the forest and hovered there while our photographer shot video of the "marijuana garden" below us.

Hovering in a canyon in a chopper is not for the faint of heart. We came to do a story for AC360° on the "marijuana gardens" that exist on public land - like national parks and U.S. forests. About 80 percent of marijuana grown outdoors is grown in those areas.

We came to the right spot here. As we hovered we could see the plants below us as well as the irrigation system the growers illegally installed in the forest. The system diverts the rain water to these “gardens,” so the rest of the forest is deprived of water while the marijuana plants thrive.

Our pilot dropped us on a ridge. I was glad we didn't see where we were landing until after we climbed out of the chopper. We were with deputies from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and they gave us green floppy hats to wear to help blend in among the trees so "they" wouldn't see us.

Who are "they?" I'm told “they” are Mexican immigrants who have been smuggled across the border. They’re the ones who are allegedly responsible for growing this stuff. They bring in the seeds, the fertilizer and everything else they need when they enter the U.S. It's all financed, according to law enforcement, by the drug cartels in Mexico.

It’s a basic exchange: immigrants rely on the cartels to get them across the border, and the immigrants re-pay their debt by tending the "marijuana gardens" for the cartels.

It’s an uphill battle for law enforcement, which doesn't have enough money or manpower to keep destroying the drug.

When we came upon the first plants I was floored. Never had I seen so much marijuana. The smell was overpowering. Overall, our group estimated we found about 7,000. We’re told the street value of that amount is about $3.5 million.

We watched as the officers from the sheriff's department and US Forest Service destroyed every single plant they came across. I ripped one out of the ground and it uprooted easily. They broke most of them in two.

All the while I kept wondering if the growers were watching us. Our guys were carrying rifles and handguns and they said during a raid like this the growers usually hide in a bunker stocked with food built under the forest floor for a day or so to make sure the coast is clear. That was very unsettling since we also were told the growers carry AK-47 rifles and military-style weapons to protect the pot plants.

After hiking about a mile deep into the forest (I've never seen or touched so much Poison Oak!)we found what our team calls the "hooch". It’s the camp where the growers live in the forest from spring until fall while they grow the marijuana. There was a tent and some canned food items. Also some bb's which apparently they use to kill rodents and small animals to eat while they are camped there.

The sheriff's deputies went through the camp to make sure there weren't any weapons or drugs and then destroyed it. Once the job was done and thousands of plants uprooted, we hiked our way back out of the forest. It was tougher going back uphill, trust me! It was a relief to be out safely. We stood on top of the same ridge where we were dropped, muddy and smelling of marijuana, waiting for our ride to arrive. A few minutes later the helicopter brought us out of the forest.

The "garden" was destroyed but even our team had to admit there's a good chance it will all be replanted again.

Be sure to check out Randi's video : Pot growing in parks

soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    On the front page of CNN's website is a story about a 64 year old man in Oklahoma who admitted to raping and sodomizing a 4 year old little girl. He's getting one year in prison.

    And yet. Possession of any amount of marijuana is punishable by up to one year in jail for the first offense and 2 – 10 years in prison for subsequent offenses. For a weed.

    A weed.

    LEGALIZE IT.

    Free up our prison system for the child raping scumbags that belong in there.

    June 16, 2009 at 8:22 pm |
  2. J.

    LETS ALL FACE IT! Cannabis has been around since B.C.. At the last supper the anointing oil was hemp. Even our founding fathers of this great FREE nation grew it. The Mexicans would never be able to beat any price that we set. We will just set it lower, plus the cost of shipping it would be unjustified. Our government is just scared the world would be a better place if it was legal. After all who benefits from chaos? Because when there is chaos the people feel the need to be GOVERNED.

    June 16, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  3. Sandra

    I am very upset over this issue. I am a recovering cancer patient with spinal problems and ptsd and i was recently cut off from my pain medication ( percoet) because i tested positive for marijuana. I have been on the pain meds for 6 years and they just said no more go to emergency room if you hurt bad enough. Marijuana has saved medicaid at least 800.00 a month for the medicines they were paying for and thank GOD for friends who help me with my pain and marijuana. I do not drink alcohol and it's very relaxing for me to have a tote occasionaly. And I feel i am being tortured with my pain. i told my dr. that i would quit smoking if she would give me enough percocet for the 30 days it takes to get out of my system but she said she couldnt because she could loose her medical liscense. IS this justice. if anyone can help please let me know. I would like to let president Obama know. Maybe he can help. thank you,,ps How much does the emergency room charge medicaid!!!! Percocets are much cheaper.

    June 16, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  4. jd

    Legalize it, tax it, create a new industry and create jobs. A new energy source?

    The war on marijuana is bankrupting this country with all the non violent prisoners with ridiculously long prison sentences for pot. Paid 4 by the taxpayers.
    This is an enormous debt we pay and borrow the money from China since we are broke, to keep marijuana illegal.

    June 16, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  5. Tina

    Like I said before, the people who smoke weed will do it anyway. What I am trying to say is I see no problem with having it legal. I can't even forsee a problem in the future.

    June 16, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  6. robert berisford

    hopefully this war will end soon

    June 16, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  7. Tina

    Heck no, no bar fights. People would turn against each other in that debate I fear. That is the only thing.

    June 16, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  8. don corpier

    chris-i thought that was great. your right about all the junk food corporations making a killing. i will never forget about the munchies. eat until you pop. that is the only problem with pot-weight gain big time.

    June 16, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  9. James

    Keeping them honest?! What a joke. If the media would be honest and truthful on the subject of marijuana, it would not be illegal in the first place. No matter what any cop, spineless politician or ignorant doctor says, my Ophthalmologist and I know what has saved my eyesight.
    Doctor prescribed glaucoma medicine only led to laser eye surgery twice. It does work well when cannabis is used with it.
    After 29 years of glaucoma I know what works and what makes the drug companies money. I'll use what works.

    June 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  10. ann

    Although I agree that not everyone who smokes marijuana will become addicted to it. I have yet to meet a drug addict whose entry drug was not marijuana. After a year and a half ,$130,00.00 and 2 drug programs we finally saved our daughters life from drug abuse which started with a little marijuana joint. The problem is that if you do become addicted, there is no health care program that is comprehensive enough to cover drug addiction. It comes out of a families savings, college savings or re-financing homes to save their kids.

    June 16, 2009 at 7:08 pm |
  11. Henry

    It's beyond me why the government doesn't legalize marijuana, the potential tax could only help our economy at this point and possibly save California.

    June 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Only good could come from legalization. Jobs, taxes, reduction in violence. Oh yeah, if you really want to reduce violence, outlaw alchohol and legalize what the majority of americans do anyway.
    I bet you would never hear of a bar fight where marijuana was searved in stead of alchohol.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  13. Dan

    If you're in favor of legalization – contact your representative/senators. Let them know. Nothing's going to change until we ask for change.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  14. Phil Lawrence

    Randi Kaye's story is just another sensational rehash.

    If marijuana was legal, then folks wouldn't grow it on public lands. And the govt. would get a slice of tax revenue.

    Instead, we get GI Joe wannabes in choppers pulling up plants. If they want to do some good for US, there is a border that needs policing.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  15. Katherine

    I learned more from Melissa Etheridge in a few minutes than I ever knew about medicinal marijuana. I really find a LOT of adults can't EVEN speak intelligently about medicinal marijuana use without implying others aren't COOL enough or others have any IDEA what it is like to be them.

    How long has marijuana naturally grown on the planet????

    We can regulate most other things – are we THAT stupid????

    June 16, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  16. STM

    So, in the video where cooper interview Melissa Etheridge (CNN video), when he asks her about people abusing it she says "This is a people issue. It's not the drug. It's the people."

    Now, can anyone of you explain, without 'ad homineming,' why this is an ok argument for illegal drugs, but when used for legal firearms, the argument is thrown out the window?

    If it's not the drug, it's the abusing people that are the problem, then it's also not the gun, it's the abusing people that are the problem. Can't have it one way without the other.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  17. Mike

    I'm a 62 year old who thinks it's time to legalize marijuana. Our country has enough people locked away for using pot. To me there punishment is a bigger crime than the one they were locked away for. It's time to legalize, tax it, and leave people alone for using it.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  18. STEPH

    if the U.S. legalizes it, then we can cut our budget defecit significantly because we can reduce FBI, DEA personnel wasting their time on this effort. who cares, if it is harmful to one's health, then those people will die anyway and thus reduces the overpopulation and again puts less strain on our health system, medical insurance and social security. it's a win-win

    June 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  19. Matthew L

    Anderson talk to the lawmakers,ask them why they don't save us all time and money by legalizing marajuana. As you can see most people are for it so you need to take it a step further and confront the lawmakers. Of course Obama doesn't want to be stigmatized by being the first black president to set the precidence, so lets start low on the totem pole, address congress. What hypocrites, alcohol can be legal but not marajuana. America?

    June 16, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  20. J. Barton

    Ever notice how people who are opposed to legalization are those who earn their living from prohibition? Anyone who has ever used it, especially those fit, healthy, intelligent, eloquent folks who have been smoking daily for 20,30,40,50,60 years, know how benign and healthy it is. Anyone who questions the validity of cannabis' medicinal properties should watch someone with a spastic condition, who takes one toke. The effects are immediate and quite profound. Or try sitting down with someone who has Alzheimer's and smoke a joint with them... you'll have the first real conversation with them you've had in years as they can now remember what was said during the course of the conversation. It makes me very angry when I see people like this being denied cannabis.

    June 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  21. jonathan

    Sorry to dispute cindy but i have to completely disagree. Just like every commodity, the market sets the price and in the case with marijuana the price has already been set. The government has great potential to profit and is even profiting now through all the dispensaries in primarily california. (might i suggest you keep in mind that this is hundreds of thousands of dollars per dispensary in tax). And as far as cancer and physical harm from smoking marijuana, the thing is smoking has come a long way. There are a handful of ways that eliminate toxins and unwanted ingredients in the plant that may be harmful through water and/or vaporizing. Also more people in rehabs? Maybe but what differentiates this "drug" from any other mind altering drugs that are legal like alcohol? Are you considering other drugs that are ACTUALLY killing people like cigarettes? Marijuana is socially unacceptable based on untrue "facts". This country needs to move beyond this and legalize.

    June 16, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  22. gro4me

    Anne, Humans have been using marijuana for thousands of years before alcohol was invented. And Even NIDA reports that marijuana is less addictive than caffeine.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  23. Zack

    The consensus on the comments I've read overwhelmingly favor legalization of this mild sedative and pain reliever. The favorable revenue aspects for our government are also overwhelmingly positive. I would not be surprised to find the liquor and pharmaceutical lobbies are a big reason for not legalizing. Wake up, America! Legalize It!!

    June 16, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  24. Scott

    After getting out of the Marine Corps in 1972 I enjoyed a year of decadence which included the copucious use of marajuana. When I started college I realized immediately that its use would have to be diminshed significantly in order to complete the challenges ahead. Over the years I have used marajuana recrationally on occasion but fail to understand its continued illegality! Legalize it! It's use and consequences are no greater then alchohol.

    My former brother-in-law, who works for law enforcement for the U.S. Forest Service is a shining example of the facist attitude that law enforcement takes against marajuana growers. It is a vicarious way to pretend to they are striking a blow against the drug cartels.

    Legalize marajuana and put more effort into the stopping of drugs being smuggles into the U.S. from Mexico, Columbia and other slimeball countries.

    sb, M.A., M.Arch, Ph.D.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  25. Darb

    Pot doesnt have a prescribed dose because it cannot kill you like even aspirin can. Directed to kim: why are you worried about dui tests for marijuana, do you not worry about dui tests for vicodin, lithium, etc? they are way more dangerous when driving. the US gov't should listen to scientists. peer reviewed scientific studies show that weed is relatively harmless. legalize it, tax it, and leave pot smokers alone.

    "we're here, we're high, get used to it"

    June 16, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  26. Larry

    The law and the war on drugs kills thousands of people a year.
    Marijuana (the plant) has killed no one.
    I think about this every day when I work in our National Forests.
    Legalize it so our public lands can be safe again.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  27. will g

    I really hate giving my money to some mexican cartel, or where ever there from. I would rather pay taxes on my pot and help improve our schools or roads or our borders. I am not a criminal. I love this country and fought proudly for it.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  28. keith ferguson (canada)

    If the best way to keep cannabis out of the hands of young people is to have organized crime and street gangs control the production and sale of pot then why is that not the best way to keep alcohol and tobacco out of the hands of teens?

    June 16, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  29. jay R

    i feel for ya al. 27 years. INSANE!!!! it would be nice to live in that country. i belive it was called "THE GOOD OL UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" it was a time before GREED hit the scene about 1920's they had everything legal back then. but the gov has got to make us safe.what happen to the pursuit of happiness!!! make it LEGAL!!! stop wasting our money on enforcment courts and prisons.put the real criminals in jail like the people who been ripping us off. they should be the ones stripped of everything they own. not someone who smoked a joint. COME ON AMERICA WE GOT THE POWER !!!WE ENDED PROHABITION!!!

    June 16, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  30. just a. guy

    I missed the show last night, but from the comments I can see that the "expose`" was nothing more than a re-HASH-ing of the same drivel that has recently been spewed forth on other networks (ex. CNBC). Granted, decriminalization is the only prudent course of action when it comes to MJ. But no matter what is done with the plant/drug itself, the policing/eradication of weed from national forests/land must continue. The tragic issue there is not the actual growing (because any weed grown is definitively not tragic), but the growing process. National forests are such because they are protected land with protected species–plants and animals. Growing ganga requires deforestation and a lot of assistance from the agricultural chemical industry, and those products kill the very things national forests are designed to protect. Finally, stop trying to legitimize it by advocating its taxation. Advocate decriminalization based on the fact that it is a medicinal plant, one which causes virtually no harm to oneself and to others, and in fact has some very uplifting qualties.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  31. james

    marinol has thc but that is not all the medical oils pot has hundreds of oils that help muscle and bone pain and it cures cancer. Watch "run from the cure" on youtube if my loved ones ever get cancer I will grow pot to save there life, that is a promise.I will not let my family die because the cure is illegal.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  32. dabman

    I have been waiting over 30 years for this im not holding my breath.Should have been leagle all along,booze is the evil one

    June 16, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  33. Joe in MI

    Anne in NH
    Great points, I agree that it can cause problems when overused. I would have to interject where you say it is addicting, as it is proven to be not physiologically addicting, but rather a habit forming psychological dependency when used as a crutch or as a regular part of one's daily routine. There are people addicted to fast food in the same way that many of your patients are likely "addicted" to marijuana - that is to say they are so accustomed to using it daily that they continue to do so out of habit and fear of change.
    To play devil's advocate on the alcohol piece, I think that people are beginning to ask why alcohol may be grandfathered into modern society when it is so much more dangerous than pot. You state yourself that alcohol should be considered in the same controlled substance class as opiates, yet it is not. We saw prohibition fail at curbing alcohol use in the 1920's, corresponding to a boom in black market trade and profits to organised crime, exactly as marijuana prohibition is working (or failing to work) today.
    So why simply allow alcohol to exist because it has been "grandfathered" in? If that is your logic, then prepare to see the legalization of marijuana because the fight for legalization is in it's third generation.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  34. james

    I just want to be free to make my own choices and pursuit of happyness.I whatch people kill themsevles eating mcdonalds every day.there very fat and can barely walk there are so huge and gonna die soon because of there choice to eat fast food at every meal.I smoke weed and im going to live a lot longer than them.My quality of life is much better than theres. im healther and more active,volenteer at the local food bank,help old ladies cross the street,when I see some one broke down I stop to help Ive changed women's tires I did not know.but I

    June 16, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  35. Brittany from Canada

    re: Cindy.

    In July 1977, Marley was found to have acral lentiginous melanoma, a form of malignant melanoma, in a football wound, on his right big toe. Marley refused amputation, because of the Rastafari belief that the body must be "whole."

    Cancer in his big toe caused from what again Cindy?

    At least know what you are talking about before you tell half truths to people.

    Yes he died from cancer, No the cancer was NOT caused from Ganja.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  36. Alex

    All this because of a simple flower... Next thing you know, the DEA will ban Nutmeg because kids in New England are using it for it's hallucinogenic properties...

    June 16, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  37. Ron

    I was kind of suprized that "Marinol" was not mentioned, a prescription drug that has the main ingredient of THC. While smoking marijuana is a much better delivery system, the end result is the same.

    I have taken Marinol, its pretty wicked stuff.

    I have been trying to control nerve damage in my back for the last 10 years, I am still trying. I live in a state that has not medical use law for marijuana, but I would hope a law would pass that after all else fails, this could be tried.

    To truly understand this debate, you must understand the nature of pain, and its a sad fact that most doctors don't.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  38. DutchMaster22

    I almost went to jail for a seed and two stems, but instead i was given a court date, where i was sentenced to a year of probation. while on the streets there are real criminals like rapists, murderers,robbers and real drug addicts, if u ask me i think we are wasting money on all the wrong things, like destroying marijuana fields, while at the same time there are meth labs all over the place that could be getting busted or they could even be fighting immigration at the border were the majority of the drugs are coming into this counrty.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  39. Anne NH Lies

    Anne–you are spreading falsehoods and lies. Cannabis is not a hallucinogen. Cannabis has been proven to not be physically addictive in numerous independant studies. It has also been proven to NOT have ANY long-term side effects and has been proven to have clinical value in combatting physical addictions to legal pharmaceuticals.

    Further, Cannabis is known to be one of the earliest medicinal substances used by mankind. It has been 'illegal' for less than 1% of the time that it has been used by humanity. And the reasons for it's prohibition have NOTHING to do with 'getting high' and EVERYTHING to do with money. First it was Hearst and Anslinger and now it is Giant Pharma and the Punishment and Incarceration Industry.

    As a supposed professional, I expect much more from you.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  40. kevin

    To Ann from NH,

    It is a waste of time just reading your argument. Pot has been around for 20,000+ years. So to say that if it was around earlier it would have been treated the same as alcohol is just a baseless argument. The FACT is Alcohol kills 150,000 people a year, cigarettes kill 450,000 people a year, and pot kills no one. People cant even use the argument that it will impair driving, when all different types of people from teachers to police officers drink and drive all the time. if your going to prohibit pot for those reasons, then alcohol should be prohibited also.

    To Cindy,

    Making it legal will not only bring much needed revenue to the state and national governments, it will create much needed jobs throughout the country. Imagine if pot were legal here, there would be no need to give money to mexican drug cartels for weed. Prisoners in jail for petty marijuana offenses would be released saving billions of taxpayer money. Law enforcement would not need to sniff out marijuana users saving even more taxpayer money and giving officers more time to deal with more important issues. The other comment that was completely laughable was that Bob Marley died from cancer due to his marijuana smoking. Get your facts straight. In July 1977, Marley was found to have acral lentiginous melanoma, a form of malignant melanoma, in a football wound, inflicted by broadcaster and pundit Danny Baker – on his right big toe. Marley refused amputation, because of the Rastafari belief that the body must be "whole." Cancer then spread throughout his body. Do some research before you post your ignorant comments about something you know nothing about.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  41. Jeff

    In regards to the drug counselor Ann NH blog.

    Yes, there are some negative issues such as if some people with certain medical/emotional illness conditions abuse MJ, it can affect their overall health and wellbeing. This does NOT justify the draconian criminal consequences that are still imposed on users and those not engaged in selling/distributing. In my 12 years in law enforcement pulling over drunk drivers and all others, I never had a problem with someone who had recently smoked MJ nor can I recall any instances where someone under the influence actually caused an accident or injured themselves solely under the influence of MJ. Not so with ALCOHOL which is by far a much more dangerous drug (annually thousands of DEATHS – auto and non-auto related, violence, addiction, triggering domestic abuse, etc.) and is sold at stores on every corner and advertized incessantly like it was Pepsi. Please folks. It is still illegal because the legislators have no 'you know what' to let go of it while under the on-going pressure of special interest groups (religious right, certain business interests, and the uninformed, etc.). It must be legalized and separated from the other really dangerous drugs.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  42. HB

    Anne I think you should do some research on the history of the use of cannabis by humans. Cannabis has been consumed by the human population in one form or another for "thousands of years", likely far longer than humans have been consuming alcohol, so that is a somewhat flimsy argument to make saying that "[I]f alcohol had been invented within this past century, instead of more than five thousand years ago, it WOULD have met the same criteria for a controlled substance, same as cocaine or opiates.." You seem to be under the assumption that because cannabis was criminalized in the 1920's it has always been an illegal substance when that is far from the case. Again I ask you to research FACTS before making your argument.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  43. Tennessee Activist

    I'm a retired Federal Narcotics Agent and marijuana is so harmless that if you have any worries about it simply don't use it. It's obviously a wonderful medicine and pot users should not be punished. If anyone would like to persist in punishing pot smokers, look a little closer at who reaps the benefits from such actions. I'll answer that for you, no one benefits but the bad guys.

    June 16, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  44. Stiv

    How much did it cost us for the helicopter, Sheriff's deputies and US Forest Service employees to destroy this "garden"?

    I wonder how many involved in this operation went home that night and relaxed after work with a beer?

    I'm a hard working, responsible, otherwise law-abiding 52 year old and I've smoked pot since I was about 17. Why, after a long day at work, can't I come home and legally smoke a joint if I feel like it?

    Stop wasting the taxpayer’s money!

    June 16, 2009 at 8:28 am |
  45. Craig

    I hope Anderson Cooper (are you reading these comments??) also goes into the INDUSTRIAL uses of the cannabis plant itself, and doesn't just focus on smoking it.

    I also hope he watched the documentary on the cannabis industry called "The Union" before striding into this whole topic (all 11 parts are on youtube.com).

    One final comment, to those opposed to legalization, do your homework regarding the studies done on cannabis before spouting propaganda developed for the 1937 film 'Reefer Madness'.

    I for one do not support the war on cannabis. The money and time should be spent fighting hard drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and 'designer drugs' like ecstasy.

    June 16, 2009 at 8:12 am |
  46. Lowel Goss

    I have been a cannabis user since I was a kid of around ten years of age. I am now 44 years old. Until twelve years ago when I broke my neck and back I didn't think cannabis really could help people with pain, sleeping & eating disorders, as well as spasams. But now I am a medical marijuana user due to my accident at work and am a firm believer in the use of medical marijuana. Without it I would be stuck in bed 24/7 hours a day.

    I am also a huge believer that Marijuana does not lead to other types of drug use. If so I would be a crack head or something alike by now, but i'm not. I don't even drink for that matter. For to long non users have made a mockery of cannabis and it's use, and the time is now to put a stop to it. This is one plant that can save the world in more ways than one, Including fuel prices and the green house effects! Legalizing cannabis now will set new standards in the world in which we live in. Not to metion get our country out of debt.

    June 16, 2009 at 6:37 am |
  47. James

    We should go ahead and legalize it and end the prohabition of this substance. Which over time has shown that it is no worse of a drug then say beer or wine and has been shown not to be habit forming. Lets recall the fact that this substance at a time was legal in the united states and really only became a target during the years of prohabition when the use increased as people tried to find alternatives to drinking. As well as the growing demand for hemp as a resource to be used in the replacement of trees for things like paper, rope, and tissue which would have taken money from the pockets of certain political circles.

    June 16, 2009 at 6:32 am |
  48. Geoff, charlotte, nc

    I don't understand the fear of legalizing pot. This country and it's law makers are too rigid in their thinking and their actions. We're operating on hundred year old laws concerning many, many topics.
    The only green they need concern themselves with is the money they could be getting. I don't think it would stabilize the budget, but I do think it could help in some areas.
    Alcohol is far more dangerous than pot and yet it's sold in every state, in every country. There was a report I saw just yesterday about college kids dying more from alcohol use than ever before. We have all sorts of cop shows where people are being stopped/arrested for drunk driving. We have adults providing alcohol at parties for minors. We have numerous MADD programs, AA meetings and countless housewives who are functioning (some not) alcoholics.
    The commercials I see about pot use has people sitting on couches looking sleepy. That's a much better alternative to driving around drunk looking for fights. People using pot don't even drive much, they're calling Dominos and having pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less.
    Not to mention how pot helps those with cancer, glaucoma and others I'm sure. Alcohol helps...hmmm...give me a minute...hmmm. I got nothing.
    I don't really care if pot is legalized or not, but I just wanted to point out the hypocrisy that is America. But believe somewhere even these lawmakers are making money on it somehow. Don't be fooled America, lawmakers are the biggest organized crime family there is. They know what they're doing when they choose to legalize or not to legalize something.

    June 16, 2009 at 6:32 am |
  49. NoKaOi

    Cannabis needs to be de-criminalized, re-scheduled, treated like alcohol and tobacco, and legalized. Create appropriate laws for DUI, etc. The hemp industry can add a LOT to our economy, also. This is a God given natural plant that has been around for thousands of years. We have far too many prisoners due to our antiquated and unjust 'judicial system.' Legalize it, break the back of the cartels. Allow 'grow your own' just as we can legally make wine. What a waste of taxpayer money the "drug war" has caused! Protect medical MJ patients and promote REAL scientific research into it's effects, both pro and con.

    June 16, 2009 at 6:12 am |
  50. jeff newman

    it’s just amazing that we don’t legalize it already and control it like the government does with alcohol. This is an amazing cash crop that is virtually harmless. If we legalize it, and tax this as a normal business this will really hurt the mexican mafia’s pockets. Why we allow them to take advantage of this crop to grow there mafia just does not make sense. LEGALIZE IT ALREADY!
    so well said! Jaime June 15th, 2009 1:59 pm ET

    June 16, 2009 at 6:08 am |
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