I had a great summer. I spent much of it getting high. And it was all on the job.
Over the last several months, I spent dozens of days embedded with an elite task force whose mission is to not only eradicate marijuana plots in Northern California, but to shut down the criminal networks running these operations.
The sheer size and scale of the marijuana plots is pretty unreal. These weren’t small gardens we were coming across -- these were industrial in nature. And many of them were on public land where drug traffickers have found that dense growth allows protection from aerial surveillance.
On more than one occasion, I found myself sitting in a national park, surrounded by tens of million dollars worth of pot.
It’s from these massive plantations that much of the U.S. is now getting its marijuana. One hundred percent “Made in America,” but made by Mexican drug trafficking organizations.
My team decided to do this story after we’d come across a pretty startling piece of information – that Mexican drug trafficking organizations derive most of their operating profit not from heroine, cocaine or meth, but from marijuana. In fact, according to Tommy Lanier, Marijuana Initiative director at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, marijuana funds the organizations’ capacity to traffic heroin, cocaine, meth, humans, arms, and all their other criminal enterprises.
So while you may not think a little bong hit has the same impact as a hit of coke, it’s time Americans admit a recreational habit could have larger ramifications.
It might be hard to inhale, but it’s hard to ignore the connection.
Tune in to Vanguard’s “Marijuana Wars” on Current TV, Monday, November 22 at 9/8c.