Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Majors

The United States Department of State has just released its Annual Report on the Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for FY 2008. The Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, Christy McCampbell, spoke at a news conference about the countries that are considered "Majors" on the list.

What attributes define these "Majors"? McCampbell explains:
The law stipulates that a major illicit drug producing country is defined as one that either cultivates or harvests at least a thousand hectares or more of coca or opium or also five thousand hectares of cannabis during a single year.
McCampbell then goes on to enumerate these countries, which are listed, I imagine, in order of presumed dope-producing badness.
Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
What is passing strange here is the complete lack of appearance by or any mention of the United States as a Major drug producer, which, according to the report, Marijuana Production in the United States (full pdf), demonstrates the following production capacity in this country, as itemized in the Executive Summary*:

1. Marijuana is the largest cash crop in the United States, more valuable than corn and wheat combined. Using conservative price estimates domestic marijuana production has a value of $35.8 billion. The domestic marijuana crop consists of 56.4 million marijuana plants cultivated outdoors worth $31.7 billion and 11.7 million plants cultivated indoors worth $4.1 billion.

2. The top ten marijuana producing states are California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii, Washington, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama., West Virginia, and Oregon. Five states (California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii and Washington) had marijuana crops worth over $1 billion.)

3. Despite intensive eradication efforts domestic marijuana production has increased ten fold over the last 25 years from 1,000 metric tons (2.2 million pounds) in 1981 to 10,000 metric tons (22 million pounds) in 2006, according to federal government estimates.

4. Marijuana is the top cash crop in 12 states, one of the top 3 cash crops in 30 states, and one of the top 5 cash crops in 39 states. The domestic marijuana crop is larger than Cotton in Alabama, larger than Grapes, Vegetables and Hay combined in California, larger than Peanuts in Georgia, and larger than Tobacco in both South Carolina and North Carolina.
6. The ten-fold growth of production over the last 25 years and its proliferation to every part of the country demonstrate that marijuana has become a pervasive and ineradicable part of the national economy....

Now, I'm guessing here, but it seems likely that 68 million marijuana plants probably use up more than 5,000 hectares (12,000 acres) and American soil is definitely producing a shitload of pot. Eradication efforts have not just failed but have failed spectacularly. Which means, by definition under US law, the United States should be on the list of Major Illicit Drug Producers. Oddly, the United States is not on the State Department list. One gets the distinct impression from the State Department that the US is simply an innocent victim of all those bad countries, filled with bad people, who just want to dope us into oblivion with illegal shipments of narcotic contraband.

When you're the "good guy," you get to keep your name off "the list."

* This is report is for FY 2006, though, as McCampbell says, the State Department list of Majors has been the same for the last two years and the US has not been on that list.


Post a Comment

<< Home