photo: Stay Faded/Creative Commons
Up north, just a few hours drive from my doorstep, is a lush and largely forgotten about place called Mendocino County. It's known by few, but those that do know it likely do so because of its most abundant crop, marijuana, which grows spectacularly well in Mendocino National Forest. Locals know this, and so do authorities, who swooped in Friday, like they do every year, and uprooted 460,000 pot plants. The bust is among the largest in some time and netted 100 arrests. Police took in an estimated 1,500 pounds of processed marijuana, 27 guns and 11 vehicles. It's part of the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, or CAMP, a 28 year tradition of search and seizure in Northern California. An article in Thursday's New York Times speculated that this may be the last summer of CAMP, due to Gov. Jerry Brown's new budget, which leaves CAMP's funding up in smoke.
It's said that police were pressured to act again this year after locals grew tired of seeing armed guards protecting their pot patches. I've been told that when hiking in Mendocino that it's unwise to traverse off trail for fear of meeting those men with guns. Now I see why.
Much of the pot comes to San Francisco's famous weed dispensaries, which are allowed by local law but not by federal law. Attorney general Eric Holder hasn't come down too hard on the dispensaries here or in Denver, which now outnumber Starbucks.