January 3, 2013 – For years, law enforcement officials have been blaming Mexican “cartels” for illegal marijuana growing in California’s national forests. For years, Cal NORML has told the press that there is no evidence of any organized “cartel” involvement in domestic MJ production. Rather, production is highly disorganized, with many teams of Mexicans – as well as non-Mexicans – working independently as hired growers for smaller scale, competitive, decentralized groups.
Finally, the Drug Czar’s office has acknowledged that the “cartel” narrative is a myth devised by law enforcement to help secure federal funding. (See below.)
When will the ONDCP also acknowledge that the whole problem of illegal marijuana growing is itself an artifact of the federally funded policy of prohibition?
– Dale Gieringer, Director, Cal NORML
Tommy Lanier, director of the National Marijuana Initiative, part of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said there was scant evidence that the cartels exerted much control over marijuana growing in the national forests.
“Based on our intelligence, which includes thousands of cell phone numbers and wiretaps, we haven’t been able to connect anyone to a major cartel,” he said.
Lanier said authorities have long mislabeled marijuana grown on public land as “cartel grows” because Mexican nationals are arrested in the majority of cases, and the narrative of fighting drug cartels helps them secure federal funding.