My name is Bill McManus and I have been battling pot in Calaveras County for over three years. I am a ZERO TOLERANCE activist to rid our county of all commercial cultivation of pot. I know we have to deal with PROP 64 (California’s Recreational Pot Initiative which passed 11/16), but even that law allows for banning outdoor grows based on a county’s jurisdiction to regulate land use.
I have seen this criminal enterprise up close and personal. Hundreds, if not thousands of residents are considering leaving our county because of the abuse of the pot cartels. I myself have been assaulted twice and had both of my vehicles vandalized. One thing is crystal clear, if you allow any of it, you get all of it and according to the latest info from Central Valley HIDTA, Calaveras county is rivaling the Emerald Triangle for illegal pot production.
Crime Went Way Up!
In the last two years, crime has gone up 400%. The District Attorney is handling 18 marijuana-related murders in our county, a county with only 45,000 residents!
Our small county has somewhere between 1500 and 2000 illegal grows. We have had human trafficking problems, illegal timber harvests, illegal grading, illegal stream diversions, water theft, destroyed rural roads from water trucks hauling stolen water out to pot grows, one family in the Federal Witness Protection Program because the husband serviced porta potties at a pot grow………the list goes on and on.
If you want to see the ugly side of the pot cartels, give me a call. I will show you what is going on and introduce you to people who are afraid to leave their homes because of nearby pot grows. Identified cartels in this county include, Hmongs, Motorcycle gangs from the valley, Mexican mafia, Russian mafia, Jamaican Cartels, Asian cartels, and refugee cartels from the Emerald Triangle. BAN it, BAN it all. If even one hair’s breadth of opening is given to them, you will LOSE the battle, your lifestyles, your security in your home, and all sense of community.
Grab a flak vest and come visit Calaveras County. By the way, county Code Compliance officials are not allowed to enter any pot grow without a sheriff escort……what about the citizens who remain behind after the inspections?
Some people say California has already legalized marijuana and Proposition 64 gives it a chance to be regulated. Pandora’s box has been opened. We can and will put it back, by following federal law and adhering to international treaties.
On September 14, two women were arrested for holding four men captive to work on a marijuana plantation near West Point in Calaveras County. The men had escaped violence in Mexico, only to be forced at gun point to work on a marijuana plantation. When discovered in late July, a chain of events began and several law enforcement agencies eradicated 23,245 marijuana plants on private and public lands. The Federal Bureau of Land Management led the way.
Calaveras County had a devastating fire that burned 71,000 acres and destroyed 860 houses and other buildings. In seeking economic salvation, the County commissioners voted 4 to 1 to sell licenses for cultivating “medical marijuana”. They ultimately sold 200 permits for an annual fee of $5,000, bringing in $1 million in revenues. By imposing a $2 per square foot annual levy on outdoor commercial grows, and $5 per square foot on indoor grows, the County hopes to bring in $4 million in new tax revenue.
The licenses allow up to 99 plants. If you do the math, at 1 to 5 lbs per plant in outdoor cultivation, that equates to 118,000 to almost 600,000 joints. Some indoor grows in Oregon are getting in excess of 10 lbs per plant, with plants the size of orange trees. All of this is being grown under the guise of medicine in a “medical marijuana” market that has long since been saturated.
A year ago, a 72-year-old woman was arrested for shooting and killing her son because “he was going to rape her.” They lived together on a marijuana farm in West Point, Calaveras County. Also in 2015, three people were shot and killed trying to steal marijuana from a local pot farm. Ironically, the Sheriff and California Highway Patrol are ramping up to provide better protection for the growers during harvest season, including extensive use of a helicopter. In contrast, it is almost impossible to get anyone to enforce state or federal laws to protect the public from the drug.
Human trafficking is all over California’s marijuana trade. In San Francisco, Asian gangs bring in young, underage laborers living in crowded grow houses surrounded by the stench.
In Lake County, two marijuana growers used a 15-year old girl for labor and sex, chaining her ankle to a box to keep her from escaping. The men are expected to plead guilty for “illegally growing marijuana and using a minor in a drug operation,” while the sexual and human trafficking charges are dismissed. Are these the people the ACLU claims are non-violent drug offenders while trying to get them out of jail?
Cosmopolitan Magazine and Reveal recently published exposés of the secretive sexual exploitation that is woven into very profitable marijuana industry of the Emerald Triangle (Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino Counties).
Economic Salvation is Really the Downfall
Calaveras isn’t unique in turning to pot to solve their economic problems. Examples include Desert Hot Springs who is planning on 3 million square feet of indoor cultivation; Adelanto, a desert town in Southern California with no other obvious forms of salvation; and Coalinga, a little town in the San Joaquin valley converting a prison to a pot farm. All these towns are oblivious the harmful impacts of marijuana on humans, or the fact that social costs will exceed income by 10 times, or that they have violated federal law and their most fundamental responsibility, to protect the people.
Drug legalizers say the War on Drugs has failed, and that legalization is the answer. For sure, greed and money in politics gets in the way. It’s a war that can never be won entirely, but surrender isn’t an option. From 1978 to 1992, marijuana and other drug use by youth was cut in half. Because of today’s greed and the influence of money on our politicians, marijuana use has gone from 7 to 13% over the past 8 years, and 129 Americans dying of drug overdose every day.
Marijuana and other drugs inflict more death, social destruction and economic cost on this nation than all events in modern history. If we care about our youth, public health, safety and our natural resources, it is time to demand of our leaders at all levels that they focus once again on serving the people and fulfilling their oath of office. That includes Calaveras County. Vote No on Prop 64.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ….
ROGER MORGAN Chairman/Founder, Take Back America Campaign,
20 year anti-drug activist dealing with drug prevention at the local, state and national level. (www.tbac.us). Formerly Chairman and Executive Director of the Coalition for A Drug-Free California. Owner/CEO of Steelheart International LLC, engaged in international business development and has been an entrepreneur and businessman in California for 35 years. He was Founding Chairman of the Coronado SAFE Foundation in 1997, a non-profit dealing with drug prevention; prior Board Member of the San Diego Prevention Coalition; member of the National Coalition for Student Drug Testing; and Special Advisor to the Golden Rule Society in Coronado.