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Bumper crop?

15 July 2011

There’s been a fad lately in Mexico for creating “world records”, usually in things like the largest tortilla or most naked people in one place or … so it appears… biggest marijuana field.

At least according to official reports:

The 300-acre [120 Ha] Baja marijuana plantation is four times larger than the previous record discovery by authorities and workers had even installed crude bathroom facilities, according to authorities. Army general Alfonso Duarte led the attack on the site saying it was difficult to detect because of the black screening used to hide the plants. The screening is often used by farmers in the area to protect plants from the desert sun.

The record-book designation needs an asterisk.  This is the largest CONTIGUOUS marijuana field.  Rafael Caro Quintero had 540 Ha. of marijuana under cultivation in El Búfalo, Chihuahua when the ranch was raided by Mexican military and police units in November 1984, but in several different fields.

I have no problem with those that just say legalizing marijuana would be somehow beneficial to Mexico.  But, to whose benefit?  There’s undoubtedly a place in this world for boutique marijuana grown in water rich British Columbia under artificial lighting (though at a high energy cost), but one’s kidding themselves if they think this is a benefit for Mexican family farmers.

The location — in the Baja — is ideal for sales in the United States, but I’d be more concerned about the environmental effects of large-scale monoculture plantations dependent on  “a sophisticated system of piped-in irrigation to support the plants…  fed by two wells” in the desert.

And, those plantations would probably in foreign control — not that it’s a conspiracy or anything, but with the government of the largest consumer country happily forking over tons of cash to wipe out the Mexicans entrepreneurs and limit their access to capital,  operations like this are more likely to benefit Archer-Daniels-Midland than anyone in the Baja once the U.S. gives up prohibition.  Caro Quintero at least invested heavily in Chihuahua and his native Sinaloa, which I don’t see some foreign corporation headquartered somewhere like Omaha, Nebraska (or, on Wall Street) doing.  Nor, like Caro, at least leaving wild corridors between fields.

Of course, burning the crop (which the government plans to do) seems something of a waste, the estimated yield of 120 metric tons, that’s just under 100 Woodstock Units (based on the estimated 1.5 grams of marijuana per person per day smoked by the estimated 500,000 people from 15 to 18 August, 1969 at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in Bethel, New York).

One Comment leave one →
  1. 17 July 2011 8:52 pm

    Why not just have another Woodstock down Mexico way?

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