Friday, July 29, 2011

Weed-Eradication Funds Raided in New State Budget

by David Downs
Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Each year Californians chip in about $1 million for police to go pull weeds out of our national forests. This Sisyphean effort goes by the name of the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting or CAMP, and according to The Bay Citizen/New York Times' Zusha Ellinson: it might be going away.

The state budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last month eliminates its financing as part of the widespread cuts to programs in law enforcement, courts and social services. ... 'At this point I don’t think we know what would happen to CAMP next year,' said Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Kamala Harris.

The D.E.A. has vowed to keep financing its end of the forest drug war, Bay Citizen reports.

William Ruzzamenti, the director of the Central Valley High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, estimates CAMP uproots perhaps 10 percent of the outdoor forest crop each year, he tells Elinson. Last year it reported cutting down 4.3 million plants.

Jim Gray, a retired Orange County Superior Court judge who co-founded the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Initiative currently out to signature gathering, tells Bay Citizen prohibition and the price boost it bestows on cannabis provides the incentive for illegal grows: “Today, I assure you that Mexican drug cartels are not planting illegal vineyards in state parks to compete with Robert Mondavi."

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