Weeds in your field
By Rachel Mendell
What to do if you find marijuana in your backyard?
“They should call their local law enforcement,” says Morrow County Sheriff Steve Benneman. He has heard of some farmers finding it in their field and tearing it up themselves, but this presents a problem later. If the farmer destroys the plants, he also destroys evidence that law enforcement can use in determining who is planting, who is growing and who is cultivating the illegal plant. Also, if the farmer knew it was there and destroyed it, he could be held responsible for destroying evidence.
Each year, law enforcement pools resources to do marijuana eradication by flying over farm fields in search of marijuana cultivation.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, aviation plays a significant role in the success relative to marijuana eradication. The patrol maintains an Aviation Section consisting of 15 uniformed officer-pilots, two American Eurocopter turbine-powered helicopters, and 14 Cessna airplanes.
Marijuana plants can be easy to detect from the air, depending on the venue in which they are planted. Coloration differences and geometric planting and growing patterns on the ground alert pilots to the probability of marijuana plants being grown among other agricultural crops.
Last year, highway patrol pilots through aerial observation were responsible for 564 marijuana plants being eradicated. It is said that a mature marijuana plant has a street value of $1,000. The highway patrol also has an active marijuana identification and eradication program with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
The benefits of having this type of aerial detection, which is available to other Ohio law enforcement agencies, not only deters this type of crime, but also enhances relations between the highway patrol and other law enforcement agencies in the state. Also, 19 canine units are an integral part of drug interdiction success.
Even with recent efforts to legalize marijuana and cultivate it under the label “medicinal,” the Drug Enforcement Administration’s stance on marijuana use and propagation is this: Marijuana is properly categorized under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. § 801, et seq. The clear weight of the currently available evidence supports this classification, including evidence that smoked marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medicinal value in treatment in the United States, and evidence that there is a general lack of accepted safety for its use even under medical supervision.
Rachel Mendell is editor of The Galion Inquirer.