I grow marijuana in Florida. Five years ago, police stormed my grow house and busted me for cultivation.
I had 17 marijuana plants. I wasn’t selling my buds, although I could have made a lot of money selling.
Police used excessive force during the arrest. They injured me. I had to be hospitalized.
As my attorney and I fought the charges, we learned how much money, effort, and time police spent to come after me:
- They paid a confidential informant $9,513 to give false information about me.
- They had at least three detectives or investigators working my case during the nine months they investigated me.
- They used 19 officers, and many vehicles, to conduct the raid.
- They expended hundreds of work hours on me.
- While police were spending all this money and time on me and my garden, our city was suffering an epidemic of unsolved rapes, burglaries, and car thefts. Police complained they didn’t have enough personnel and budget to do their job. But they did have the personnel and budget to seek out my hidden indoor marijuana garden.
- Florida spends at least $26 million annually enforcing marijuana laws.
While police were aggressively pursuing me and many other marijuana growers and users, they were ignoring rape crimes.
In particular, they were failing to test “rape kits.”
Rape kits are a formal collection of forensic and personal materials gathered by law enforcement on a case by case basis to provide evidence of sexual assault and identify the perpetrator.
Florida law enforcement agencies are sitting on nearly 14,000 rape kits instead of testing them.
When rape kits are untested, their evidence deteriorates. Rapists go undetected. More rapes happen.
It’s harder to use the rape kit evidence in court if the rape kit hasn’t been tested soon after the evidence is gathered.
When rape kits go untested, rapists go uncaught, and if caught, they’re more likely to walk.
Journalists and women’s advocates told the public that Florida police and prosecutors weren’t having a “war on rapists.”
Law enforcement officials claimed they didn’t have enough money to pay for the rape kits to be tested.
They said they didn’t have enough police officers to do a better job stopping rapes and catching rapists.
Florida police admit it would only cost $9 million and take less than three years to test ALL the rape kits that are gathering dust on shelves in Florida police agencies.
That’s less than half what police spend per year trying to bust marijuana growers.
Florida police and the state Department of Children and Familes (DCF) are also notorious for dropping the ball in child abuse cases, which is why so many children are severely abused or even killed in Florida, even when a family’s problems are known ahead of time by law enforcement and DCF.
DCF and police claim the reason they do a lousy job protecting children is they don’t have enough money or personnel.
But DCF does have enough time and money to take children away from parents who’ve been caught with marijuana.
Now let’s consider how the government handles other types of non-marijuana crime…
In early January, 2016, a group of armed militia members took over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon.
The leaders of the group included Ammon Bundy.
Ammon’s father Cliven Bundy has long been robbing taxpayers by refusing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in “grazing fees” he owed for having his cattle on public lands.
In 2014, government officials finally moved in on Cliven Bundy due to the unpaid fees.
An army of armed “militia” members came to Bundy’s defense. They pointed sniper rifles at law enforcement officers and refused to comply with law enforcement orders.
And yet, none of them were arrested or charged with any crimes.
Even though he’s been robbing taxpayers for many years, Cliven Bundy wasn’t punished.
In fact, the government returned to him the cattle he was illegally grazing on public lands.
The Bundy gang is just one of many who run cattle on our public lands, paying tiny fees to make big profits, if they pay fees at all.
In the latest Bundy militia case, son Ammon and two other Bundy brothers and a group of other armed men took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
They say they want the government to give our public lands to ranchers, loggers, miners, frackers, and others so those lands can be ripped apart by profiteers.
They refused to leave the wildlife refuge.
They publicly vandalized the refuge, stole government vehicles, and tampered with government documents and equipment.
State, local, and county government had to spend tens of thousands of dollars in extra costs because of the Bundy militia occupation.
Unarmed people who wanted to visit the wildlife refuge are afraid to go, because of the armed Bundy militia.
But for nearly a month, the local sheriff and federal law enforcement did nothing to stop the Bundy militia.
Law enforcement personnel didn’t surround the occupied refuge. They didn’t cut off utilities or water. They’re didn’t issue orders to vacate. They didn’t kick doors down and arrest people.
They let Bundy militia armed insurgents go in and out of the wildlife refuge into town for supplies.
The local sheriff so far has only said something like: “Why don’t you boys just take your guns and go on home and all will be forgiven.”
The armed Bundy militia people violated state and federal law, but county, state, and federal law enforcement did nothing to stop them until January 26th.
On that day, when Ammon Bundy and several of his armed followers drove into town for supplies, they were stopped by law enforcement.
A shoot-out took place. One Bundy militia member was killed. The rest were taken into custody.
But other militia members remain at the refuge, vowing to shoot it out with police.
A jury recently acquitted them of all charges!
The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge public land that the federal government administers in Oregon used to be home territory for the Northern Paiute tribe of Native Americans.
The land was stolen from them in the Native American genocide that happened in the 1800s.
Only a few Northern Paiute tribe members exist today, descendants of hundreds of thousands who were exiled or killed by the federal government.
Their leader says the Bundy militia is desecrating Northern Paiute land.
He says if the feds are going to give the land back to anyone, it shouldn’t be the Bundy militia ranchers, loggers, miners, frackers, and others who ruin it.
It should be the Northern Paiute.
It’s probably obvious why I wrote this article.
In the war on marijuana, the police are quite happy to spend millions of dollars trying to discover hidden marijuana grow rooms and bust marijuana growers.
They’re willing to use deadly force against marijuana growers and users, even though our “crimes” have no victims.
Instead of spending their money and time stopping rapists and other criminals, they go after the marijuana community.
I guarantee you that if I tried to follow the Bundy militia example by publicly proclaiming myself an armed revolutionary growing marijuana on public federal lands… the police, DEA, and US Marshals would immediately surround me, and arrest me for multiple felonies.
If I threatened to use a firearm, they’d shoot me or burn me out.
When unarmed young women protesting the clearcutting of ancient redwoods did peaceful, passive demonstrations in Northern California, police rushed in and swabbed pepper spray into their eyes and violently arrested them.
What’s clear to me is that in Florida and across the country, police and other government agents should stop enforcing marijuana laws and spend their time, and taxpayers’ money, stopping rapists and other dangerous criminals.
And one other thing… I beat the marijuana cultivation charges, because the confidential informant lied.
So I still grow marijuana in Florida. In fact, I grow more marijuana plants than I did before. F the police!