Reefer Madness Du Jour: Utah Encourages Marijuana Snitching

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director May 10, 2010

    While no one wants to see public and private lands be misused to cultivate large commercial outdoor cannabis grow operations, does this problem exist with other agricultural products that can create psychoactivity (or a ‘high’) like grapes, sugar cane, barley, hops, corn, apples, potatoes or wheat? Large commercial grow-ops are purely a function of prohibition, so if law enforcement really care about these grow-ops they’d advocate for getting rid of them by not creating an opportunity for agricultural entrepreneurs to seek the profits from growing a vegetable matter that can fetch $100-$500 ounce.

    Instead, states like Utah waste taxpayers’ money by encouraging citizens to visit a one-stop-snitch webpage to narc out suspected cannabis cultivators.

    Thanks to NLC members Robert Latham in Bountiful UT for the heads up…and Daniel Margolis of Cleveland OH for musing:

    10 arrests in 2009!  82 flight hours, presumably in a helicopter.  What is the hourly rate for the helicopter and pilot?  Assume a pilot and co-pilot/observer.  One arrest every for 16.4 hours of hours of pilot time, 8.2 hours of helicopter time, to say nothing of ground crew, etc…How much did each arrest cost just from flight time alone?

    49 responses to “Reefer Madness Du Jour: Utah Encourages Marijuana Snitching”

    1. Aristotle says:

      What a waste of money and effort. I wonder how long it will take them to realize that 99% of the “reports” are fake. This is the internet, within 24 hours they will be flooded with troll reports.

    2. Dr.Dunkleosteus says:

      Shame the website has no area for comments/discussion.

      …Although they probably did that deliberately as they would be flooded with pro-cannabis comments, haha.

    3. oxidation says:

      wow I just found this website and can’t believe this story. What a waste of tax payer dollars. and police resources. they should be finding the meth labs not the plants that naturally grow(with human help) sometimes farmers have no choice once they loose their land to sitch to a more valuable and readily consumed crop. I feel sorry for the people who put time into growing a crop (probly their income), and have it just harvested and wasted by the police. people are going to smoke and consume what they want wether it be from their home state or mexico. at least there isn’t violent farmers in the USA. Im pround to be a “only USA Grown” pot smoker.

    4. Chronicus says:

      We need to flood this website with fake reports!!!! everyone join the fight!!

    5. Jessica Hasty says:

      This is pure stupidity. I honestly can not even develop a response to this. THIS IS BULLSHIT. How about focusing on some other drugs that can kill people such as the prescription drugs that are killing people everyday and getting more and more people addicted to opium. Pure bullshit!

    6. janice says:

      Cant anyone else think of a better way to spend their money?? What a waste.

    7. Fishmeat says:

      Just wait until their database gets hacked and tipster info leaks.

    8. Josh says:

      It’s amazing how people who oppose legalizing marijuana don’t understand or refuse to believe these facts

    9. Justin says:

      That website and all websites are a WASTE of domain names and IP addresses! And most of all they are wasting electricity to run that false website! 10% of the world’s electricity is used to keep the Internet running.

      I vote they reconsir wasting electricity or devote it to something to help humanity.

    10. Delpart says:

      Aircraft usage rates are highly variable and often obscured in budgets to avoid cuts. With all the overhead and hidden costs of maintaining even a leased aircraft of that sort, you could easily be looking at up to $2500 per hour. (Engines are required to be rebuilt after so many hours of use. Insurance costs are often considered “overhead” or packaged elsewhere. Good pilots are usually not paid hourly and have strange pay scales even when salary based. FAA restrictions and coordination efforts, etc.)

      An illustration of some estimates on various helicopter variable rate costs: http://www.conklindd.com/Page.aspx?cid=1118

      I’ve been puzzled how large cities handle the costs of their aircraft. It is not just the 2-5 fleet craft of the police, but the fact the Sheriff and every other agency in those cities seem to have their own fleet that see quite a bit of flight time. I’m sure people near areas of potential outdoor growers know firsthand how many seemingly wasted hours are spent and at considerable costs to all.

      Also of note, there are environmental impacts of low flying aircraft that rival even some of the national park intrusions they seek. Those aircraft definitely are not sipping fuel. Some of the more common ones you see average about 25-30 gallons per hour, or more, in *optimal* conditions. And unlike an SUV or truck, the emissions are a lot higher. Noise pollution is also a major problem to both human and animal alike. And in many cases, trees tend to be felled and areas disturbed even more than what the growers have done to accommodate safe access of these craft.

      I should mention I do think that some cities can benefit from aircraft being available, but their use in some areas of the country do seem to spend a lot more time simply hunting drugs than most people realize. Thermal scanning homes from the air to “see” grows and other manufacturing in residential and abandoned buildings for instance. Sadly not everything seen in some movies is science fiction.

      I find the website similar to any tip line in America. This one just specifically wants to target cannabis. Seems like pretty low overhead though. But getting flooded with a lot of fake trips to the woods by people can get very costly. Most regions they want to catch with this are hike/flight only. Plus there is always the chance of being setup by a cartel or others with this approach.

      Thankfully these topics of the various costs and impacts to law enforcement’s roles and duties are becoming more page one items and less taboo in traditional media.