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Hemp FACT #61- Atl. Mthly-5

Date: 95-03-16 11:27:48 EDT

From: ADBryan


REEFER MADNESS by Eric Schlosser

Originally published in Atlantic Monthly, August 1994 issue.

Criminalized, Decriminalized, Recriminalized

The first American law pertaining to marijuana, passed by the Virginia Assembly in 1619, required every farmer to grow it. Hemp was deemed not only a valuable commodity but also a strategic necessity; its fibers were used to make sails and riggings, and its by-products were transformed into oakum for the caulking of wooden ships. Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland eventually allowed hemp to be exchanged as legal tender, in order to stimulate its production and relieve Colonial money shortages. Although a number of the Founding Fathers, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, later grew hemp on their estates, there is no evidence that they were aware of the plant's psychoactive properties. The domestic production of hemp flourished, especially in Kentucky, until after the Civil War, when it was replaced by imports from Russia and by other domestic materials. In the latter half of the nineteenth century marijuana became a popular ingredient in patent medicines and was sold openly at pharmacies in one-ounce herbal packages and in alcohol-based tinctures as a cure for migraines, rheumatism, and insomnia.

The political upheaval in Mexico that culminated in the Revolution of 1910 led to a wave of Mexican immigration to states throughout the American Southwest. The prejudices and fears that greeted these peasant immigrants also extended to their traditional means of intoxication: smoking marijuana. Police officers in Texas claimed that marijuana incited violent crimes, aroused a "lust for blood," and gave its users "superhuman strength." Rumors spread that Mexicans were distributing this "killer weed" to unsuspecting American schoolchildren. Sailors and West Indian immigrants brought the practice of smoking marijuana to port cities along the Gulf of Mexico. In New Orleans newspaper articles associated the drug with African-Americans, jazz musicians, prostitutes, and underworld whites. "The Marijuana Menace," as sketched by anti-drug campaigners, was personified by inferior races and social deviants. In 1914 El Paso, Texas, enacted perhaps the first U.S. ordinance banning the sale or possession of marijuana; by 1931 twenty-nine states had outlawed marijuana, usually with little fanfare or debate. Amid the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment fueled by the Great Depression, public officials from the Southwest and from Louisiana petitioned the Treasury Department to outlaw marijuana. Their efforts were aided by a lurid propaganda campaign. "Murder Weed Found Up and Down Coast," one headline warned; "Deadly Marijuana Dope Plant Ready For Harvest That Means Enslavement of California Children." Harry J. Anslinger, the commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, at first doubted the seriousness of the problem and the need for federal legislation, but soon he pursued the goal of a nationwide marijuana prohibition with enormous gusto. In public appearances and radio broadcasts Anslinger asserted that the use of this "evil weed" led to killings, sex crimes, and insanity.

He wrote sensational magazine articles with titles like "Marijuana: Assassin of Youth." In 1937 Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act, effectively criminalizing the possession of marijuana throughout the United States. A week after it went into effect, a fifty-eight-year-old marijuana dealer named Samuel R. Caldwell became the first person convicted under the new statute. Although marijuana offenders had been treated leniently under state and local laws, Judge J. Foster Symes, of Denver, lectured Caldwell on the viciousness of marijuana and sentenced him to four hard years at Leavenworth Penitentiary.

Part 6. Tomorrow

Hemp FACT #62- Atl. Mthly-6

Date: 95-03-17 11:17:16 EDT

From: ADBryan


REEFER MADNESS by Eric Schlosser

Originally published in Atlantic Monthly, August 1994 issue.

Harry J. Anslinger is a central figure in the history of American drug policy. He headed the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from its inception through five presidential Administrations spanning more than three decades. Anslinger had much in common with his rival, J. Edgar Hoover. Both were conservative, staunchly anti-communist proponents of law and order who imbued nascent federal bureaus with their own idiosyncracies (Poster's Note: The big question is --Did they both wear skirts?). Anslinger did not believe in a public-health approach to drug addiction; he dismissed treatment clinics as "morphine feeding stations" and "barrooms for addicts." In his view, strict enforcement of the law was the only proper response to illegal drug use; he urged judges to "jail offenders, then throw away the key." Anslinger's outlook was consistent with that of most Americans, though his opinions proved more resistant to new scientific evidence. When the New York Academy of Medicine--after years of research--issued a report in 1944 concluding that marijuana use did not cause violent behavior, provoke insanity, lead to addiction, or promote opiate use, Anslinger angrily dismissed its authors as "dangerous" and "strange."

America's drug problem often seemed the work of foreign powers: during the Second World War, Anslinger accused the Japanese of using narcotics to sap America's will to fight; a few years later he asserted that Communists were attempting the same ploy. The Boggs Act, passed by Congress at the height of the McCarthy era, specified the same penalties for marijuana and heroin offenses--two to five years in prison for first-time possession. As justification for the long sentences contained in that act and in the Narcotic Control Act, which followed in 1956, Anslinger stressed marijuana's crucial role as a "stepping-stone" to narcotics addiction. Like Hoover, he maintained dossiers on well-known entertainers whose behavior seemed un-American. Anslinger disliked jazz and kept a special file, "Marijuana and Musicians," filled with reports on band members who played with Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Les Brown, Count Basie, Jimmy Dorsey, and Duke Ellington, among others. For months Anslinger planned a nationwide roundup of popular musicians--a scheme that was foiled by the inability of FBN agents to infiltrate the jazz milieu. Although Anslinger's opposition to drug use was both passionate and sincere, he made one notable exception. In his memoir, The Murderers, Anslinger confessed to having arranged a regular supply of morphine for "one of the most influential members of Congress," who had become an addict. Anslinger's biographer believes that addict was Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (Poster's Note: Look at his (McCarthy's) personallity. It FITS).

By 1962, when Harry J. Anslinger retired, many states had passed "little Boggs Acts" with penalties for marijuana possession or sale tougher than those demanded by federal law. In Louisiana sentences for simple possession ranged from five to ninety-nine years; in Missouri a second offense could result in a life sentence; and in Georgia a second conviction for selling marijuana to minors could bring the death penalty. As the political climate changed during the 1960s, so did attitudes toward drug abuse. A series of commissions appointed by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson repudiated some of the basic assumptions that had guided marijuana policy for more than fifty years, denying a direct link between the drug and violent crime or heroin use. As marijuana use became widespread among white middle-class college students, there was a reappraisal of marijuana laws that for decades had imprisoned poor Mexicans and African-Americans without much public dissent.

Hemp FACT #63- Atl. Mthly-7

Date: 95-03-18 11:09:51 EDT

From: ADBryan


REEFER MADNESS by Eric Schlosser

Originally published in Atlantic Monthly, August 1994 issue.

Drug-abuse policy shifted from a purely criminal-justice approach to one also motivated by interests of public health, with more emphasis on treatment than on punishment. In 1970 the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act finally differentiated marijuana from other narcotics and reduced federal penalties for possession of small amounts. As directed by Congress, President Richard Nixon appointed a bipartisan commission to study marijuana. In 1972 the Shafer Commission issued its report, advocating the decriminalization of marijuana for personal use--a recommendation that Nixon flatly rejected. Nevertheless, eleven states, containing a third of the country's population, decriminalized marijuana in the 1970s, and most other states weakened their laws against it. President Jimmy Carter endorsed decriminalization, and it seemed that long prison sentences for marijuana offenders had been consigned to the nation's past.

But they had not. One of the seminal events in the creation of the modern American anti-drug movement was a backyard barbecue held in Atlanta, Georgia, during August of 1976. In the aftermath of their daughter's birthday party, Ron and Marsha Manatt combed through the wet grass in their pajamas, at one in the morning, with flashlights, finding dozens of marijuana roaches, rolling-paper packets, and empty bottles of Mad Dog 20/20 fortified wine discarded by their twelve- and thirteen-year-old guests. Alarmed by these discoveries, the Manatts gathered local parents in their living room and formed what was soon known as the Nosy Parents Association, a group dedicated to preventing teenage drug use. Marsha Manatt wrote to Robert DuPont, the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse; he helped arrange her introduction to Thomas Gleaton, a professor of health education at Georgia State University. There soon arose the Parents' Resource Institute for Drug Education and the National Federation of Parents for Drug-Free Youth, two organizations backed by top officials at NIDA and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) which would exert tremendous influence on the nation's drug policies. Thousands of other parents' groups soon formed nationwide, and Ross Perot helped launch the Texans' War on Drugs.

Marijuana use seemed epidemic: a survey in 1976 found that one out of twelve high school seniors smoked pot on a daily basis. In the 1960s the youth counterculture had celebrated marijuana's reputation as a drug for outcasts and freaks. One Yippie leader had confidently predicted that the slogan of the coming revolution would be "pot, freedom, license." The conservative parents' groups took such words to heart and similarly invested marijuana with great meaning. Robert DuPont, who at NIDA had once supported decriminalization, later decried the "tumultuous change in values" among the young--their pursuit of pleasure, their lack of responsibility to society--and argued that "the leading edge of this cultural change was marijuana use."

Part VIII Tomorrow (or maybe Mon. if my computer at the house is still screwed up. Plus it's gonna be in the upper 80's here tomorrow and I'm headed for the lake.)

Hemp FACT #64- Atl. Mthly-8

Date: 95-03-20 11:33:54 EDT

From: ADBryan

Back again. Sure was nice at the lake. Now back to the Atlantic Monthly article.


REEFER MADNESS by Eric Schlosser

Originally published in Atlantic Monthly, August 1994 issue.

The election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency brought the war on drugs to the White House. In June of 1982 President Reagan signed an executive order creating a new post in his Administration--head of the White House Drug Abuse Policy Office--and appointed a chemist, Carlton Turner, to the job. Turner had for many years directed the Marijuana Research Project at the University of Mississippi, running the government's only marijuana farm. Turner believed that marijuana was an extremely dangerous drug--one that, among other things, might have the power to induce homosexuality. In 1977 the DEA had acknowledged that decriminalization was a policy worth considering; three years later it called marijuana the most urgent drug problem facing the United States. Richard Bonnie, a professor at the University of Virginia Law School who was an influential member of the Shafer Commission staff, believes that advocates of marijuana-law reform were pushed out of the mainstream by the growing stridency and power of the parents' groups. Political moderates soon abandoned the issue. Amid their silence, philosophies of "zero tolerance" and "user accountability" revived the notion that what drug offenders deserved most was punishment. The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, and the Anti-Drug Abuse Amendment Act of 1988 raised federal penalties for marijuana possession, cultivation, and trafficking. Sentences were to be determined by the quantity of the drug involved; "conspiracies" and "attempts" were to be punished as severely as completed acts; and possession of a hundred marijuana plants now carried the same sentence as possession of a hundred grams of heroin.

The Caprice of Geography

Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, implying that it has a high potential for abuse, no officially accepted medicinal uses, and no safe level of use under medical supervision. Heroin, LSD, and peyote are other Schedule I drugs; cocaine and phencyclidine (PCP) are listed in Schedule II, allowing doctors to prescribe them. Under federal law it is illegal to buy, sell, grow, or possess any amount of marijuana anywhere in the United States. Penalties for a first offense range from probation to life imprisonment, with fines of up to $4 million, depending on the quantity of marijuana involved. Moreover, it is illegal to use the U.S. Postal Service or other interstate shippers for the advertisement, import, or export of such marijuana paraphernalia as roach clips, water pipes, and, in some instances, cigarette papers--a crime that can lead to imprisonment and fines of up to $100,000. Under civil-forfeiture statutes real estate, vehicles, cash, securities, jewelry, and any other property connected with a marijuana offense are subject to immediate seizure. The federal government need not prove that the property was bought with the proceeds of illegal drug sales, only that it was involved in the commission of a crime--that marijuana was grown on certain land or transported in a particular vehicle. Property may be forfeited even after a defendant has been found innocent of the offense, since the burden of proof that applies to people--"beyond a reasonable doubt"--does not apply in accusations against inanimate objects. Property can be forfeited without its owner's ever being charged with a crime. On top of fines, incarceration, and forfeiture, a convicted marijuana offender may face the revocation or denial of more than 460 federal benefits, including student loans, small-business loans, professional licenses, and farm subsidies. In international smuggling cases the offender's passport can be revoked.

Part 9 of this never ending saga tomorrow.

Hemp FACT #65- Atl. Mthly-9

Date: 95-03-21 11:28:03 EDT

From: ADBryan


REEFER MADNESS by Eric Schlosser

Originally published in Atlantic Monthly, August 1994 issue.

State marijuana laws were also toughened during the 1980s and now vary enormously. Some states classify marijuana with drugs like mescaline and heroin, while others give it a separate legal category. In New York state possessing slightly less than an ounce of marijuana brings a $100 fine, rarely collected. In Nevada possessing any amount of marijuana is a felony. In Montana selling a pound of marijuana, first offense, could lead to a life sentence, whereas in New Mexico selling 10,000 pounds of marijuana, first offense, could be punished with a prison term of no more than three years. In some states it is against the law to be in a room where marijuana is being smoked, even if you don't smoke any. In some states you may be subject to criminal charges if someone else uses, distributes, or cultivates marijuana on your property. In Idaho selling water pipes could lead to a prison sentence of nine years. In Kentucky products made of hemp fibers, such as paper and clothing, not only are illegal but carry the same penalties associated with an equivalent weight of marijuana. In Arizona, where marijuana use is forbidden, the crime can be established by the failure of a urine test: a person could theoretically be prosecuted in Phoenix for a joint smoked in Philadelphia more than a week before.

Crossing an invisible state line with marijuana in your car can result in vastly different punishments. If you are caught with three ounces of marijuana in Union City, Ohio, you will probably be fined $100. But if you are caught in the town of the same name literally across the road in Indiana, you could face nine months to two years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, a felony record, suspension of your driver's license, forfeiture of your car, and charges of marijuana possession, of possession with intent to distribute, and of "maintaining a common nuisance" (for the criminal use of an automobile). That one arrest in Indiana might cost you the $10,000 fine and at least $5,000 in legal fees, plus the value of your forfeited car. Wide

discrepancies in punishment occur not just between states but also from county to county within a given state. In La Salle County, Illinois, a first-time offender arrested with 300 pounds of marijuana might be sentenced to four months in boot camp. Sixty-five miles to the south, in McLean County, the same person convicted of the same crime would more likely receive a prison sentence of four to eight years.

In 1992 more than 340,000 people were arrested nationwide for violating marijuana laws. Almost three quarters of those arrests were for simple possession, a crime that generally does not lead to incarceration. But possession of more than an ounce--roughly equal to the amount of tobacco in a pack of cigarettes--is in many states a felony. Conviction may lead to a few months or a few years behind bars and the loss of a house or a job. People who use marijuana as medicine must either buy it from drug dealers or grow it themselves, often in violation of the law. James Cox, a cancer patient in St. Louis, was found guilty of growing marijuana and sentenced to fifteen years in prison; after the verdict both he and his wife attempted suicide. Orland Foster, an AIDS patient in North Carolina, served fifteen months for growing marijuana; one of his cellmates served less time for killing a woman. Now on probation, Foster must either give up marijuana and risk losing weight, or violate the terms of his release and risk going back to prison.

Part 10 Tomorrow. If anyone wants this article in its entirety, please email your request and specify text or Microsoft Word format.

Hemp FACT #66- Atl. Mthly-10

Date: 95-03-22 11:36:32 EDT

From: ADBryan

CAUTION--Reading this section may lead to a bad attitude. :-(


REEFER MADNESS by Eric Schlosser

Originally published in Atlantic Monthly, August 1994 issue.

In perhaps the most extraordinary case of this kind, Jim Montgomery, a paraplegic immobilized from the waist down, who smoked marijuana to relieve muscle spasms, was arrested in Sayre, Oklahoma, when sheriffs found two ounces of pot in the pouch on the back of his wheelchair. Montgomery was tried and convicted in 1992, by a jury, for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, for possession of paraphernalia, for unlawful possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime (two handguns inherited from his father, a police officer), and for maintaining a place resorted to by users of controlled substances. His sentence was life in prison, plus sixteen years. Both the judge and the local prosecutor were disturbed by the sentence chosen by the jury; the judge subsequently reduced it to ten years. Montgomery spent ten months in a prison medical unit, where he developed a life-threatening infection, before being released on bond. His appeal is now pending. "I'll never go back to that prison," he says. "I'd rather put a bullet in my head." His case has already cost him more than $30,000 in legal fees. The government's effort to seize Montgomery's home, shared with his widowed mother, proved unsuccessful.

Oklahoma today has a well-deserved reputation for being the worst place in the United States to be caught with marijuana. On June 11, 1992, Larry Jackson, a small-time crook with a lengthy record of nonviolent offenses, was arrested at a friend's Tulsa apartment. On the floor near Jackson's right foot a police officer noticed a minuscule amount of marijuana--0.16 of a gram, which is 0.005644 of an ounce. Jackson was charged with felony possession of marijuana, convicted, and given a life sentence. In Oklahoma City, Leland James Dodd was given two life sentences, plus ten years, for buying fifty pounds of marijuana from undercover officers in a "reverse sting." Oklahoma is not alone in handing out life sentences for buying marijuana from the government. In Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, William Stephen Bonner, a truck driver, was sent away for life without possibility of parole after state narcotics agents delivered forty pounds of marijuana to his bedroom. Raymond Pope, a resident of Georgia, was lured to Baldwin County, Alabama, in 1990 with promises of cheap marijuana; he bought twenty-seven pounds from local sheriffs in a reverse sting, was convicted, and was sentenced to life without possibility of parole. Pope's criminal record consisted of prior convictions for stealing televisions and bedspreads from Georgia motels. He is now imprisoned 400 miles from his family. He has three young children.

Although the penalties for buying, selling, or possessing marijuana are often severe, the penalties for growing it can be even more severe. In Iowa cultivating any amount can lead to a five-year prison sentence, in Colorado to an eight-year sentence, in Missouri to a fifteen-year sentence. In the state of Virginia the recommended punishment for growing a single marijuana plant is a prison term of five to thirty years.

Part 11 Tomorrow.

Hemp FACT #67- Atl. Mthly-11

Date: 95-03-23 11:15:07 EDT

From: ADBryan


REEFER MADNESS by Eric Schlosser

Originally published in Atlantic Monthly, August 1994 issue.

A Farm in Morgan County

In November of 1988 Claude Atkinson and Ernest Montgomery met at a Denny's near the airport in Indianapolis to discuss setting up a large-scale marijuana-growing operation. Atkinson, a fifty-nine-year-old Indiana native, was by all accounts charismatic and highly skilled at cultivating marijuana. Ostensibly a used-farm-implements dealer, Atkinson had organized huge marijuana farms in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. His knowledge of growing techniques was much more impressive than his skill at eluding capture. In 1984 law-enforcement authorities had linked him to a pot farm in Paragon, Indiana; the following year he was caught growing marijuana with artificial light in an immense Indianapolis warehouse; and in 1987 a deer hunter stumbled upon thousands of his marijuana plants in an Indiana field. Claude Atkinson had cut a series of deals with the government, informing on others after each arrest and serving brief terms in prison, where he recruited employees for future ventures. Now fresh out of custody and broke, he was ready to get back into the growing business. Ernest Montgomery was an unemployed truck driver in his early forties who wanted to make big money. They agreed to form a partnership, with Montgomery supplying the capital and Atkinson the expertise. Soon after their meeting Claude Atkinson went to the Indiana statehouse and formed a dummy corporation, R.P.Z. Investments, using one of his many pseudonyms, Arno Zepp.

That fall Atkinson supervised the construction of a large "grow room" in the basement of a secluded cabin that Montgomery owned in Gosport. Montgomery enlisted his younger brother, Jerry, a gravedigger with a slight drinking problem, to help with the task. Together the three men drilled holes in the concrete floor for drainage, built a cooling system, assembled ballasts and reflectors, suspended grow lights with thousand-watt halide bulbs from the ceiling, and planted marijuana seeds in small pots. They installed a generator so that the operation would not be detected through an incongruously high electric bill. Montgomery invited David Lee Haynes, a young lumberyard ripsaw operator from Louisville, Kentucky, and the son of an old friend, to come live at the cabin and tend the plants. After digging graves all day, Jerry Montgomery would visit the dark basement in the evenings. By spring the group had approximately 12,500 seedlings of marijuana, contained in sixteen plywood flats. What they needed next was a farm.

In May of 1989 Martha Brummett, an elderly woman hard of hearing, agreed to lease her farmhouse halfway between Eminence and Cloverdale, in Morgan County, to R.P.Z. Investments. It came with about forty acres, a barn, and an option to buy. Martha Brummett was surprised that when a "Charlie Peters" arrived to sign the lease, the woman with him remained in the car and never entered the house. Nevertheless, Brummett innocently signed over her farm for $10,000 in cash, which she then took straight to her bank.

Part 12 next

Hemp FACT #68- Atl. Mthly-12

Date: 95-03-24 10:41:43 EDT

From: ADBryan


REEFER MADNESS by Eric Schlosser

Originally published in Atlantic Monthly, August 1994 issue.

A Farm in Morgan County (cont.)

After Ernest Montgomery and his wife, Cindy, obtained the house, David Haynes moved into it, to babysit the operation, having obtained a sham rental agreement from R.P.Z. Investments as a legal buffer against what was about to happen on the land. The group plowed and tilled the field, fertilized it, and planted corn. Once the corn had reached a good height, they planted marijuana, hiding it amid the stalks. Over the summer they walked the fields, "sexing" the marijuana--eliminating all the males. The females, left unpollinated, would produce a much higher level of delta-9-THC in their buds, and would thus become a much more valuable crop: sensimilla. In late September, before the corn leaves turned golden, the group harvested the marijuana and then cured it in the barn for two weeks and cut it into "books" about a foot wide and three feet long. The books were hauled into the farmhouse or driven to the cabin in Gosport for manicuring: the stems, orphan leaves, and fan leaves were separated from the precious buds. So far the operation had gone smoothly. Soon there would be about 900 pounds of high-quality marijuana to sell. Now the group needed buyers. Ernest Montgomery thought that Mark Young, a man whom he had met a few times with Cindy, might know the right people to call.

Mark Young was thirty-six and had been smoking marijuana on a daily basis since his late teens. He grew up in Christian Park Heights, a middle-class neighborhood on the east side of Indianapolis. His father left the family when Mark was two; he and his sister, Andrea, were raised by their mother, Mary, who worked as a waitress or a hostess to pay the bills. Young was a willful, stubborn, charming boy, always getting into trouble. He seemed to have, throughout his pranks and petty thefts, the sort of bad luck that is almost uncanny--often he would get caught while his friends got away. Young dropped out of high school after a year, became a father at the age of sixteen, married to give the child his name, divorced, worked as a carpet-layer, washed dishes, laid concrete, tended bar, sold used cars, and rebuilt Harley-Davidson motorcycles. He kept an album filled with pictures of his favorite Harleys. He knew all the local biker gangs, but remained apart; Young seemed to get into enough trouble on his own. He dated many attractive women, lived a fast life, and slowly acquired a criminal record--nothing violent, just misdemeanors for driving without a license, for possession of marijuana, for taking a girlfriend's stereo. He also earned two felony convictions: one at the age of twenty-one, for attempting to pass a fraudulent prescription, and the other at the age of twenty-five, for possession of a few amphetamines and Quaaludes. Each felony brought a suspended sentence, probation, and a one-dollar fine. When Ernest Montgomery called, Mark Young was rebuilding motorcycles, selling used cars wholesale, and looking for new income. He had held a financial interest in a number of massage parlors, which were now closed. His dream was to get some money, move to Florida, build custom Harleys, and work part-time as a fishing guide on Lake Okeechobee.

Part 13 comin' atcha tommory

Hemp FACT #69- Atl. Mthly-13

Date: 95-03-25 10:52:57 EDT

From: ADBryan

And now -- Hot of the Cut 'n Paste Press it's


REEFER MADNESS by Eric Schlosser

Originally published in Atlantic Monthly, August 1994 issue.

A Farm in Morgan County-cont.

Claude Atkinson, Ernest Montgomery, and Mark Young met in the family room of Young's house in early October. The price of the marijuana was set at $1,200 a pound. If Young found buyers, he would receive a commission of $100 for every pound sold. Not long after, Atkinson and Montgomery returned to Young's house, where they were introduced to two men from Florida who were acting on behalf of someone seeking to buy all the marijuana the group could supply. Atkinson offered a hundred pounds a week; the marijuana was still being manicured and could not be delivered all at once. Within days a man from New York arrived at Young's house with $120,000 in a cardboard box. While the New York buyer inspected the marijuana at Montgomery's Indianapolis house, Atkinson remained behind, counting the money. The deal was completed, and Young was handed $10,000 in cash. The New York buyer eventually paid for 600 more pounds, in transactions that took place at Montgomery's house. By Christmas all the high-quality marijuana was gone, the last 200 pounds either distributed to workers who had helped with various tasks or sold to an acquaintance of Montgomery's in Illinois.

The town of Eminence, Indiana, is about twenty-five miles west of Indianapolis. Near its only intersection is a Citizens Bank, a small church, a convenience store, and a post office built of concrete blocks and painted royal blue. The town boasts 180 inhabitants and looks as though it has not seen much new construction since the interval between the world wars. There are countless small towns like Eminence across the Midwest, slightly faded but still eulogized as the heartland of this country. To reach the farm used by R.P.Z. Investments, one must leave Eminence on a narrow country road and then turn onto a dirt road and drive for a long stretch, past fields of fifty to a hundred acres where corn, hay, soybeans, and wheat are grown, past modest farms with collapsing outbuildings, an occasional trailer home, and rusted cars on cinder blocks. Farther west the land is flat, the acreage of each plot enormous, but here the countryside feels long settled, with hedges and trees marking boundary lines. After cleaning out the barn, Atkinson and Montgomery allowed the lease on Martha Brummett's property to expire. The one-story farmhouse has been painted beige by its latest occupants; the barn remains bright red. There is a porch on the front of the house, an enclosed patio on one side, and a swing set on the lawn. Looking at this humble farm, one would hardly believe that more than a million dollars' worth of marijuana had been grown there in the space of about three months.

Hemp FACT #70- Atl. Mthly-14

Date: 95-03-27 11:19:14 EDT

From: ADBryan

O.K. Back again. Got the hail damage claim to my car turned in this a.m. Whatta storm we had in Dallas Saturday. Looked like a hurricane blowing through.


REEFER MADNESS by Eric Schlosser

Originally published in Atlantic Monthly, August 1994 issue.

Inside The Industry

Steve White looks like an ordinary Indiana farmer, with slightly unkempt hair, a graying beard, teeth stained by nicotine, and strong hands. The day we met, he wore an old flannel shirt, gray pants, and battered work boots. His voice has a low rural twang. He seems to belong in an old pickup, riding through a vast dusty field. White is the Indiana coordinator for the Drug Enforcement Administration's Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program. Of his twenty-six years in federal law enforcement, twenty-one have been spent in Indiana, working undercover. He knows the state backwards and forwards--has walked it, driven it, and flown low over it every summer, scrutinizing hills and farmland. Nobody ever thinks he is a cop. He gets along well with rural people. He grew up in New York City and attended P.S. 20; his father worked on Wall Street. He travels to London each year to indulge a passion for collecting English antique toy soldiers. Special Agent White would be an implausible character in any work of fiction. Savvy, articulate, self-deprecating, and blunt, he defies easy categorization and probably knows more about growing marijuana than most of the people he arrests.

Claude Atkinson was an extremely talented grower with a "good product," White says--and "a super salesman." The operation near Eminence was of average size for its time. It is difficult, even from the air, to find marijuana hidden in corn: "Remember North by Northwest?" White says. "Cary Grant in the cornfield? We don't have cornfields like that anymore, with wide rows. They broadcast the stuff, and it's just thicker than hell." Sometimes patches of marijuana will be distributed here and there amid hundreds of acres. Discovering one may not lead to the others. Growers tend to be much more concerned about hiding their marijuana from thieves than from the government. A rural underworld has emerged around marijuana, secretive and unknown to outsiders; booby traps are laid in cornfields. There is now a group of people in the Marijuana Belt, known as "patch pirates," who earn a living solely by stealing marijuana from growers, whom they follow. White acknowledges that the booby traps are usually aimed at patch pirates, not his own men; nevertheless, fishhooks strung at eye level on fishing line are nondiscriminatory. Outdoor marijuana farms have become smaller in the past few years, though last summer White's agents found "60,000 beautiful plants" on a farm in Tippecanoe County. The case proved a disappointment: the DEA never found the grower. "What I want is bodies," White explains. "I don't give a damn about the dope--that's just something we're going to burn up." His job involves a daily cat-and-mouse pursuit of marijuana growers, with both sides changing tactics, adopting new technologies, and often, after an arrest, amicably discussing tricks of the trade. White harbors no animosity toward his prey. "These are not heroin or cocaine dealers," he says. "They're not violent. I find a lot of them personally engaging." What they are doing is against the law, however, and White loves tracking them down. He has had a good deal of success lately. In 1992 Indiana led the nation in federal arrests for marijuana. Last year it ranked third.


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