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When It's Marijuana Harvesting Time, Residents Look to the Skies


November 1994

Citizens in three northern California counties banded together several years ago to protest what they describe as the yearly "reckless" crop-eradication raids by an inter-agency government task force ("Trouble in the Fields: Residents Fed up with Anti-Marijuana Drive," Law Enforcement News, Oct. 31, 1994, p. 5).

Some residents of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties, dubbed the "Emerald Triangle" for the amounts of marijuana grown there, formed the Citizens' Observation Group (COG) to compile information and file complaints against the government. Most of the complaints involve the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), which is made up of agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Guard, and local sheriff's deputies.

Members of COG complain that every fall during the marijuana-harvesting season National Guard helicopters buzz closeby overhead, scaring children and animals. The complaints also state that agents squash residents' gardens and fields in their raids. COG submits the information to the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project (CLMP), which files lawsuits against the government.

Ed Denson of COG says that a CAMP helicopter frightened one horse so badly that it bashed itself against the wall of a corral and had to be put to sleep. Another resident complained that a helicopter landed on his property without permission and took water.

CAMP spokesperson Dale A. Ferranto points out that marijuana is probably the Emerald Triangle's largest cash crop. According to Ferranto, the COG complaints are unwarranted. He said that officers would stop the raids if residents would stop growing marijuana. "If you don't like us, then quit growing the dope up there or tell your neighbors to stop, and we'll stop coming," he said.

For information about COG or CLMP, contact Ed Denson, P.O. Box 544, Redway, CA 95560, 707-923-4646.