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Fascinating Facts!

  • Cannabis sativa plants can grow up to fourteen feet tall and they were considered to be purely decorative and fairly harmless up to the reign of George V.
  • The police station in Grants Pass, Oregon, displays a cannabis sativa plant to let the locals know what it looks like. And at Christmas, they add lights and decorations and use it as their Christmas tree.
  • Bureaucracy run mad? The Agricultural Commission of Mendocino County in Northern Califormia began to include statistics on marijuana in its crop reports in the early Eighties. "Just because it's illegal doesn't mean it's not an agricultural crop and part of the county's economy," said a spokesman. A year or so later, someone noticed what was going on and told the Commissioner to stop doing it. At the time, the value of the cannabis sativa crop was second only to timber.
  • The proprietor of a Dutch marine drugs hypermarket fell foul of the law by failing to do a good enough job of selling his wares. He used to anchor his ocean-going tug in international waters off Lowestoft and sell his wares to boat-owning British drug dealers. And then one day, he found that he had a bale of drugs left unsold as he was returning to a Dutch port to refuel. The simplest thing to do, he thought, was to dump it overboard. Unfortunately, the Customs were watching him and he ended up doing two years in gaol for attempting to smuggle 150 kg of hashish. Some days, you can't give the stuff away!
  • The alleged global warming effect has increased the headaches of drug squad officers, particularly in Devon and Cornwall, where the weather was already ideal for growing cannabis sativa. Harassed drug squad officers are having to check everywhere: back gardens, commercial greenhouses, waste land, thickets in parks, clifftop hideaways and cunningly located plots beside motorways and railway lines.
  • In the early eighties, Americans were producing cannabis sativa to the value of nearly eight billion dollars; and that's in addition to what they were importing. The main producers were California, Hawaii, Oklahoma and Oregon [where marijuana is easily the main crop, according to the US Drug Enforcement Agency], but other states were making their contributions. In New York State, for instance, cannabis sativa became the third biggest cash crop, beaten only by sweet corn and hay.
  • One way of destroying marijuana plants is to spray them with the herbicide Paraquattm. There is a problem, however. Crops in Mexico, sprayed at the expense of the US government, can be harvested before the plants wither and exported to the US; where they can damage the lungs of unsuspecting smokers. Ever helpful, the US State Department has come up with an acceptable alternative - the compound D-limonene dimercaptan. This insidious stuff is odourless on a marijuana leaf until it is smoked. Then the stink produced is enough to make a skunk look like an amateur in the bad-smell stakes.
  • The governor of a prison in Martinez, California, thought it would be a good idea to let his inmates take advantage of the phone company's free local phone calls. The next thing he knew, one of his ungrateful criminals was being busted for running a drug ring by telephone!
  • Always on the lookout for a way to stretch his country's tax dollars even further, President Ronald Reagan sent his aides to look at vessels confiscated from drug dealers when he decided that he needed a presidential yacht.
  • Anyone looking for a house in South Florida would be well advised to stay out of the flight path of the state's drug smugglers. Houses are liable to be bombed with bales of marijuana weighing up to one-hundred pounds if Customs aircraft start chasing the smugglers and they are forced to dump their load.
  • Marijuana is the second biggest crop in Florida - beaten only by oranges - and some growers tie rattlesnakes to their plants to protect them at harvest time. Other ways of defending crops include the use of home-made landmines, pits containing sharpened stakes and trip-wires connected to hand grenades. Oh, yes; and a lot of armed men.
  • The Arizona Public Service Company and the Florida Power and Light Company have found an interesting renewable fuel source for the boilers in their power generation plants - confiscated marijuana. One ton provides 2,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity.
  • Drug enforcement agencies may pursue the 'Noble Weed' on the ground, in the air via spotters in helicopters and even from space by satellites with infra-red observation gear; but the growers have a high-tech answer to that problem - hydroponics. It is perfectly legal to buy the growth troughs, nutrient solutions and high-intensity lighting at specialist shops in California as the same equipment is used for growing rare orchids. And as long as no one mentions the c word, they can't touch you for it!
  • Police out searching for illegal stills in County Galway found a large area of cannabis sativa plants instead. They had been concealed among a crop of potatoes; which had been killed off by blight.

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