Monday, March 30, 2009

Sow what ye reap (put THAT in your pipe and smoke it)

In parts of the United States, you can't go for a walk in the woods without bumping into apple trees. Could the debate over marijuana be settled by making marijuana plants as ubiquitous as apple trees -- so unavoidable that prosecuting people for growing and possessing the stuff becomes a preposterous proposition? More to the point, should Americans interested in easing some of the worst abuses of the drug war emulate Johnny Appleseed, the man who made apples so common, and plant marijuana seeds in every likely location?

Reader Sean Y. writes:

I propose that everyone plant their marijuana seeds in inconspicuous places. These places can be in a large city or national forest, it does not matter. Everyone that believes in liberty should plant these seeds any time that they have the opportunity. Within a couple of years this “weed” has the potential to be so prolific that the government cannot eradicate it. Not only that, marijuana enthusiasts will no longer have to search out bad characters and pay outrageous prices for a plant that grows naturally just about anywhere. Who knows, a little genetic modification could make the plants irresistible to honey bees and as prolific as the dandelion?

Sean Y. specifically references the legendary Johnny Appleseed -- actually named John Chapman -- as his inspiration. Chapman wandered the frontier for decades until his death in 1845 (or 1847 -- sources vary), creating nurseries for apple trees and helping to make sure that the apple became the American fruit. He reportedly obtained his seeds for free from cider mills, since the mills would benefit from a plentiful supply of raw material (at the time apples were drunk as hard cider more often than they were eaten. Good times.).

Marijuana seeds aren't quite so easy to come by -- but they aren't that hard to find, either. Until recently, British Columbia's Marc Emery made a profitable business of selling marijuana seeds by mail which he distributed to eager buyers around the world. Emery, a high-profile marijuana activist and advocate for overall liberty was quoted in the New York Times saying, "I've wanted to be the Johnny Appleseed of marijuana, so if we produced millions and millions of marijuana plants all over the world, it would be impossible for governments to eradicate or control all of it."

Emery's operation was maybe a little too high-profile; he's involved in a protracted battle with the United States government and faces an extradition hearing in June.

But given the ease with which marijuana adapts to nearly every environment and its rugged growth characteristics, the plan is an intriguing one. And marijuana seeds remain available from other sources. Spreading the seeds to let them grow naturally shows every sign of being a viable tactic.

By the way, if you think it unseemly that anybody should profit from such a venture, think of it this way: the potential for profit is a great incentive to make the project succeed. After all, the original Johnny Appleseed died a wealthy man and the owner of about 1,200 acres.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

weird. was thinking about this very thing yesterday. it could work. if you had an airplane or even an ultra light the possibilties seem endless.

March 30, 2009 3:46 PM  
Blogger BobG said...

When I was a little kid in Las Vegas, the local police were always having to go around and clear pot plants from ditches and fields where they grew wild.

March 31, 2009 10:26 AM  
Anonymous claude said...

This should be part of the 420 celebration. Plant some seeds on that day. I plan too.

March 31, 2009 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Plug Nickel Outfit said...

There are parts of the US where feral marijuana plants grow as you describe - supposedly a remnant from when cultivation was not criminalised. It's commonly called "ditch weed" - and isn't considered desirable.

Open pollinated grass probably wouldn't have nearly the allure of some of the hand-crafted stock, but it would keep the prohibitionists busy!

March 31, 2009 1:46 PM  
Blogger bwaites said...

Wouldn't work, the wild varieties would cross pollinate so fast that the weed would be useless for those who want to use it.

I lived in Illinois when I was a kid and it grew everywhere, including on the military base I lived on. The guys in the base stockade had to pull it as part of their time, and it literally grew in every neighborhood without much encoragement. One of the officers wives was actually cultivating it as a groundcover in some usused portion of their lot, supposedly not recognizing it for what it was!

April 5, 2009 5:14 PM  

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