File this news story under "We told you so!” A federal official intimately involved with the War on Drugs recently admitted what HIGH TIMES has been reporting for years: There is little, if any, evidence connecting ruthless Mexican narco-cartels to outdoor cannabis cultivation on public lands in Northern California and elsewhere in America.
Over the holidays, Tommy Lanier, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy's National Marijuana Initiative, said: "Based on our intelligence, which includes thousands of cell phone numbers and wiretaps, we haven't been able to connect anyone to a major cartel.”
Lanier went on to disclose that law enforcement may have misrepresented the true origin of pot growing in places like national parks because, in the past, Mexican nationals have been arrested tending “illegal” gardens. More cynically, playing the “cartel card" helps boost police budgets.
Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, insists: "We always felt the cartel association was phony. None of my contacts ever spoke of encountering a Mexican cartel – except for those who actually went to Mexico."
Gieringer suspects that a cut-off in ONDCP funding enabled Lanier’s comments. Or maybe it's another sign that pot prohibition's days are numbered. "We hope the Feds realize that the war on marijuana creates crime and that crime will decrease if it is legal. This is an encouraging glimmer of light among the powers that be."