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California Grapples with Polices on Marjuana

NewsHour contributor Jeffrey Kaye reports from Los Angeles on California's conflict between state and federal legislation when it comes to regulating medical marijuana facilities.

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  • JEFFREY KAYE, NewsHour Correspondent:

    This summer, law enforcement agents converged in trucks and helicopters to prepare for a series of assaults.

  • CMDR. NEIL CUTHBERT, Campaign Against Marijuana Planting:

    I know we’ve got four gardens today, or we have five. One of them is a little far, so we’re going to try to knock out four.

  • JEFFREY KAYE:

    Their targets were marijuana gardens, scattered in California’s Sequoia National Forest, roughly two hours north of Los Angeles. From the air, agents scoured mountainsides searching for the state’s number-one cash crop.

  • LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENT:

    Oh, yeah, yeah, all under there.

  • JEFFREY KAYE:

    To avoid detection, marijuana growers have turned increasingly to remote areas of national forests and state parks. Once they found the pot plants, drug police from federal, state and local agencies hoisted up and swooped in. They are part of CAMP, the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, a 24-year-old program run by the state of California and funded mostly by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA.

    Neil Cuthbert is a commander with CAMP.

  • CMDR. NEIL CUTHBERT:

    We expect we’re going to break last year’s record probably within another week, week and a half.

  • JEFFREY KAYE:

    What was last year’s record?

  • CMDR. NEIL CUTHBERT:

    1.6 million.

  • JEFFREY KAYE:

    1.6 million plants?

  • CMDR. NEIL CUTHBERT:

    Yes.

  • JEFFREY KAYE:

    By mid-September, the count was more than 2.2 million. Even though every year there’s more marijuana grown and more found, Cuthbert thinks the raids are effective.

  • CMDR. NEIL CUTHBERT:

    We have a major impact on these organizations, $58 million eradicated today. That is a major, major impact, especially when they lost all their money, and they already sunk a bunch of money into it.

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