Georgia’s air war on marijuana growers

The rigor with which Georgia law enforcement authorities pursue and seek to convict individuals on marijuana-related drug charges in the state can be amply appreciated by contrast.

Colorado serves well as a case in point. While Georgia law still provides for some of the most stringent criminal penalties in the country for marijuana possession of even small amounts of pot, an amendment allowing for legalized recreational pot use in Colorado was recently codified in that state’s constitution.

The states are virtual polar extremes in how they view and respond to the cultivation and use of marijuana. Recent activity by Georgia drug enforcement officials drives home that point in earnest.

Seasonal summer weather — hot and muggy — serves as the impetus for heavy involvement from the Georgia Army National Guard in helping state drug enforcers find and destroy marijuana plants.

“Georgia’s climate is most conducive to what they’re used to growing down in South America,” says an official with the Georgia Governor’s Task Force for Drug Suppression.

Persons in Georgia who attempt to grow pot in wilderness regions should know that they are targets of an intensive air surveillance program marked by Army helicopters and trained marijuana spotters. Military involvement in the state’s anti-pot efforts runs annually and coincides with the marijuana growing season from approximately April through October.

The commander of the Governor’s task force says that the aerial operation helped drug officials uproot more than 75,000 pot plants across the state last year.

A National Guard spokesperson says that the costs incurred by the military in looking for marijuana are almost fully offset by assets seized in drug raids.

Source: WGCL Atlanta, “In the air over wilderness, GA National Guard fights war on drugs,” Will Frampton, July 25, 2013