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Drugs and ThugsThe History and Future of America's War on Drugs$
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Russell Crandall

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300240344

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300240344.001.0001

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Cannabis Revisited

Cannabis Revisited

(p.346) 23 Cannabis Revisited
Drugs and Thugs

Russell Crandall

Yale University Press

This chapter details the launch of the U.S. federal, state, and local anti-drug agencies' two-month effort called Operation Mountain Sweep in late August 2012, which targeted large illegal marijuana cultivations on public land in several Western states. It describes marijuana cultivation on public lands, especially in the American West, that had grown immensely during the previous few years, making aggressive responses from anti-drug elements unsurprising. It also discusses how the United States emerged as one of the largest marijuana producers in the Americas, with Mexico supplying about half of all the cannabis consumed in the United States. The chapter elaborates that concerns about the environmental impact of cannabis cultivation on delicate ecosystems served as a major catalyst for Operation Mountain Sweep. It points out how cultivation-driven environmental degradation in the United States was similar in cocaine source countries, where growers slashed virgin rainforest to make way for coca plantings.

Keywords:   anti-drug agencies, Operation Mountain Sweep, marijuana cultivation, American West, cannabis

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