US: Bummer of a Summer: Weather Halves B.C.’s Pot Crop

US: Bummer of a Summer: Weather Halves B.C.’s Pot Crop
TokeoftheTown / Steve Elliott / 09,09,2011


RCMP officers on Vancouver Island bust an outdoor marijuana grow operation​Wet, cold weather in British Columbia this summer has cut the western Canadian province’s marijuana harvest in half, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Officers have observed "significantly smaller" marijuana plants from aerial and ground searches, according to RCMP spokesman Cpl. Darren Lagan, reports Katie DeRosa at the Victoria Times Colonist. Lagan said the plants were smaller this year because of poor weather at the beginning of the growing season.

Besides the weather, the RCMP are trying to take some of the credit themselves, saying it is due to their decade-long enforcement effort against marijuana cultivation.

Every summer for the past 10 years, police in RCMP and military helicopters have combed remote areas of Vancouver Island looking for outdoor cannabis growing operations.

This year, the drug team claims it uprooted 7,281 plants, about a quarter of the 30,000 plants found in 2010.


Tim Martin of John Doe Radio demonstrates the size of a nine-gram joint. Now, I know my buddy Tim parties like this, but something tells me most other folks get more than 100 joints out of two pounds of weed.​In an amusing bit of inaccurate reporting, the Times Colonist soberly tells us that "A mature plant can yield up to two pounds of marijuana, which amounts to about 100 joints. These smaller plants would only yield half that, about 50 joints."

Think about it. Two pounds equal 100 joints? Two pounds is 896 grams. Dividing that up into 100 joints makes some monster splits, indeed. Those whoppers would average almost nine grams — more than a quarter-ounce each. (I’d sure like to party with reporter Katie DeRosa, if that’s how she rolls. Katie, call me, please.)

Normal joints average from half a gram to a gram each, depending on how hardcore the dude is who’s rolling them.

Anyway, back to the B.C. marijuana harvest. The largest single site had 450 plants, compared to last year’s largest site of 900 plants, according to Cpl. Lagan.

There were also fewer individual grow sites on the Island than in previous years, about 200 sites, down from 400 last year.

Lagan said police believe that’s a sign drug enforcement is working, with criminals expecting cops in choppers to be back year after year. "You apply that pressure for so long and the profitability starts to be severely impacted," Lagan said. (Yes, the profitability is impacted — it is greatly increased due to reduced supply.)

Police typically conduct their air search for marijuana fields in June and July, then go in and destroy the plants in late August, just before the harvest, according to Lagan.

Nobody has ever been arrested for growing marijuana in the decade-long history of Operation Sabot, the annual anti-pot-growing operation. Lagan said the helicopters usually alert people that cops are nearby — and even if someone is found near the plants, it’s difficult to prove they were connected to the crop.

"The target is not to make those arrests, it’s to eradicate that product before it gets to the street level," Lagan said, without explaining why that’s so important as to waste untold Canadian tax dollars.

Meanwhile, some marijuana experts pointed out that most of B.C.’s weed is grown indoors, anyway, report Robert Matas and Ian Bailey of the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Criminologist Neil Boyd of Simon Fraser University, who has written extensively on illegal drugs (no, not while he was on them, silly; he’s written about them), said the police are overlooking the impact of indoor growing.

"What people are consuming is much more likely, in urban areas particularly, to be [from] indoor growers," Boyd said. "I would say the amounts grown indoors are likely greater than the amounts grown outdoors, which is how they can achieve the consistent potency."

"Most indoor crops are meant for B.C., and most outdoor crops are exported," said marijuana advocate Jodie Emery, wife of imprisoned "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery.