We’ve all heard, and some of us have seen for ourselves, that Mexican immigrants are playing a larger role than ever before in the business of large-scale marijuana growing in the National Forests. We’ve also heard, although without any particular evidence to back it up, that these growers are associated with Mexican drug cartels.
Be that as it may, commercial pot farms, with their pesticides, fertilizers and associated garbage, do immense damage to the forest environment. Ending our pointless and failed marijuana prohibition would solve this problem overnight, of course. But we all know that’s not happening anytime soon.
So what do we do in the meantime? Well, here’s the Forest Service’s latest approach…
Forest Service officials in Colorado issued a warning urging forest users to beware of, and report to law enforcement, fellow campers eating tortillas, spam or tuna, drinking Tecate beer, listening to Mexican music or speaking Spanish.
Great idea! Sounds foolproof to us, except of course that those crafty cartels would probably switch to canned chicken, Carta Blanca and Lawrence Welk.
Who could have foreseen that the people of Colorado, where more than 20% of the population is Latino, would find this warning objectionable? No one at the Forest Service, apparently.
So two days later the Forest Service retracted the statement, calling it insensitive and inexcusable.
For the next attempt, we’d suggest something like this:
Beware of and report to law enforcement any fellow campers carrying automatic weapons, setting up permanent campsites in areas far from trails and roads, hauling sacks of pesticides or fertilizers, or attempting to intimidate other forest users, regardless of race or nationality.
That just might come a little closer to the mark.
Can we say, “profiling?” Been illegal for a long time. What was the USFS thinking?? Somebody wasn’t.