SOMMER task force crows about ripping up plants in Southern Oregon

(Medford Mail-Tribune) A team formed to fight suspected drug cartels growing marijuana in Southern Oregon forests removed 125,787 pot plants with an estimated value of more than $283 million this summer, according to a final tally publicly released Saturday by team organizers.

The Southern Oregon Multi-Agency Marijuana Eradication and Reclamation team, or SOMMER — which covers Jackson, Josephine, Coos, Curry, Douglas, Klamath and Lake counties — yanked nearly 70 percent of the total number of plants destroyed in Oregon this year, a report of the team’s first year said.

“This was definitely a success,” Jackson County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.

The team got another infusion of grants in midsummer and additional funding continues to trickle in now as unspent eradication money from other agencies is redistributed by the Oregon Department of Justice, Winters said. He said the federal eradication grants will cover more than half of SOMMER’s expenses, and other state and federal sources are being tapped to help pay for the effort.

The seven counties pulled out more than 55,000 pot plants in 2009 and hoped to remove 100,000 this year, Carlson said. The 125,000 plants removed topped that goal and accounted for the majority of the 184,015 plants that the Oregon Department of Justice reported were seized statewide in 2010.

Let’s examine this “success”, shall we?

We spent $600,000 of taxpayer money to pay cops to pull weeds at the cost of $4/weed. A weed that cost $0.04 to plant. Meanwhile, (according to the FBI UCR) the clearance rate in Oregon for murders is 56% and rapes is 27.5%. Success?

The cops pulled over 125,000 immature marijuana plants. Meanwhile, the state that will produce over a million mature plants outdoors (even after interdictions) and produce half a billion dollars in value (according to Jon Gettman, Ph.D.) in an untaxed criminal black market, making it the largest cash crop in the state over hay and wheat. Success?

Marijuana worth allegedly $283 million (when finally harvested, cured, trimmed, separated, bagged, and sold… worth considerably less when they are seedlings or vegetative) was interdicted. Meanwhile, according to, Oregon still has the lowest-priced high grade marijuana in America. Success?

One out of eight Oregon adults (according to National Surveys on Drug Use and Health) will use cannabis this year and we will spend $61.5 million Oregon taxpayer dollars arresting 300 marijuana users per month (according to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission) and take in $0 tax dollars from those consumers. Meanwhile, Oregon has a billion dollar budget deficit. Success?

Federal grant money creates jobs and overtime hours for cops in Jackson, Josephine, Coos, Curry, Douglas, Klamath and Lake counties who get to fly around in helicopters and shoot people… ahhh, success. (In case you’re wondering, there are no federal grants for local agencies to go after murder, rape, theft, or any other criminals… just drug task forces.)

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