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Mexico marijuana growers learn new tricks from U.S.

  1. bubbly nubs
    Farmers growing marijuana in remote Mexican mountains are adopting techniques pioneered in the United States to produce more potent pot and boost profits from the cash crop that is fuelling a deadly drug war.

    Farmers growing marijuana in remote Mexican mountains are adopting techniques pioneered in the United States to produce more potent pot and boost profits from the cash crop that is fuelling a deadly drug war. Skip related content

    In the fertile valleys of Sinaloa in northwestern Mexico, soldiers this year found 60 acres (24 hectares) of covered greenhouses equipped with sophisticated irrigation and fertilization systems growing seemingly endless rows of marijuana plants. In another part of Sinaloa, the cradle of Mexican drug trafficking, the army recently busted a marijuana lab with potted plants heated day and night by lamps, a change from traditional outdoor cultivation of the crop and a sign drug cartels are using more savvy production methods.

    "This is new. They now have technology so the plant will grow faster; we think the techniques are coming from (the United States)," said a soldier commanding a battalion ripping up 5-foot (1.5-metre)-high marijuana plants growing along a river bank near the dusty town of Amata, Sinaloa.

    While estimates vary, law enforcement officials on both sides of the border say Mexican drug gangs earn the bulk of their cash from cheap-to-produce marijuana, using revenues to sustain wars against rivals and the government that have killed more than 33,000 people across Mexico in the past four years.

    Even as hundreds of troops fan out across Sinaloa ripping up marijuana fields by hand, cartels are one step ahead of the government's efforts, helping to stifle President Felipe Calderon's army-led battle against the cartels.

    "It's a cycle," said another soldier in Amata as he stood by 20,000 pungent marijuana plants doused with diesel and set on fire in a billowing cloud of white smoke. "We come and destroy the fields and move onto another area and they come back and start preparing the land to plant again."

    The new greenhouses are harder for the army to detect with fly-overs since they resemble tomato plots common in Sinaloa.


    If drug gangs in Mexico are successful enhancing the quality of their product, they can sell the improved marijuana for up to five times the normal price. The going rate for top quality U.S. pot is around $2,500 per pound, while Mexican types sell for under $500, U.S. law enforcement officials say.

    New cultivation tactics may be a sign Mexico is being forced to compete with growers north of the border, especially in California where business is booming, spurred on in part by marijuana for medical use, now legal in 15 states and the District of Colombia.

    "I've been in drug law enforcement since 1970 and I never in my wildest dreams thought I would say California is producing more marijuana than Mexico," said Bill Ruzzamenti, a police officer specializing in the marijuana trade in California's Central Valley. "But there are people willing to spend the money on what they perceive to be primo bud as opposed to the Mexican crud," he added.

    Seizures of marijuana plants in California soared nearly 300 percent over the past four years. Output increased south of the border as well between 2006 and 2008, but not by so much.

    Clandestine marijuana fields are cropping up with more frequency in the United States, often in national parks. U.S. law enforcement officials say many of the outdoor marijuana fields in the United States are tended by Mexican growers from the traditional pot growing state of Michoacan, home to the notorious La Familia drug cartel.

    Ruzzamenti speculated that Mexican growers working in the United States are taking knowledge learned from experienced marijuana botanists cultivating strong new strains with names like "train wreck" and "California dream" back home to Mexico.

    Indoor operations are increasing in the United States, in part because THC content, the drug's active ingredient, shoots up when marijuana is tended in greenhouses. THC in marijuana seized in the United States increased nearly 250 percent in the past two decades, according to the U.S. State Department.

    Some U.S. varieties reach upwards of 30 percent THC, while Mexican pot averages between 3 and 4 percent, said Tommy Lanier, who directs the National Marijuana Initiative, funded by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    Lanier questions the medical value of such strong marijuana and said legitimate crops can be diverted to the black market.

    "They say its used for pain management, but drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels would have the same effect," he said.


    Is it just me or is that statement bullshit?


  1. static_vodka_420
    so is the statement about a whole botttle of jack daniels having the same effect as any amount of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes in swims opinion
  2. Killa Weigha
    No, it's not bullshit. Vancouver, Amsterdam...whatever. The strongest varieties are and have been since the 80's grown in N.Cal. Trainwreck, Strawberry Cough, Grandaddy Purp, Purple Urkel etc. Ask somebody.
  3. bubbly nubs
    Ask somebody? 30% THC seems ludicrous to me. Id love to see some proof for that. Maybe ill believe you then.

    OK, so maybe its not so far fetched but id still love to see more proof than "ask somebody".
  4. powerrobbie
    Definitely no weed has been 30 percent THC. Swim has heard of 22 percent but i do not think it has hit 30. Hash and oils obviously can be well over 30 percent.
  5. ahhunh
    ive mixed chronic & hydro and matter started forming in my eyes b4 i finished chokin...thats well over 30%!!!
  6. beentheredonethatagain
    I dont follow, how does this prove the claim of over thirty percent? no one can know without some equipment to test it properly.

    over twenty is very rare but over thirty , not too common. very very rare.
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