Pot Growers High on List of Terrorist Threats–Federal Agencies Spend Well Over $500,000 in an Exercise to Defend Against Them

In response to the chilling possibility that pot growers pose a terrorist threat, twenty Federal Agencies prepared for the fearsome farmers of the Emerald Triangle taking over the Shasta Dam this last Wednesday. In a move surely inspired by paranoid fantasies, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Critical Infrastructure Crisis Response Exercise Program spent 18 months and $500, 000 planning and executing this likely scenario–and that’s not counting the money and time spent by the other 19 agencies.

More than 250 people took part in a scenario described by the Redding Searchlight as beginning with those aggressive guerrilla gardeners

… taking over the dam in an effort to free one of their fellow marijuana growers from prison. Holding three people hostage, they threatened to flood the Sacramento River by rolling open the drum gates atop the dam. Those gates hold back the nearly full lake.

To show their seriousness in the drill, the [growers] twice pretended to release water from the dam. Each of the dam’s three drum gates can release up to 66,000 cubic feet per second when the dam is full…

Did the feds catch the crazed cannabis criminals when they stopped for their 4:20 toke?

Preparing for a terrorist takeover of dams may be a sensible precaution.  Casting the thousands of peaceful farmers who provide the economic basis for this region as terrorists is a foolish waste of time and energy that could better be spent on preparing for a less ludicrous and unlikely event.

Is this an effort by the federal government to demonize growers.  They have taken an increasingly hostile tone toward our local industry.  According to SpyTalk, a Washington Post blog, in 2005  there is no mention of growers in a catalog of terrorist threats, but in August  The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program declared,

“The increasing involvement of highly organized drug trafficking organizations protecting their investment or competing for territory and market share has elevated the dangers surrounding cannabis growing from ‘pot users merely growing their stash’ to…a ‘marijuana war.'”

Attitudes such as this explain the FBI expanding out of its small Eureka office to the spacious third floor of the Fortuna Preston Center.



UPDATE:  Heraldo has a thread on this here.

UPDATE2: Eric has a thread on this also here.

Photo from the Redding Searchlight.



  • This is the most insane thing I’ve heard the government pot haters do yet!

    It’s almost too weird to be true. I’m so disgusted with the waste of money – and the very idea that pot farmers are terrorists – that I think I’m going to go puke now!

  • If it’s not the billions ( 50, plus) we spend on keeping marijuana illegal for a paranoid and racially prejudiced public, and for the self -interests of those who are dependent on the marijuana prohibition trade ( law enforcement, growers, trimmers, inane politicos running for District Attorney on the ticket of cracking on illegal marijuana), this silliness should demonstrate the reason all the more to completely decriminalize cannabis and hemp growing.

    The shit does not even need to be regulated because it’s legal use does not hurt anyone.

  • I suspect they’ll be back and are gearing up.

  • I guess since the Feds have the time and resources to practice how to repond to such a vanishingly unlikely event, that must mean that they’ve already got us covered for the thousands of far more likely scenarios…right?

    Unless it was just a convenient way to slip “marijuana” and “terrorist” into the same press release? Naw, that couldn’t be it…our law enforcement agencies wouldn’t play around with something as serious as terrorism, just to score a few PR points in the War on Pot, would they?

    The next thing you know, they’ll be describing non-violent Earth First! activists as “terrorists” and accusing them of making bombs, placing them beneath their own car seats, and blowing themselves up, or something equally as ridiculous. Oh, wait a minute….

  • This is one thing that should not be happening under Obama. It’s really disheartening to see. Is someone else puppeteering him, or is he really two-faced in his view of weed? Crazy shit like this didn’t happen under Bush, did it? It will probably be on Fox news and twisted beyond belief.

  • maybe they will launch an all out war and people can get some decent price supports. where is nancy reagan when she is needed?

  • Please tell me you’re joking.

  • A 10 word short story of a pot growers life:
    Obtained Seeds.
    Cultivated Plants.
    Sold Cannabis.
    Purchased Kryptonite.
    Exploded Dam.

  • It’s important to understand that the tail is not wagging the dog here. In other words, the drill was not conducted in response to a perceived (or actual!) threat of pot growers taking hostages and flooding the valley. Rather, these drills take place all the time at all levels of emergency response. Those of us on the local volunteer fire departments do them regularly. They are important and necessary and the specific scenario is something concocted to provide a framework for the action.

    I just did a blog post about this as well here http://bit.ly/diBAr6 where I speculate a bit about why they picked pot growers. I mostly think it was an easy target by agency personnel still high on reefer madness.

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