Friday, May 14, 2010

Colombia's marijuana feeding Europe's habit

These are the mountains of Colombia's southwest Cauca province, far from the reach of the law and just as far from market -- making it difficult, the dirt-poor peasants say, to scrape a living selling legal produce. Around every bend and in every village there's a surprise. Marijuana plantations stretch sometimes for several acres, clinging to steep-sided canyons. Farmhands wielding machetes disappear amid a "forest" of thousands of plants, two or three times taller than a person. They reappear minutes later with a bundle of marijuana over their shoulder and head for rudimentary drying houses made of black plastic slung over wooden branches. In some of these shacks hundreds of pounds of marijuana are hung out to dry.

In other communities, old ladies take advantage of a brief break in the rain to toss marijuana up to dry on the tin roofs of their homes. Others hang the herb in the rafters of the kitchen, where the strangely sweet smell mingles with the aroma of a stew cooking on a smoky fire. In Cauca province at least, there's a new bonanza. This is one of the few regions of Colombia where, according to United Nations' anti-drug officials, the production of marijuana and coca leaves, the raw material for cocaine, is increasing. At the same time, Colombia is once again exporting good quality pot and has become a "major supplier" to Europe, according to the DEA.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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