The really interesting thing is that it makes the radio in the most infamous pot growing region of America: Humbolt County, California. Now when I say “makes the radio,” I do not mean as your traditional news story, as Aileen Yoo on SFGate reports:
KMUD is a small Humboldt County radio station that offers the usual lineup of music, news and traffic reports. It also gives listeners in California’s infamous pot-growing region something else: real-time broadcasts of marijuana busts in Humboldt and Mendocino counties.
Due to Reagan era programs, the Humbolt / Mendocino area is regularly besieged by a stupendous number of law enforcement officials. It is the area of the U.S. that produces the largest quantities of the illegal greenery at the highest quality in the nation. KMUD states that its broadcasts grew out of public interest in the movements of teams of men and helicopters. One announcer talks about the need to report ten trucks going down a narrow, curve-filled rural road as it is a potential hazard.
A thoroughly non-drug-oriented reason offered by locals in support of the broadcasts is shared in the recent New York Times piece on the subject:
Locals say helicopters fly too low in their search for marijuana, even lower than the heights permitted by CAMP [Campaign Against Marijuana Planting]. In one case, Mr. Denson said, a helicopter frightened a stallion, which then had a heart attack and died. In another, a homeowner complained that a CAMP helicopter swooped onto his property and, without permission, took water from his pond, Mr. Denson said.
This is a fascinating story no matter what your opinion on the highly controversial inhalable intoxicant might be. The good old Free Speech vs. Responsibility debate has been given plenty of fuel thanks to this particular programming choice. That aspect of the story is addressed in a nicely balanced fashion by the Center for Investigative Reporting’s California Report http://here. Check it out; it includes not only interviews with those on both sides of the debate, but also segments of the KMUD reports themselves.
Note: Comments on this post will be sternly moderated. They are not for the purpose of arguing for or against legalization and they are not a place to discuss the politics of the story. Those comments will be summarily deleted.