Portland NORML News - Saturday, April 18, 1998 (ABC - 'Pot of Gold')
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Pot Of Gold (The Complete Text Of The ABC Television Special
Narrated By Peter Jennings, About The 'Role Marijuana Already Plays
In American Life, Especially The Economy')

[Portland NORML notes - A complete, realtime version of this program
can be seen in the online movie library of the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act at
http://www.crrh.org/ - Any software you may need can be downloaded free
there, too.]

Channel 4 'KOMO-ABC' Sat Apr 18 22:00:32 1998

>>> GOOD EVENING.
I'M FORREST SAWYER, AND THIS IS
"ABC NEWS SATURDAY NIGHT."
TONIGHT, AN INFUSION OF DRUGS,
AND IT'S NOT COMING FROM SOUTH
AMERICA OR ASIA.
PETER JENNINGS BRINGS
YOU AN UPDATE ON A STORY
WE FIRST BROADCAST LAST YEAR
ON THE HUGE UPSURGE
OF MARIJUANA, GROWN RIGHT HERE
IN THE USA.
>> Reporter: THIS MAN IS
AN AMERICAN FARMER.
HE IS GROWING MARIJUANA.
IT IS REMARKABLY EASY TO GROW.
JUST PLANT A FEW SEEDS
IN THE SPRING, AND BY FALL
YOU WILL HAVE A BOUNTIFUL
HARVEST.
YOU CAN PLANT MARIJUANA ALMOST
AS EASILY INDOORS, AND HAVE
AN ABUNDANT HARVEST EVERY 6 TO
12 WEEKS.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ARE
A FEW BASICS.
FIRST, THERE ARE MALE AND FEMALE
PLANTS.
THE SUBSTANCE THAT GIVES
MARIJUANA ITS FAMOUS
PSYCHOACTIVE KICK IS
CONCENTRATED IN THE FLOWERS,
OR THE BUDS OF THE FEMALES.
SO WHEN THEY'RE OLD ENOUGH
TO TELL THEM APART, KILL
THE MALES.
TWO, GIVE YOUR PLANTS PLENTY
OF LIGHT AND NOT TOO MUCH WATER.
AND THREE, IF YOU DO ANY OF THIS
AND GET CAUGHT, YOU MAY BE
IN VERY SERIOUS TROUBLE
WITH THE LAW.
GOOD EVENING.
I'M PETER JENNINGS.
MARIJUANA IS THE KING
OF ILLEGAL DRUGS.
90% OF ILLEGAL DRUG USE
IN AMERICA IS MARIJUANA.
THIS PROGRAM IS NOT
ABOUT WHETHER MARIJUANA IS
DANGEROUS, WHETHER IT'S
MEDICINAL OR WHETHER IT SHOULD
BE LEGALIZED.
BUT WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THOSE
THINGS, AS EVERYONE DOES, IT'S
IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT ROLE
MARIJUANA ALREADY PLAYS
IN AMERICAN LIFE, ESPECIALLY
IN THE ECONOMY.
AND THAT'S WHAT THIS PROGRAM IS
ALL ABOUT.
AS A REFERENCE POINT, KEEP
IN MIND THAT AN OUNCE OF GOOD
AMERICAN MARIJUANA IS WORTH
THE SAME OR MORE AS AN OUNCE
OF GOLD.
IT IS PRODUCED IN EVERY STATE,
AND IT ADDS UP TO A HUGE
BUSINESS.
WE WILL NOT SPEND MUCH TIME
ON THE LAW, EXCEPT TO SAY THAT
PUBLIC CONFUSION ABOUT HOW
DANGEROUS MARIJUANA IS, IS
REFLECTED, TO SOME EXTENT,
IN OUR LAWS.
IN SOME STATES, YOU CAN POSSESS
A SMALL AMOUNT AND GET MANY,
MANY YEARS IN PRISON.
IN OTHER STATES, YOU CAN PRODUCE
A LARGE AMOUNT, AND, AS YOU'LL
SEE, IT'S DIFFICULT TO GET
YOURSELF IN JAIL.
WHEN THE SO-CALLED WAR AGAINST
DRUGS BEGAN IN 1969, VIRTUALLY
NONE OF THE MARIJUANA AMERICANS
USED WAS GROWN IN AMERICA.
TODAY, HOWEVER, TALK ALL
YOU LIKE ABOUT CUTTING OFF
THE SUPPLY FROM ELSEWHERE,
TODAY, INCREASINGLY, THE DEMAND
FOR MARIJUANA IS BEING MET
BY THE SUPPLY PRODUCED AT HOME
BY THE PEOPLE YOU'RE
ABOUT TO MEET.
>> Announcer: PETER JENNINGS
REPORTING.
"POT OF GOLD" WILL CONTINUE
ON "ABC NEWS SATURDAY NIGHT."

>> Announcer: "ABC NEWS SATURDAY
NIGHT: POT OF GOLD" CONTINUES.
>> MAGIC PAPER, WALLPAPER.
>> Reporter: SOMEWHERE
IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, A CASH
MACHINE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
THE SUPPLIES ARE SIMPLE
AND CHEAP.
$50 FOR TWO ROLLS OF MYLAR.
>> VERY EFFICIENT, DUDE.
>> Reporter: $150 FOR STAPLES,
SCISSORS AND A FAN.
>> WHAT KIND OF PIZZA DID
YOU EAT TODAY?
>> DARN GOOD PIZZA.
>> Reporter: $20 FOR A LARGE
PIZZA WITH EVERYTHING ON IT.
>> THREE SHEETS ONLY FOR THAT
ONE WALL. THAT'S GOOD.
>> VERY NICE.
>> Reporter: AND $1,500 FOR SIX
SODIUM HALIDE LIGHTS.
TOTAL COST, $1,720.
A MEAGER INVESTMENT
IF YOU CONSIDER THAT EVERY MONTH
AND A HALF THIS ROOM WILL
PRODUCE SIX POUNDS
OF HIGH-GRADE, HOMEGROWN
MARIJUANA, WHICH CAN BE SOLD
FOR $26,400.
AT THE END OF THE YEAR, THIS
ROOM WILL PRODUCE AT LEAST
$200,000 IN TAX-FREE INCOME.
>> I'M IN IT FOR THE MONEY.
THERE'S SOME GOOD MONEY,
AND IT'S OUT THERE.
AND IF I DON'T DO IT, SOMEBODY
ELSE IS GOING TO DO IT,
AND THAT'S HOW I FEEL
ABOUT THAT.
>> Reporter: AND THIS IS JUST
ONE GROW ROOM.
IMAGINE THE WHOLE COUNTRY.
IN THE PAST, THE GOVERNMENT HAS
ESTIMATED THAT IT
ERADICATES 10%, MAYBE 20%
OF THE MARIJUANA PRODUCED
IN THE UNITED STATES.
USING THAT AS A GUIDE, AMERICANS
ARE PRODUCING MARIJUANA WORTH
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN $20 BILLION
AND $40 BILLION EVERY YEAR.
WE ARE TALKING ABOUT WHAT MAY BE
THE LARGEST CASH CROP
IN AMERICA.
WE STARTED IN THE NORTHWEST,
BECAUSE IT IS THE REGIONAL
CAPITAL OF INDOOR MARIJUANA
GROWING.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE WASHINGTON
STATE NARCOTICS OFFICERS
ASSOCIATION IS ROGER LAKE.
>> I SUPERVISE A DRUG TASK FORCE
AND I HAVE SIX DETECTIVES.
WE COULD WORK INDOOR MARIJUANA
GROWS EIGHT HOURS A DAY, EVERY
DAY OF THE YEAR.
>> Reporter: THERE'S THAT MUCH
GROWTH HERE?
>> YES.
>> Reporter: DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH?
DO YOU HAVE SOME ESTIMATE OF HOW
MANY PEOPLE ARE GROWING?
>> I DON'T KNOW.
I JUST KNOW THAT THERE ARE
SO MANY MULTIPLE CONSPIRATORS
IN MARIJUANA GROWS, THAT
WE CAN'T DEAL WITH THEM.
>> I'M GOING TO HIT THIS JUMP
RIGHT HERE.
>> Reporter: BY ROGER LAKE'S
DEFINITION, THESE ARE MARIJUANA
CONSPIRATORS -- A GROUP
OF FRIENDS WHO PLAY BY DAY
AND GROW BY NIGHT.
THEY ARE ALL IN THEIR EARLY
TO MID-20s, SOME ALREADY WITH FAMILIES.
NO ONE GROWS MORE THAN
99 PLANTS, BECAUSE GROWERS KNOW
THAT IF THEY ARE CAUGHT
WITH 100 OR MORE THEY FACE
SEVERE MANDATORY FEDERAL PRISON
SENTENCES.
WE SET OUT TO UNDERSTAND HOW
AND WHY THESE YOUNG
ENTREPRENEURS CAME TOGETHER
TO GROW MARIJUANA.
ACCORDING TO THE LAW, THEY ARE
JOINED IN A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE.
ON A SHOW OF HANDS, HOW MANY
OF ARE YOU IN -- HOW MANY
OF YOU ARE IN IT FOR THE MONEY?
>> I CAN'T SAY I'M NOT,
BECAUSE IT IS PART OF IT.
THE MONEY'S GOOD.
>> Reporter: FROM THE SHADOWS,
SIX OUT OF NINE RAISED
THEIR HANDS.
>> YOU CAN MAKE AS GOOD
OF A LIVING AS YOU CARE TO MAKE.
>> YEAH.
THERE'S GETTING BY,
AND THERE'S HUGE.
>> I PLAN ON MAKING
ABOUT $35,000, $40,000 THIS
MONTH.
>> Reporter: THIS MONTH?
>> THIS MONTH.
>> Reporter: $35,000 OR
$40,000 THIS MONTH.
>> I HAVE ABOUT 9 1/2 POUNDS
THAT ARE GOING TO BE MINE.
YEAH.
>> Reporter: DO ANY OF THE REST
OF YOU MAKE THAT KIND OF MONEY?
>> I DON'T MAKE THAT KIND
OF MONEY.
>> I MAYBE DOUBLE THAT
IN A YEAR.
>> Reporter: SO YOU COULD MAKE
$70,000 A YEAR?
>> $100,000, MINUS COSTS.
>> Reporter: AND THIS ENABLES
YOU TO BE DIFFERENT?
>> ABSOLUTELY.
IT ALLOWS YOU TO STEP AWAY.
IT ALLOWS YOU TO STEP BACK
AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE.
>> Reporter: WE'LL CALL HIM FRANK.
HE CREATED THE GROUP.
HE GREW UP IN ORANGE COUNTY,
CALIFORNIA, IN AN UPPER
MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILY.
>> I ALWAYS SAY MY DAD WAS
GEORGE BUSH'S BROTHER.
YOU KNOW, HE LOOKED LIKE
GEORGE BUSH, HE ACTED LIKE
GEORGE BUSH, HE VOTED
FOR GEORGE BUSH.
AND MY MOM WAS BEAVER CLEAVER'S
MOM.
>> Reporter: EIGHT YEARS AGO,
FRANK LEFT HOME AND MOVED NORTH.
HE WAS HOMELESS AT FIRST,
AND HE BEGAN TO SELL OTHER
GROWERS' MARIJUANA UNTIL HE SAW
THE ADVANTAGES OF GROWING IT
HIMSELF.
>> I CURRENTLY HAVE AN OPERATION
AND I TRY TO KEEP IT
UNDER 100 PLANTS.
EVERY THREE WEEKS, I HARVEST
APPROXIMATELY TWO POUNDS,
IDEALLY.
AND THE WHOLESALE PRICE ON TWO
POUNDS WOULD BE ABOUT $8,000.
AND SO $8,000 EVERY THREE WEEKS
IS CLOSE TO $100,000 A YEAR.
>> Reporter: HOW MUCH TIME DO
YOU SPEND WORRYING
ABOUT THE LAW?
>> THE FIRST TIME THAT I GOT
BUSTED, I HADN'T EVEN GONE
TO MY COURT DATE AND I'D ALREADY
RENTED ANOTHER HOUSE AND HAD SET
UP IN THERE.
BECAUSE WHEN YOU'RE -- WHEN
YOU'RE A BUSTED GROWER, REALLY
YOUR ONLY OPTION IS TO SET UP
ANOTHER OPERATION IN ORDER
TO AFFORD YOUR LEGAL FEES
AND COURT FINES AND EVERYTHING ELSE.
IT IS JUST THE OBVIOUS THING TO DO.
>> Reporter: EVENTUALLY, FRANK
WAS BUSTED A SECOND TIME,
AND HE WAS LOOKING AT 15 YEARS
IN PRISON.
BUT HE HAD A GOOD LAWYER
AND HE ENDED UP SERVING ONLY
26 DAYS IN JAIL, WHICH HE PUT
TO VERY GOOD USE.
>> JAIL WAS A -- VERY
INTERESTING EXPERIENCE FOR ME.
IT WAS IN THAT MEDITATIVE
ENVIRONMENT THAT I CAME UP
WITH THE IDEA THAT I NEEDED MORE
PEOPLE TO HELP ME GROW
THE AMOUNT OF POT THAT I WANTED
TO GROW.
SO I CAME UP WITH THE IDEA
OF CREATING A CO-OP --
AND JUST ENCOURAGING PEOPLE
TO GROW THEMSELVES, INSTEAD
OF HAVING ME TRY AND SUPPLY
EVERYBODY.
>> Reporter: WHEN HE GOT OUT
OF JAIL, FRANK WENT LOOKING
FOR ASSOCIATES.
USING HIS OWN MARIJUANA STOCK,
HE OFFERED FREE CUTTINGS
AND HIS OWN EXPERTISE TO SEVERAL
PEOPLE HE TRUSTED.
ONE PERSON HE INVOLVED, WE'LL
CALL MARY.
>> MY FRIEND INTRODUCED ME
TO FRANK.
HE JUST CAME OVER TO MY HOUSE
ONE NIGHT TO MEET ME AND LOOK
AT MY HOUSE AND SEE IF IT WAS
A DECENT HOUSE FOR THAT KIND
OF OPERATION.
AND HE WAS -- FRANK WAS JUST
REALLY EXCITED THAT A GIRL
WANTED TO DO IT.
AND HE WAS HAPPY TO HELP.
HE WAS LIKE -- HE WAS
SO MUCH HELP.
TAUGHT ME EVERYTHING I KNOW,
PRETTY MUCH.
>> Reporter: MARY, LIKE FRANK,
GREW UP IN CALIFORNIA.
SHE FIRST SMOKED MARIJUANA
WITH HER MOTHER WHEN SHE WAS 15.
IN HER HOUSE, MARIJUANA WAS
A FAMILY VALUE.
>> WHEN WE WERE KIDS, MY PARENTS
WOULD HAVE DINNER PARTIES,
AND THEY'D HAVE FRIENDS OVER.
AND AFTER DINNER, THEY'D ALL SIT
AROUND THE COUCH AND THEY'D
SMOKE LIKE THIS CIGARETTE THAT
SMELT FUNNY.
AND THEY WOULD ALWAYS CALL US
IN TO ENTERTAIN THEM.
AND I REMEMBER, I'D ALWAYS MAKE
THEM LAUGH REALLY HARD.
AND I THOUGHT I WAS REALLY FUNNY
AND COOL.
BUT LATER ON, I FIGURED OUT THAT
THEY WERE HIGH.
>> Reporter: MARY WOULDN'T LET
US PHOTOGRAPH HER GROW ROOM.
INSTEAD, SHE PROVIDED US
WITH THIS TAPE.
>> BASICALLY, THE WAY I FIGURE
OUT HOW MUCH YOU MAKE IS BY HOW
MANY LIGHTS YOU HAVE.
I HAVE FIVE LIGHTS IN THE BUD
ROOM, SO YOU KNOW, I'M EXPECTING
BETWEEN $15,000 AND $20,000 OVER
THE NEXT MONTH AND --
YES, I'M MAKING TOO MUCH MONEY
FOR WHAT I DO, BUT IT'S NOT
WRONG.
IT'S NOT HURTING ANYBODY,
YOU KNOW.
>> Reporter: HOW MANY
OF YOU HAVE PARENTS WHO YOU KNOW
USE MARIJUANA?
90% OF YOU.
YOU, YES, ERIC.
>> WHEN I WAS LITTLE, MY DAD WAS
GROWING MARIJUANA.
AND I DIDN'T REALLY KNOW WHAT
MARIJUANA WAS BACK THEN.
I'D JUST SEE THE PLANTS THAT WAS
DOWNSTAIRS IN THE GARAGE
OR SOMETHING.
>> Reporter: ERIC'S FATHER GREW
MARIJUANA TO SMOKE.
ERIC AND HIS WIFE TRACY BEGAN
GROWING MARIJUANA A YEAR
AND A HALF AGO FOR THE MONEY.
THIS ROOM, WHICH HE STARTED
BUILDING WITH HIS FRIEND JUST
FOUR HOURS AGO, WILL SOON BE
FILLED WITH PLANTS FROM SOME
OF FRANK'S CUTTINGS.
ERIC AND TRACY SAY THAT GROWING
MARIJUANA GIVES THEM TIME
AS WELL AS MONEY.
>> GET UP IN THE MORNING
WITH MY BOY, I HELP MY OTHER BOY
GET OFF TO SCHOOL.
ON MY BOAT, SNOWBOARD, I KIND
OF ENJOY THE DAY, SOME DAYS
I HAVE MY DAYS.
I ALWAYS DO WHAT I WANT EVERY
DAY.
>> OUR KID GOES TO SCHOOL,
AND HE'S IN SWIMMING LESSONS,
AND, YOU KNOW, WE GROCERY SHOP.
AND WE -- YOU KNOW, PEOPLE COME
OVER AND THEY HANG OUT.
>> YOU KNOW, THE REGULAR STUFF
THAT EVERYONE DOES, BUT WE DON'T
GO TO WORK.
LAST YEAR, MY FIRST YEAR, I MADE
$64,000.
AND THEN NOW I FIGURE TO MAKE
A COUPLE HUNDRED THOUSAND
DOLLARS THIS YEAR.
>> Reporter: YOU ARE A REAL
HONEST, HONEST TO GOD MARIJUANA
ENTREPRENEUR.
>> THE MONEY IS GREAT.
THESE ARE MONEY TREES.
I DON'T KNOW WHOEVER SAID MONEY
DIDN'T GROW ON TREES.
THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT TREES
TO LOOK AT.
>> Reporter: IN JUST A FEW SHORT
YEARS, FRANK SAYS HE HAS TAUGHT
50 TO 100 PEOPLE HOW TO GROW,
AND HE'S HELPED THEM GET STARTED
WITH CUTTINGS FROM HIS OWN
PLANTS.
FRANK IS VERY DELIBERATE
IN SUBVERTING THE MARIJUANA
LAWS, WHICH HE BELIEVES TO BE
WRONG.
THE POLICE CONSIDER FRANK
AND OTHER GROWERS CRIMINALS,
BUT IT IS NOT EASY TO CATCH
THEM.
>> WELL, YOU HAVE THE AMPERAGE
HOOKED UP, YOU HAVE THE VENTS
HOOKED UP AND YOU HAD THE LIGHTS
THERE.
>> WHAT LIGHTS, WHAT AMP?
WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
>> YOU HAD HALIDE LIGHTS BACK
THERE.
>> NO, I DIDN'T.
>> OKAY.
YOU ALSO HAD --
>> Reporter: ON THE DAY WE WERE
WITH THEM, THE LOCAL DRUG TASK
FORCE HAD A HARD TIME OF IT.
>> WE TALKED ABOUT IT.
WE TALKED ABOUT IT THEN.
BUT I DON'T SEE ANY EVIDENCE
OF THAT, SO WE'LL BE OUT
OF YOUR WAY.
ALL RIGHT?
THANKS A LOT FOR LETTING US LOOK
AROUND.
>> OKAY.
>> Reporter: ROGER LAKE OFTEN
SAYS THAT THERE IS AT LEAST ONE
GROWER ON EVERY BLOCK IN SOME
PARTS OF WESTERN WASHINGTON.
HE SAYS THAT 90% ARE NEVER
CAUGHT.
STILL, HE GOES AFTER THEM.
FOR ONE THING, SEIZING
THEIR ASSETS KEEPS
HIS DEPARTMENT GOING.
SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE TOLD ME THAT
YOU LIKE TO MAKE MARIJUANA BUSTS
BECAUSE YOU GET GOOD CARS,
AND YOU KEEP DRIVING THOSE CARS
AROUND.
>> THERE'S SOME TRUTH
TO THAT, YES.
IF WE DON'T SEIZE REAL PROPERTY
OR PERSONAL PROPERTY, WE DON'T
HAVE ANY MONEY TO OPERATE.
OUR TASK FORCE IS FUNDED
BY FEDERAL GRANT.
THE FEDERAL GRANT COVERS 75% OF
THE SALARIES FOR THE DETECTIVES.
THE 25% REMAINING
AND OUR DAY-TO-DAY OPERATING
BUDGET COMES FROM ASSET
FORFEITURE.
>> Reporter: WE TALKED
TO A GROUP OF GROWERS, ALL
IN THEIR 20s, WHO GIVE
THE IMPRESSION OF BEING VERY
COHESIVE, VERY CLOSE, VERY
SUPPORTIVE OF ONE ANOTHER, WHO
THINK WHAT THEY HAVE IN COMMON
IS THE PLANT --
FOR WHATEVER REASONS --
AND THEIR RESISTANCE TO YOU.
>> WE'VE WORKED LARGE MARIJUANA
CONSPIRACIES -- UPWARDS
OF 20 PEOPLE INVOLVED.
FIVE DIFFERENT PLACES WHERE
THEY'RE GROWING MARIJUANA
INTO THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS
OF ASSETS, AND THAT WILL BE
CLOSE-KNIT GROUP.
>> Reporter: IS IT FAIR TO SAY
THAT THEY'RE A STEP AHEAD
OF YOU, OR ARE YOU A STEP AHEAD
OF THEM?
>> THEY'RE A STEP AHEAD OF US.
>> Reporter: ALL THE TIME?
>> PROBABLY TWO OR THREE STEPS
AHEAD OF US.
>> THE REASON WE'RE OUT HERE IS
WE GOT SOME INFORMATION.
>> Reporter: APPARENTLY, WHAT
BROUGHT THEM HERE TODAY WAS
A FALSE LEAD.
>> THE FOLKS STAYING HERE MIGHT
BE MANUFACTURING MARIJUANA.
>> EXCUSE ME?
>> Reporter: THE FIRST TIME
YOU GET BUSTED FOR MARIJUANA,
WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU?
>> NORMALLY, WHAT HAPPENS,
FIRST-TIME OFFENDER
FOR A MARIJUANA GROWER -- THIS
ISN'T SOMEBODY THAT'S JUST
SMOKING A JOINT.
THIS IS SOMEONE THAT'S GROWING
MARIJUANA TO DISTRIBUTE, SELL,
AVOID INCOME TAX, AVOID
EVERYTHING, AND SELL TO --
TO USUALLY YOUTH.
THEY'LL GET COMMUNITY SERVICE.
>> Reporter: THE SECOND TIME?
>> SECOND TIME, THEY MIGHT GET
THREE TO SEVEN DAYS.
>> Reporter: THIRD TIME?
>> I DON'T KNOW.
IT'S JUST NOT ENOUGH.
>> Reporter: I THINK YOU'RE
TELLING ME, MR. LAKE, THAT
IF I WANTED TO GROW MARIJUANA,
I COULD MOVE TO YOUR
NEIGHBORHOOD AND OPERATE PRETTY
MUCH WITH IMPUNITY.
>> YES.
>> Reporter: AND MAKE A LOT
OF MONEY IN THE PROCESS.
>> YES >> Reporter: AND YOU'D
NEVER REALLY BOTHER ME.
>> I'D TRY TO.
BUT NO, THE REALITY IS, NO,
WE PROBABLY WOULDN'T CATCH YOU,
BUT YOU WOULD BE LIVING
A MISERABLE EXISTENCE.
[ PLAYING BEN HARPER'S
"BURN ONE DOWN" ]
>> THAT'S THE BEST ONE WE HAVE
EVER BEEN ABLE TO COME UP WITH.
 MY CHOICE IS WHAT
I CHOOSE TO DO 
>> Reporter: FRANK SAYS HIS LIFE
IS ANYTHING BUT MISERABLE.
 IF I'M CAUSING NO HARM
IT SHOULDN'T BOTHER YOU 
>> Reporter: THIS IS A TRIM
PARTY.
TODAY, FRANK HAS INVITED MEMBERS
OF HIS GROUP TO HELP HIM HARVEST
AN $8,000 CROP.
>> IT'S JUST PRETTY SIMPLE.
YOU JUST CUT THE PLANTS DOWN,
TRIM THE PLANTS UP, HANG THEM UP
TO DRY, BAG THEM UP AND SELL IT.
I SELL IT TO MY GOOD FRIENDS.
THEY SELL IT TO THEIR GOOD
FRIENDS, THEY SELL IT
TO THEIR GOOD FRIENDS,
AND THAT'S THE END OF IT.
>> Reporter: HOW DO YOU THINK
YOU'RE GOING TO BE, DAVE, WHEN
YOU'RE 50?
>> I'M GOING TO BE GROWING POT
WITH MY KIDS, AND WHO KNOWS
WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN?
>> Reporter: ARE ANY
OF YOU AT ALL CONCERNED ABOUT,
EMBARRASSED ABOUT THAT YOU LIVE
OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM
BECAUSE YOU DO INDULGE
IN SOMETHING WHICH IS CRIMINAL?
>> I'VE GOTTEN ALONG
WITH SO MANY GRANDPARENTS
AND PEOPLE WHO JUST THINK I'M
A GREAT PERSON, BUT THE ONE WORD
OF ME SAYING, "I GROW
MARIJUANA," I'D BE A CRIMINAL.
>> Reporter: I MEAN, HERE YOU'RE
ALL GROWERS.
IT ENABLES YOU TO ALL LIVE LIVES
IN WHICH YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORK
AT REAL JOBS LIKE MILLIONS
OF OTHER AMERICANS.
>> I WORK A JOB.
>> Reporter: AND I WONDER
IF YOU EVER THINK ABOUT LIFE
IN ANY OTHER DIFFERENT -- IN ANY
OTHER WAY?
>> SHOW ME THE HARM.
SHOW ME THE HARM.
>> WHAT MAKES IT ILLEGAL?
>> WHY AM I A DANGER TO SOCIETY?
THAT'S THE JOKE.
>> Reporter: AND AS LONG
AS THE MONEY'S SO GOOD
AND THE RISK SO SMALL, GROWING
MARIJUANA WILL CONTINUE
TO ATTRACT MORE AN MORE PEOPLE,
AS WE'LL SEE IN A MOMENT.
>> Announcer: PETER JENNINGS
REPORTING.
"POT OF GOLD" WILL CONTINUE
ON "ABC NEWS SATURDAY NIGHT."

>> Announcer: "ABC NEWS SATURDAY
NIGHT: POT OF GOLD" CONTINUES.
>> Reporter: THE TRUTH
ABOUT MARIJUANA IS THAT
YOU NEVER KNOW WHO'S GROWING IT.
>> YOU'RE LISTENING TO "THE
RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW" --
>> Reporter: HERE'S A COUPLE
THAT LIVES IN THE MIDWEST.
THEY LIVE IN A WELL-ORDERED
SUBURB IN A MEDIUM-SIZE TOWN,
AND THEY DESCRIBE THEMSELVES
AS RUSH LIMBAUGH REPUBLICANS.
>> I GOT A STORY OUT THERE.
RESEARCHERS SAY THAT MARIJUANA
HAS GREAT USES IN MEDICAL
APPLICATIONS.
I'M SURPRISED WE HAVEN'T HEARD
FROM MY POTHEADS.
HAVE YOU HEARD FROM ANY
POTHEADS?
>> Reporter: BOB AND WENDY,
AS WE'LL CALL THEM, SAY
THEY DON'T LIKE POTHEADS.
AND THEY ARE NOT MARIJUANA
SMOKERS.
BUT THEY DO HAVE A SECRET.
THEY ARE GROWING MARIJUANA
IN THEIR BASEMENT.
IF YOUR NEIGHBORS KNEW YOU WERE
GROWING MARIJUANA, WOULD THEY BE
SURPRISED?
>> ABSOLUTELY.
>> THEY'D BE SHOCKED.
>> Reporter: ON THE OTHER HAND,
HOW DO YOU KNOW THEY'RE NOT?
>> WE DON'T.
>> Reporter: IS IT FAIR TO SAY
THAT YOU MIGHT NOT FIT WHAT SOME
PEOPLE REGARD AS THE POPULAR
NOTION OF THE MARIJUANA GROWER?
>> I DON'T THINK I FIT, NO.
>> WE'RE YOUR NEIGHBORS,
YOU KNOW, WE'RE KIND OF MAIN
STREET USA, APPLE PIE, MOM
AND POP.
WE'RE MOWING OUR LAWN.
LOAN YOU OUR RAKE OR SHOVEL.
>> WE PAY TAXES.
WE GO TO CHURCH.
WE HAVE JOBS.
WE, YOU KNOW, WE LIKE NICE
THINGS.
WE'RE NOT HIPPIES.
>> SEE HOW THE ROOTS HIT
THE BOTTOM AND THEY ARE STARTING
TO GROW UP THE SIDE TO THE TOP.
THAT'S WAY, WAY OVERDUE.
>> Reporter: BOB AND WENDY ARE
GROWING MARIJUANA FOR THE MONEY.
BUT AFTER TWO YEARS, THEY HAVE
YET TO COVER THEIR EXPENSES.
SO NOW, THEY ARE TRYING
TO IMPROVE THEIR CROP.
>> HELLO.
THE OBJECT OF THIS TAPE IS
TO DEMONSTRATE IN EASY-TO-FOLLOW
VIDEO FORM --
>> Reporter: MARIJUANA IS
BECOMING MORE AND MORE IMPORTANT
TO BOB BECAUSE HE THINKS
HIS REGULAR JOB IS IN JEOPARDY.
>> THE COMPANY I WORK FOR IS
LOOKING AT A MAJOR DOWNSIZING,
AND IT'S VERY POSSIBLE I COULD
BE CAUGHT UP IN THIS.
IF THIS CAN SUSTAIN US BETWEEN
JOBS OR UNTIL I FIND SUITABLE
EMPLOYMENT OR STOP A FORECLOSURE
ON A HOUSE, THIS COULD BE
AN ABSOLUTE GODSEND
IN OUR LIVES.
>> THIS ROOM PRODUCES ABOUT FOUR
POUNDS EVERY TWO WEEKS.
>> Reporter: AM I OVERSTATING IT
WHEN I SAY THAT YOU'RE AFRAID
OF YOUR ECONOMIC FUTURE AND THAT
MARIJUANA IS THE ANSWER FOR YOU?
>> WE HOPE THAT IT WILL BE.
IT HASN'T BEEN YET, BUT WE THINK
IT WILL BE.
>> Reporter: WELL, HOW
ABOUT THE NOTION THAT YOU ARE
LEADING A CRIMINAL LIFE?
>> I DON'T LIKE THAT.
WE'RE NOT CRIMINALS.
>> Reporter: YOU ARE CRIMINALS.
>> I CAN'T SAY THAT WE'VE EVER
SAT DOWN TOGETHER AND SAID,
"LET'S DISCUSS -- GEE, YOU KNOW,
DO YOU REALIZE WE'RE LIVING
OUTSIDE OF THE LAW OR THAT WE'RE
CRIMINALS?"
I'VE NEVER VIEWED IT AS THAT,
AND MAYBE BECAUSE I'M CAUGHT UP
IN THE GROWING AND THE ASPECT
OR THE PROSPECT OF GROWING,
SOMETHING THAT I CAN MAKE
MONEY WITH.
>> MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE GROW
MARIJUANA.
THE REASON IS ALWAYS THE SAME,
THAT IT'S LUCRATIVE.
>> Reporter: JEFF STEWART USED
TO GROW MARIJUANA, AND HE KNOWS
THERE CAN BE CONSEQUENCES.
IN 1990, STEWART WAS ARRESTED
FOR GROWING, AND BECAUSE HE WAS
TRIED AND CONVICTED IN FEDERAL
COURT, HE SERVED FOUR YEARS
AND FOUR MONTHS.
UNTIL RECENTLY, HE WORKED
FOR A LOBBY GROUP IN WASHINGTON
DEDICATED TO SENTENCING REFORM.
STEWART UNDERSTANDS WHY BOB
AND WENDY ARE DOING WHAT THEY'RE
DOING.
>> SUDDENLY, HERE'S THIS STREAM
OF INCOME.
AND MOST PEOPLE CONFRONTED
WITH A STREAM OF INCOME ARE
GOING TO THINK TWICE
ABOUT WALKING AWAY FROM IT.
MOST OF THE PEOPLE THAT
I ENCOUNTERED IN THE FEDERAL
PRISON SYSTEM WERE MARIJUANA
GROWERS THAT HAD GROWN AND GROWN
AND GROWN UNTIL THEY HAD BEEN
APPREHENDED.
BUT THEY ARE PROBABLY A MINORITY
AMONG MARIJUANA GROWERS.
THE OTHERS ARE STILL GROWING
AND HAVEN'T BEEN APPREHENDED.
>> Reporter: IN THE FALL
OF 1996, BOB AND WENDY DECIDED
THEY WOULD RISK SOME
OF THEIR MODEST SAVINGS
IN SEARCH OF BETTER MARIJUANA
SEEDS, SO THEY INVESTED
IN A TRIP TO HOLLAND.
EVERY YEAR, THE AMERICAN
MAGAZINE, "HIGH TIMES,"
A JOURNAL DEDICATED
TO THE APPRECIATION
OF MARIJUANA, HOLDS A MARIJUANA
TRADE FAIR HERE.
THEY CALL IT THE CANNABIS CUP.
>> SAY, "I LOVE THE CANNABIS
CUP."
>> CANNABIS CUP.
>> WHITE RHINO.
>> WHITE RHINO.
>> Reporter: WHAT WAS IT LIKE?
WHAT WAS THE TRIP LIKE, WENDY?
>> UMM -- IT WAS A BUNCH
OF HIPPIES.
I'VE NEVER BEEN AROUND THAT MANY
PEOPLE LIKE THAT BEFORE.
WE JUST KIND OF STAYED
TO OURSELVES AND LOOKED
AROUND AND --
>> I -- I THINK WE STUCK OUT
THERE.
>> YEAH.
YEAH.
WE WERE KIND OF --
>> FROM ANOTHER PLANET, I THINK.
>> Reporter: IN FACT, BOB
AND WENDY DIDN'T STAND OUT THAT
MUCH AT ALL.
THERE WERE MANY OTHERS HERE LIKE
THEM FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD,
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE
ABOUT MARIJUANA.
THEY COME TO THE NETHERLANDS
BECAUSE AUTHORITIES HERE
TOLERATE MARIJUANA, AND IT'S
A $4 BILLION-A-YEAR INDUSTRY.
WE TALKED TO A BUTCH SEED
SELLER, DANIEL KOENE, WHO TOLD
US THE SEED BUSINESS IS BOOMING.
>> IT'S BETTER THAN SELLING
DIAMONDS.
IT'S BETTER THAN SELLING
COCAINE.
IT'S BETTER THAN SELLING
WHATEVER.
THE PROFIT MARGIN IS SO NICE.
YOU CAN MAKE IT YOURSELF,
AND JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE IT
AND YOU'RE THE ONLY PLACE TO GET
IT, THEY COME TO GET IT.
[ APPLAUSE ]
>> Reporter: PEOPLE COME HERE
TO LEARN WHAT THEY CAN
FROM THE DUTCH MASTERS
ABOUT IMPROVING THEIR
TECHNIQUES.
>> I TELL PEOPLE HOW THEY CAN
GET A GOOD YIELD ON ONLY FOUR
PLANTS.
>> Reporter: THIS MAN, WHO GOES
BY THE NAME WERNARD, IS
RESPECTED AS ONE OF AMSTERDAM'S
BEST.
HE IS ONE OF THE PEOPLE
RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING AMSTERDAM
THE MARIJUANA MECCA IT IS TODAY.
WE VISITED WERNARD'S MARIJUANA
BUSINESS, AND IT WAS IMPRESSIVE.
IT WAS A COMBINATION SEED STORE,
A MARIJUANA SCHOOL -- THIS IS
ONE OF THE CLASSES --
A MARIJUANA NURSERY AND A COFFEE
HOUSE, WHERE YOU CAN SAMPLE
DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF MARIJUANA
FROM WERNARD'S BATTERY-POWERED
PIPE.
IF YOU LIKED WHAT YOU INHALED,
THE SEEDS WERE FOR SALE OUT
FRONT.
>> OKAY.
I'LL TAKE FOUR PACKS OF HAZE.
>> Reporter: WHILE WE WERE
THERE, BOB AND WENDY
FROM THE MIDWEST WALKED
IN THE FRONT DOOR, SHOPPING
FOR SEEDS.
>> SO THIS IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE
BIG BUDS?
>> YEAH.
>> SOMEBODY HERE LAST NIGHT SAID
THAT EVERYTHING THAT GROWS
OUTDOOR WILL GROW FINE
INDOOR, TOO.
AND I UNDERSTAND IT'S JUST
THE OPPOSITE.
IT'S OUTDOOR VARIETIES HAVE
TO BE OUTDOORS.
>> Reporter: YOU MET WERNARD?
>> VERY BRIEFLY, YES.
ARE YOU WERNARD?
>> YES.
>> VERY NICE TO MEET YOU.
I READ YOUR ARTICLES.
VERY GOOD.
VERY GOOD.
I CAME 4,000 MILES TO LEARN
EVERYTHING I COULD, SO --
>> OH, YEAH?
>> YEAH.
>> I WANTED TO GET AS MUCH
GROWING INFORMATION FROM HIM
AS I COULD, AND HE WAS VERY
QUICK TO INSIST WE INDULGE,
OR SAMPLE SOME OF HIS FINEST.
>> WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS -- IT
BURNED MY EYES.
>> DON'T WORRY.
>> WE'RE NOT SMOKERS.
>> I DIDN'T GET BUT THREE MORE
QUESTIONS IN BEFORE I HAD TO GO
SIT DOWN AND EVENTUALLY GO LAY
DOWN.
>> Reporter: BEFORE THEY LEFT,
BOB AND WENDY BOUGHT TWO
VARIETIES OF SEEDS FROM WERNARD.
AS IT TURNS OUT, IF BOB
AND WENDY HAD KNOWN, THEY DIDN'T
HAVE TO COME ALL THIS WAY.
SEVERAL OVERSEAS COMPANIES HAVE
SITES ON THE INTERNET NOW
AND WILL SEND SEEDS DIRECTLY
THROUGH THE MAIL TO THE U.S.
BECAUSE RECEIVING SEEDS
OR MARIJUANA IN THE MAIL IS
ILLEGAL, THE COMPANIES PROMISE
CONFIDENTIALITY.
BUT WE OBTAINED THIS LIST
FROM ONE OF THEM, SHOWING WHERE
THEIR ORDERS WERE SENT.
IN A FOUR-MONTH PERIOD IN 1995,
5,1978 SEEDS WERE SENT
TO 201 AMERICAN TOWNS AND CITIES
IN 40 STATES.
MEANWHILE, BOB AND WENDY WERE
SMUGGLING THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY.
DURING THEIR WEEK-LONG STAY
IN AMSTERDAM, THEY BOUGHT
60 SEEDS FOR $235.
WERE YOU SCARED?
>> VERY.
VERY.
>> Reporter: WHEN THEY RETURNED
TO THE UNITED STATES, BOB
AND WENDY HAD A SCARE --
A 90-MINUTE STRIP SEARCH
AT CUSTOMS.
THEY WERE BADLY SHAKEN,
BUT CUSTOMS OFFICERS FAILED
TO FIND THEIR SEEDS.
JEFF STEWART REMEMBERS IT'S NOT
A LIFE HE WOULD LIKE
TO LIVE AGAIN.
>> THERE'S A LOT OF PARANOIA,
A LOT OF STRESS, A LOT
OF PRESSURE.
PEOPLE ARE LURED INTO IT
BECAUSE THEY THINK IT'S QUICK
AND IT'S EASY MONEY, AND IT
MAY BE, BUT A LOT COMES
WITH THAT.
IT'S JUST SOMEHOW LIKE A LAW
OF PHYSICS.
YOU DON'T GET A LOT OF MONEY
WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES.
EVEN IF YOU WIN THE LOTTERY.
>> Reporter: HAS BECOMING
GROWERS ISOLATED YOU
A LITTLE BIT?
>> A LITTLE BIT.
AT TIMES IT CAN DICTATE,
YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU CAN TURN
A LIGHT ON AND WHEN YOU CAN'T.
THERE'S A BIG RISK,
AND WE KNOW THAT.
BUT WE'RE -- YOU KNOW, WE DON'T
REALLY HAVE A LOT OF COMPANY.
>> Reporter: AND THEY SPEND
A LOT OF TIME IN THEIR BASEMENT,
CARING FOR THEIR NEW PLANTS.
THEIR CROP WAS SMALLER THAN
THEY HAD HOPED.
MANY OF THE SEEDS FROM WERNARD
HAD FAILED TO SPROUT.
STILL, BOB AND WENDY WERE
PLUNGING AHEAD, AND THEY WERE
STILL HOPEFUL.
SO IF -- IF ALL WENT EXTREMELY
WELL, YOUR TRIP TO AMSTERDAM
WOULD RESULT IN YOU HAVING
$60,000 TAX-FREE YOU NEVER HAD
BEFORE?
>> POSSIBLY, YES.
YES.
THERE'S NO GUARANTEE OF NOTHING.
>> IT'S A BIG CRAP SHOOT.
>> Reporter: IT'S A LOT
OF MONEY.
>> YES, IT IS.
>> YES.
>> WE REFER TO THEM AS THE MONEY
TREES.
IT'S AN ENDEARING -- A TERM
OF ENDEARMENT.
YES.
THAT'S WHAT WE CALL THEM,
THE MONEY TREES.
AND WE'RE HOPING THAT AS THESE
GROW, THERE'LL BE $100 BILLS
STUCK ALL OVER THESE.
AND THAT SOMEHOW MAYBE WE CAN
BUILD A BRIGHTER FUTURE OUT
OF THIS.
>> Announcer: PETER JENNINGS
REPORTING.
"POT OF GOLD" WILL CONTINUE
AFTER THIS FROM OUR
ABC STATIONS.
MOTHER'S COURAGEOUS EFFORTS TO 
SAVE HER CHILDREN FROM A FIRE 
THAT BECAME FATAL FOR ONE.
 GOOD EVENING.
 I'M ERIC SLOCUM
 ALSO AT ELEVEN.
 THIS TIME OF YEAR, THE WATERS 
ARE PARTICULARLY ALIVE HERE IN 
THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST.
 THE MARINE LIFE MAY NOT 
SURPRISE YOU.. BUT IT MIGHT 
SEND YOU 'OUT FOR A LOOK.'
 A PROMINENT LOCAL BUSINESSMAN 
AND HIS TOP LT.
AND THE STORY OF THEIR 
COMMUNITY SERVICE AS PART OF A 
>> Announcer: "ABC NEWS SATURDAY
NIGHT: POT OF GOLD" CONTINUES.
>> Reporter: WE ARE
OVER SOUTHERN GEORGIA
WITH A STATE-SPONSORED DRUG TASK
FORCE.
WE CAME DOWN HERE JUST WHEN
THE 1996 OUTDOOR MARIJUANA CROP
WAS READY TO WITH HARVESTED.
>> YOU SEE IT RIGHT THERE, BILL?
>> Reporter: IT DIDN'T SURPRISE
US WHEN THE PILOT SPOTTED
SOMETHING AND STARTED TO CIRCLE
BACK.
BUT WHEN WE LANDED, WHAT
SURPRISED US WAS HOW MUCH
MARIJUANA IS CHANGING RURAL FARM
COMMUNITIES.
WHEN PLANTED OUTDOORS, MARIJUANA
CAN GROW 10 OR 12 FEET HIGH.
THE PLANTS HERE WERE NEAR
MATURITY.
THEY WERE TIED DOWN
TO THE GROUND TO PREVENT THEM
FROM BEING TOO EASILY SEEN.
>> 151.
>> Reporter: THERE WERE SEVERAL
HUNDRED PLANTS HERE, AND THIS
SEEMED LIKE IT WAS A BIG DAY
FOR THE LOCAL POLICE.
THAT'S THE COUNTY SHERIFF,
BUCKY HAYES, ON THE LEFT,
AND THE LOCAL TOWN'S POLICE
CHIEF, JIMMY CARTER, POSING
WITH A MARIJUANA PLANT
FOR A SOUVENIR PHOTOGRAPH.
IT LOOKED TO US LIKE A VERY
STRONG CASE -- A WORKING
IRRIGATION LINE RAN
FROM THE MARIJUANA
TO A FARMHOUSE SPIGOT.
SOMEBODY, WE THOUGHT, WAS
CLEARLY IN TROUBLE.
BUT THERE WAS SOMETHING
ABOUT THE ARREST.
>> HELLO, BUCKY.
>> Reporter: IT ALL SEEMED MORE
LIKE A REUNION OF OLD FRIENDS
THAN A BIG DRUG BUST.
CERTAINLY THE FARMER,
TEDDY BOATRIGHT, NEVER SEEMED
TO ACT AS IF HE WERE IN REAL
TROUBLE.
>> ANYTHING IN HERE?
>> CIGARETTE LIGHTER.
I MIGHT NEED IT LATER ON.
>> Reporter: AFTER BOATRIGHT WAS
RELEASED ON BOND, HE TALKED
PRETTY CANDIDLY TO US
ABOUT THE ROLE THAT MARIJUANA
PLAYS IN FARM LIFE HERE.
>> IT'S BEEN HERE SINCE
THE EARLY '70s.
I THINK BACK THEN IT WAS MOSTLY
JUST YOU HAD THOSE FEW GUYS THAT
SMOKED IT.
AND NOWADAYS, IT'S GOTTEN
TO WHERE IT'S A SUPPLEMENT
FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE'S INCOME.
AND I KNOW A LOT OF
YOUR BUSINESSES IN TOWN DON'T
MIND TAKING THE MONEY.
>> Reporter: ALL THE PEOPLE
IN THIS STORY LIVE IN BACON
COUNTY, GEORGIA.
THE COUNTY SEAT IS ALMA,
ABOUT 10,000 PEOPLE.
WE LEARNED PRETTY QUICKLY THAT
A LOT OF PEOPLE IN BACON COUNTY
WERE GROWING AT LEAST SOME
MARIJUANA -- NOT TO GET RICH,
JUST TO GET BY.
>> ALMOST EVERY FARMER AROUND
HERE IS STRUGGLING TRYING
TO MAKE ENDS MEET.
AND BASICALLY, IT'S
BECAUSE OF THE HIGH PRICE
OF EQUIPMENT AND OPERATING
EXPENSE.
>> WELL, WE COULD, WE COULD JUST
QUIT, AND THEN --
>> WE'RE --
>> I RECKON JUST DRAW WELFARE.
>> Reporter: TEDDY LIVES
ON THE FARM WITH HIS PARENTS,
TUCK AND MARGIE.
>> WE COULD -- WE COULD APPLY
FOR WELFARE, REALLY.
BECAUSE WE MAKE LESS THAN
$10,000 A YEAR.
WE COULD GET A WELFARE CHECK.
BUT I GOT A LITTLE TOO MUCH
PRIDE FOR THAT.
>> Reporter: LUTHER TAYLOR USED
TO BE AN ALMA POLICEMAN.
A FEW YEARS AGO, MR. TAYR
FOUND OUT THAT HIS OWN SON HAD
PLANTED SOME MARIJUANA.
DID YOU CALL THE SHERIFF?
>> MY WIFE, ME AND MY WIFE DID,
YES, SIR.
>> Reporter: WHY'D YOU DO THAT?
>> I DIDN'T BELIEVE IN IT
AT THAT TIME.
I DIDN'T THINK IT WAS RIGHT
FOR THE FARMERS TO GROW
THE STUFF.
BUT THE WAY THE ECONOMY IS RIGHT
NOW, I WOULDN'T TURN A MAN
IN IF I WALKED BY HIS FIELD
AND SEE IT.
>> Reporter: NOW, YOU'RE HAVING
FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES
AT THE MOMENT, ARE YOU?
>> YES.
>> Reporter: REASON ENOUGH
TO GROW MARIJUANA?
>> YES, SIR.
>> Reporter: SO YOU WOULD
NOW GROW?
>> YES, SIR, I WOULD.
>> Reporter: IT'S ILLEGAL.
>> I KNOW THAT.
>> Reporter: YOU USED TO BE
A POLICEMAN.
>> I KNOW THAT.
LIKE I SAY, TWO OR THREE YEARS
AGO, I WOULDN'T.
I DIDN'T FEEL I WOULD.
BUT NOW I DO.
I HONESTLY DO.
>> Reporter: A FEW YEARS AGO,
GORDON TAYLOR WAS IN A TIGHT
SPOT, AND SO HE GREW SOME
MARIJUANA.
HE POINTED OUT TO US THAT
MARIJUANA WAS THE MOST
PROFITABLE CROP HE COULD PLANT.
TELL ME THE VALUE OF MARIJUANA
AS A CROP.
>> AS A CROP -- DOLLARS
AND CENTS FOR A PLANT --
YOU COULD GENERATE ONE POUND
OF MARIJUANA OFF OF A PLANT.
AND YOU COULD SELL THAT TODAY
ANYWHERE FOR $2,500.
>> Reporter: HOW DOES THAT CARE
TO CORN?
>> OH, IT'S A BLOW-AWAY.
IT WOULD TAKE YOU SEVERAL ACRES,
YOU WOULD -- YOUR PROFIT OFF
OF CORN RIGHT NOW MIGHT BE
$50 AN ACRE.
THAT ONE PLANT OF MARIJUANA
TURNED YOU $2,500 WITH
A $10 INPUT.
THAT'S THE ONLY COMMODITY THAT
A FARMER'S GOT IN SOUTH GEORGIA
THAT HE PUTS THE PRICE ON.
THERE'S NO PROBLEM PUTTING
OUR PRICE ON MARIJUANA.
[ THUNDER RUMBLING ]
>> Reporter: THAT'S THUNDER
WE'RE HEARING, OF COURSE, BUT IT
SEEMS TO PRETTY MUCH REFLECT
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
THE MARIJUANA PRICE AND THE CORN
PRICE.
>> THERE'S A LOT OF DIFFERENCE.
THERE'S A LOT OF DIFFERENCE.
[ THUNDER RUMBLING ]
>> Reporter: BUT GORDON, THERE'S
ONE BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CORN
AND MARIJUANA.
ONE'S LEGAL, ONE ISN'T.
>> THAT'S CORRECT.
>> Reporter: SO?
>> I DON'T WORRY ABOUT
THE ILLEGAL PART.
YOU KNOW, ILLEGAL PART, THERE'S
CERTAIN CHANCES EVERY FELLOW
TAKES IN LIFE.
AND YOU JUST GOT TO DECIDE WHAT
CHANCES YOU'LL TAKE.
>> Reporter: NOT LONG AGO, THERE
WAS A MAN WHO TOOK BACON
COUNTY'S MARIJUANA FARMERS
HEAD-ON.
FROM 1987 TO 1993, CHIEF DEPUTY
SHERIFF LARRY TANNER WENT
ON AN ANTI-MARIJUANA CRUSADE.
HIS OWN VIDEOTAPES DOCUMENT HOW
WELL HE DID.
>> WE DIDN'T PLANT THIS DOPE.
SOMEBODY ELSE PLANTED IT.
SEND THIS GUY TO JAIL.
THANK YOU.
>> Reporter: TANNER EMPLOYED ALL
THE TECHNIQUES OF BIG CITY
DRUG COPS.
PEOPLE WERE ENTICED WITH REWARD
MONEY TO INFORM ON THEIR FRIENDS
AND RELATIVES.
HE EXPLOITED SEIZURE LAWS.
ANYTHING USED BY A FARMER
TO HARVEST OR TRANSPORT
MARIJUANA, LIKE A BARN OR A CAR,
HE CONFISCATED.
WHEN THE WORD WENT OUT THAT
BACON COUNTY WAS A DANGEROUS
PLACE TO BUY MARIJUANA, TANNER
TOOK DOWN ALL THE SIGNS THAT
MARK THE COUNTY LINE,
AND DEALERS GOT BUSTED WHEN
THEY DIDN'T KNOW WHERE
THEY WERE.
THE RESULT OF ALL THESE ASSET
SEIZURES WAS A MUCH MORE MODERN
SHERIFF'S OFFICE.
>> FIVE YEARS AFTER I STARTED
AT THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT,
WE HAD ALL BRAND-NEW CARS.
WE HAD FOUR-WHEELERS, WE HAD
A COMPUTER, WE HAD BOUGHT COPY
MACHINES, FAX MACHINES.
NONE OF THIS STUFF WAS AVAILABLE
IN OUR DEPARTMENT WHEN
I STARTED.
>> Reporter: ALL THIS
FROM THE MONEY FROM SEIZED
ASSETS OF PEOPLE WHO WERE
IN THE MARIJUANA BUSINESS.
AND THEN THERE BEGAN A CAMPAIGN
AGAINST YOU.
>> YEAH.
THAT'S WHAT I -- WHEN
I QUALIFIED TO RUN FOR SHERIFF
IN -- THESE DEALERS THAT I WAS
PUTTING A HURT ON THEM,
THE MONEY PEOPLE, DECIDED THAT
THEY DIDN'T NEED ME IN THAT
OFFICE, AND THEY ORCHESTRATED
A PLAN TO GET RID OF ME.
>> I MAY BE WRONG ABOUT THE GUY,
BUT I DON'T LIKE HIM.
I NEVER HAVE LIKED HIM.
>> Reporter: JERALD ANDERSON WAS
ONE OF THOSE FARMERS GROWING
MARIJUANA WHO WANTED TO GET RID
OF LARR TANNER.
HE PAINTED A MESSAGE FOR TANNER
AND HIS CHIEF INVESTIGATOR
DONALD ON THE ROOF OF HIS BARN.
"SUCK THIS, LARRY AND DONALD,"
IT READS.
UNFORTUNATELY FOR ANDERSON, WHEN
A DRUG TASK FORCE PILOT READ IT
FROM THE AIR, HE ALSO NOTICED
A FEW HUNDRED OF ANDERSON'S
MARIJUANA PLANTS GROWING NEARBY.
PRETTY OVERT GESTURE
FOR A MARIJUANA GROWER, RIGHT?
>> STUPID, AS FAR AS I'M
CONCERNED.
I MEAN, YOU KNOW, YOU DON'T DRAW
ATTENTION TO YOURSELF
IF YOU DRAW -- IF YOU'RE GROWING
MARIJUANA RIGHT NEXT TO IT,
YOU KNOW?
>> Reporter: BUT ANDERSON WAS
JUST FINED AND PUT ON PROBATION.
HE AND OTHER FARMERS WOULD HAVE
THE LAST LAUGH IN BACON COUNTY.
WHEN LARRY TANNER ANNOUNCED
HIS INTENTION TO RUN
FOR SHERIFF, THEY MET
TO ORGANIZE AGAINST HIM.
>> YEAH, THERE WAS A COUPLE
MEETINGS LIKE THAT I WENT TO.
I'D RATHER NOT SAY WHERE.
AND THERE WAS PRETTY GOOD
CROWDS --
TALKED ABOUT WHO THEY WANT
TO SUPPORT FOR SHERIFF.
AND THERE WERE PROBABLY
45 PEOPLE THERE.
AND THAT'S WHEN THEY GOT SERIOUS
ABOUT MR. BUCKY, GETTING BEHIND
MR. BUCKY.
>> Reporter: MR. BUCKY IS
BUCKY HAYES, AND HE HAD TWO
THINGS GOING FOR HIM
WITH THE FARMERS WHO GREW
MARIJUANA.
FOR ONE THING, HE WAS A FARMER.
FOR ANOTHER, HIS LITTLE BROTHER,
TIMER HAYES, WAS A KNOWN
MARIJUANA GROWER.
A LOT OF PEOPLE HERE THINK THAT
WHEN THEY WERE VOTING FOR BUCKY
HAYES FOR SHERIFF THEY WERE
VOTING FOR A MAN WHO WAS GOING
TO GO EASIER ON MARIJUANA
GROWERS THAN THE FORMER DEPUTY
SHERIFF, LARRY TANNER, DID, WHO
YOU'RE RUNNING AGAINST.
WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT THAT?
>> OH, WELL, I SAY, I MADE
NO PROMISES TO ANYBODY THAT
I WOULD BE EASIER ON ANYTHING,
MARIJUANA OR WHATEVER.
>> Reporter: DID YOU THINK
AT THE TIME THAT TANNER WAS TOO
HARD ON THE GROWERS?
>> THAT'S ONE ARE THERE THAT I'M
GOING TO HAVE.
BECAUSE I --
>> Reporter: AND WHY WOULD
YOU WANT TO SKIP IT?
>> I JUST AM.
>> Reporter: IT MAY BE THAT
SHERIFF HAYES DOESN'T THINK
HE CAN ANSWER THAT QUESTION
FAIRLY BECAUSE ONE OF THE PEOPLE
WHO GOT BUSTED WAS HAYES' OWN
BROTHER, TIMER.
THEY FOUND 1,700 PLANTS
ON HIS PROPERTY AND
IN HIS HOUSE, JUST TWO WEEKS
BEFORE THE ELECTION.
>> Reporter: DID YOU KNOW TIMER
WAS GROWING?
>> NOT FOR SURE.
I NEVER SEEN IT.
>> Reporter: HE LIVED JUST DOWN
THE ROAD?
>> YES, SIR.
HE LIVED APPROXIMATELY TWO MILES
FROM ME.
>> Reporter: HE HAD
1,700 PLANTS?
>> YES, SIR.
>> Reporter: AND YOU NEVER KNEW
THEY WERE THERE?
>> NO, SIR.
>> Reporter: LARRY TANNER POSED
FOR THE ALMA PAPER
WITH TIMER HAYES' CONFISCATED
MARIJUANA, BUT HE HAD SERIOUSLY
MISREAD THE PEOPLE'S SENTIMENTS
ON HIS GET-TOUGH POLICY,
AND THE PUBLICITY BACKFIRED.
TODAY, TANNER SAYS THE STATE
TASK FORCE SCHEDULED THE BUST
AND DIDN'T TELL HIM.
>> THE TIMING ON THAT BUST --
AND I KNEW IT WHEN IT HAPPENED,
THAT IT WAS BAD FOR ME.
IT WOULD LOOK LIKE, THAT IT WAS
TIMED JUST BEFORE THE ELECTION
TO HELP ME.
PEOPLE DON'T LIKE THAT.
>> Reporter: IN THE SUMMER
OF 1992, THE PEOPLE OF BACON
COUNTY OVERWHELMINGLY ELECTED
BUCKY HAYES.
TODAY, LARRY TANNER SELLS USED
MOBILE HOMES.
THIS IS A POWERFUL MESSAGE.
>> OH, YEAH.
>> Reporter: IN BACON COUNTY --
THAT 40 OR 50, 45 GROWERS CAN
SIT TOGETHER AND SAY THAT, "THE
DEPUTY SHERIFF'S TOO TOUGH,
AND THEREFORE WE DON'T WANT HIM
AS SHERIFF."
>> RIGHT.
>> Reporter: IS THAT A FAIR
SUMMATION?
>> UH-HUH.
THERE WAS A DISTRICT ATTORNEY,
A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE, I'LL
ALWAYS FEEL LIKE HE WAS, TOLD ME
ONE TIME THAT YOU CAN ONLY
POLICE PEOPLE TO THE POINT THAT
THEY WANT TO BE POLICED.
>> Reporter: AFTER YOU WERE
DEFEATED, WAS BACON COUNTY
AN EASIER PLACE FOR MARIJUANA
GROWERS TO DO BUSINESS?
>> OH, YEAH.
OH, YEAH, DEFINITELY.
THEY KNEW THAT NOBODY WOULD BE
AS AGGRESSIVE AS I WAS.
>> Reporter: WHY WAS
LARRY TANNER ABLE TO FIND
SO MANY MORE GROWERS THAN YOU'VE
BEEN ABLE TO?
>> I COULDN'T ANSWER THAT
EITHER.
I DON'T KNOW WHETHER HE HAD
BETTER INFORMANTS OR -- OR WHAT,
WHAT THE PROBLEM IS.
>> Reporter: AND HOW TOUGH WERE
YOU ON MARIJUANA GROWERS AFTER
YOU WERE ELECTED SHERIFF?
OR SHALL I TELL YOU?
>> TELL ME.
>> Reporter: WELL, FOR A YEAR
AND A HALF, FROM JANUARY '93,
WHEN YOU CAME INTO OFFICE, UNTIL
JULY '94 --
I SHOWED THE SHERIFF
THE STATISTICS GIVEN TO US
BY THE STATE'S DRUG TASK FORCE.
IN EACH OF THE TWO YEARS PRIOR
TO HAYES' TAKING OFFICE, THERE
HAD BEEN MORE THAN $1 MILLION
WORTH OF MARIJUANA SEIZED
IN BACON COUNTY.
I THEN SHOWED THE SHERIFF
THE STATISTICS FOR HIS FIRST
YEAR IN OFFICE, 1993.
AND HERE'S BACON COUNTY
IN THE YEAR AFTER YOU'RE ELECTED
SHERIFF.
>> UH-HUH.
>> Reporter: ZERO.
I MEAN, THAT'S NOT MUCH
OF A COMPLIMENT TO A LAW
ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, IS IT?
>> NOT MUCH.
>> Reporter: NO MARIJUANA WAS
SEIZED IN HIS FIRST YEAR
AND A HALF AS SHERIFF
BECAUSE HAYES DID NOT EVEN ALLOW
THE STATE DRUG TASK FORCE
TO OPERATE IN BACON COUNTY.
IN RECENT YEARS, HE REDEPUTIZED
THE STATE TASK FORCE,
AND THEY'VE ERADICATED SOME
MAJOR PLOTS.
BUT AS LONG AS MARIJUANA MONEY
IS IMPORTANT TO THE LOCAL
ECONOMY, AS LONG AS IT BUYS FARM
EQUIPMENT AND PAYS OFF BANK
LOANS, THERE IS NO PRESSURE
ON BUCKY HAYES TO BE A HERO.
ONE MORE THING --
TEDDY BOATRIGHT, WHOSE PLANTS
WERE FOUND BACK IN OCTOBER 1996,
HAS YET TO STAND TRIAL.
IF HE IS EVER TRIED, IT WILL BE
IN FRONT OF A LOCAL JURY, A JURY
OF HIS PEERS.
CAN YOU GET CONVICTED IN FRONT
OF A JURY AROUND HERE?
>> YEAH.
BUT IT'S GETTING HARDER.
HARDER AND HARDER TO BE
CONVICTED.
>> Reporter: ARE JURIES
FRIENDLY?
>> YEAH.
>> Reporter: BECAUSE THEY'RE
YOUR NEIGHBORS?
>> YEAH.
>> Reporter: BECAUSE THEY'RE
GROWING, TOO?
>> YEAH, A LOT OF THEM HERE.
>> Reporter: BECAUSE
THEY NEED IT?
>> OR THEIR FAMILY IS, SOME
OF THE FAMILY.
THEY AIN'T A WHOLE LOT
OF FAMILIES THAT HAVE
CONNECTIONS SOMEWHERE OR ANOTHER
DOWN THE ROAD IN THE KINFOLK'S
LINE.
BUT WHAT IS CONNECTED WITH IT
ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.
>> Reporter: IF THE GOVERNMENT
WANTED TO ERADICATE ALL
MARIJUANA GROWING IN BACON
COUNTY, COULD THEY?
>> NO.
NEVER.
THE ONLY -- THE GOOD THING IS
WHEN YOU, WHEN THEY TOOK
$5 MILLION OR $6 MILLION WORTH
OUT OF BACON COUNTY, THAT MADE
THE BOYS OVER IN PIERCE COUNTY
SURE ENOUGH PROUD.
SUPPLY AND DEMAND.
THEIRS JUST WENT UP.
>> Announcer: "ABC NEWS SATURDAY
NIGHT: POT OF GOLD" WILL
CONTINUE IN A MOMENT.

>> Announcer: PETER JENNINGS
REPORTING.
"POT OF GOLD" CONTINUES.
>> A COUPLE OF THINGS BEFORE
WE GO.
WE THINK THE GOVERNMENT IS
ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, THAT WE MUST
EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN NOT TO DO
DRUGS, INCLUDING ALCOHOL
AND TOBACCO.
BUT THAT'S AN OBVIOUS POLICY.
WE HAVE ALSO LEARNED THAT
MARIJUANA IS NO LONGER SIMPLY
ASSOCIATED WITH THE SO-CALLED
DRUG CULTURE.
AND LIKE IT OR NOT, MARIJUANA,
MARIJUANA FOR PROFIT, NOW HAS
ROOTS IN MAINSTREAM AMERICA.
THIS LEADS INEVITABLY
TO A DISCUSSION ABOUT
LEGALIZATION OR TOUGHER LAWS.
THAT DEBATE IS INTENSIFYING.
WHAT PEOPLE NEED TO UNDERSTAND
IS THAT THE CURRENT EFFORT
TO ERADICATE GROWING HERE
AT HOME ISN'T CHANGING THINGS
VERY MUCH, EXCEPT TO ENSURE THAT
THE PRICE STAYS HIGH.
REALLY GETTING AT THE PEOPLE WHO
GROW MARIJUANA NO LONGER MEANS
CLOSING THE BORDERS,
BUT AN ENORMOUSLY EXPENSIVE,
INVASIVE, DOOR-TO-DOOR CAMPAIGN.
WHICH BRINGS US BACK TO THAT
FORMER DEPUTY SHERIFF
IN BACON COUNTY.
HE REMINDED US THAT YOU CAN ONLY
POLICE THE PEOPLE AS MUCH
AS THEY ARE WILLING TO BE
POLICED.
AND HOW MUCH IS THAT?
I'M PETER JENNINGS.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
>> Announcer: "ABC NEWS
SATURDAY NIGHT" WILL CONTINUE
IN A MOMENT.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

[End]

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