A report by the Associated Press in the SF Chronicle has found that an increasing number of Laotian farmers in California’s Central Valley are turning to pot growing to survive these tough economic times.
The plants are described by law enforcement as the height of trees. In California, its legal to grow marijuana for personal medical use. But authorities say many farmers are finding a way around the law.
“In the Valley, they’re the ones growing acreage,” said Brent Wood, a special agent with California’s Department of Justice who heads the multi-agency Central Valley Marijuana Investigation Team. “They will have 20-30 doctor recommendations from family members, and their plants are humongous monsters. They’re very organized and very good at selling the pot out of state.”
About 10,000 Laotians settle in the Central Valley after the Vietnam War and the Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries estimates 40 percent are on government assistance.
“People are on welfare, they don’t have jobs, and those who are working hard cannot make good money,” said Josh Bosavanh of Refugee Ministries.
The report in the Chronicle looks at the extent of the problem and the reaction in the Laotian community