Stream diversions, highly toxic banned pesticides, and anti-personnel...
We love spending time outdoors, but doing so comes with some inherent risks we must prepare for — sudden changes in weather, predator animals, topography that's difficult to safely navigate, and so on. Aggression from other humans may seem like it's low on that list of threats, but depending on your area, it may be more likely than you've considered. Black-market marijuana grow operations are sometimes concealed in remote wilderness areas, and if you come across one inadvertently, there's a substantial likelihood the individuals behind it will be hostile to your presence. You might stumble into booby traps and/or armed guards with little or no warning.
Regardless of your feelings about marijuana itself, these hostile, cartel-run grow sites are concerning to anyone who explores areas where they're prevalent.
John Nores, author of the book Hidden War, spent his career co-developing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) to fight back against the armed drug cartel members behind these black-market operations. In his book, he offers firsthand accounts of infiltrations, firefights, and arrests from throughout his tenure with the CDFW.
Yesterday, Nores met with Joe Rogan to record a podcast episode. For those who didn't catch it live during the recording session, you can find it at podcasts.joerogan.net or watch the episode below:
Our sister publication RECOIL also caught up with him for a brief interview — read on for an excerpt:
RECOIL: Why was Hidden War important to you to write?
John Nores: The main reason was out of frustration of the impacts to are our wildlife, waterways, and wildland resources not only in California but the entire country, and the threat to public safety by these drug trafficking organizations/cartel criminals that are doing this stuff in America. They’re doing it for a black market within America that they’re profiting from and are utilizing our resources, our public lands, private lands, waterways, all the sensitive species, and everything else to make hundreds of millions if not billions of black market dollars at the expense of destroying our environment and threatening our public.
RECOIL: Which two pieces of information would you like people to know about illegally grown marijuana?
JN: One: There’s a possibility if it’s on the black market that it is tainted with very toxic substances that you can’t see. It’s not going to kill you right away, but it’s so deadly that two tablespoons of this substance can kill up to three to five miles of a whole Creek and everything living in that creek. That’s how dangerous this stuff is. There’s still a lot of this stuff on the black market all over the nation. So just be very, very careful where you’re getting your cannabis for legal recreational or medicinal use.
Two: Realize that there is something going on in the woods not too far from you, potentially, in any state in the union and it’s hurting your wildlife, it’s hurting your waterways it’s hurting the wildlands– Think of it from the standpoint of future generations your kids, your nieces, your nephews, your grandkids– do you want them to grow up in a country that has so little green spaces, so many little tracts of open space, and so little wildlife because of this or other poaching or destructive environmental problems? It’s critical for all of us to know that, whether we’re out there or not.
RECOIL: In your opinion, what needs to be done to win the hidden war on weed?
JN: You know we have to look at this not just individually state-by-state, but we need to look at this as a nation. Obviously, there is a huge black market right now, and that black market is fueling the desire for these cartels to produce all of this low cost, very potent, tainted cannabis. So, we have to address this as a nation. We have to decide as a nation if we’re going to regulate and if we’re going to regulate in such a way that we break the back of the black market or are we going to just regulate individually based on revenue and based on how we want to do our politics on the issue. And I’m not an expert on that but I can say from seeing the states that have regulated so far, my state California being the prime example, Colorado, Washington, and my new state of Montana– No one’s solved the problem and stop the black market by regulating the state as the regulations are written now.
For more from this interview, head over to RECOILweb.com. To learn more about Hidden War or purchase the book in print or digital form, click here. RECOIL is also offering a downloadable free sample chapter, for those who'd like to get a taste of the book.