“If Cannabis were unknown,” the Economist wrote a few years ago, “and bioprospectors were suddenly to find it in some remote mountain crevice, its discovery would no doubt be hailed as a medical breakthrough. Scientists would praise its potential for treating everything from pain to cancer, and marvel at its rich pharmacopoeia—many of whose chemicals mimic vital molecules in the human body.”
They would also conclude that, while it has its issues–as does, say, coffee–the drug is less harmful than cigarettes or alcohol, considerably less addictive than either, and has more demonstrable benefits than either, especially for people who suffer from cancer, eye diseases or AIDS. That’s partly why marijuana smoked for medical reasons is allowed in about 20 states (and growing), and why 13 states have quit imprisoning or punishing most people with simple marijuana possession.
But decriminalizing pot also means giving cops and jailers considerably less to do, since more than a tenth of state prisons where pot is still criminalized are filled with pot users or dealers (but mostly users). Florida is among the states with the more severe anti-pot laws: possessing so much as a gram (or up to 20) of the stuff lands an individual in jail for a year. Possessing more than 20 grams is a felony worth five years in prison. And cultivating the cannabis plant bumps up the penalties: 25 or more plans results in a 15-year sentence. Even possessing marijuana paraphernalia results in a one-year jail sentence.
So police agencies dutifully continue to hunt down, arrest and prosecute pot users and growers, however small the offense or, overheated law-and-order rhetoric aside, harmless the activity. Media play their part, seldom questioning the validity or usefulness of the hunt and usually playing up the latest catch with bold headlines and reporting retreaded from the previous busts, going back decades. And consumers take in the news, presumably feeling safer while assuming that more criminals, or leafy-green pot plants, are no longer in circulation, though many of those same consumers, among them prominent and respected members of the community, politicians and members of the clergy included, are themselves on friendly puffs with pot.
The news-worthiness of these incidents is therefore questionable. While they shed a light on the use–and misuse–of public resources, the incidents should be placed in their proper context.
With that in mind: late this afternoon the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office disseminated a news release about members of the department’s Narcotics Enforcement Team spending “much of Tuesday cleaning up a marijuana grow operation that was discovered when workers arrived to change locks on the rental house.”
The 1,800-square-foot house was at 20 Princeton Lane in Palm Coast. Workers discovered 24 starter plants growing in large pots in a bedroom. Note the number of plants: one short of the trigger for the difference in penalty between five and 15 years in prison. No one was in the house when workers got to the property to change the lock. The house, which belongs to a Palm Coast couple who live on Round Tree Drive, was being rented.
The bedroom with the plants had “an elaborate lighting system with an a/c unit running,” a police report states, while an investigator also noticed “in another bedroom numerous ballasts with electrical power being diverted through the ceiling.” Florida Power & Light was contacted and asked to shut the power off.
As two investigators were outside the house, they saw a Cadillac Escalade drive near the property, stop, and make a U-turn. Investigators followed the car, which swerved off the road at one point, on White View Drive, eventually pulling it over at Walmart. David Romero was driving the car. Louis Urra, 39, the renter at Princeton Lane house, was in the passenger seat. Wood pallets and liquid fertilizer were in plain view in the vehicle, according to the police report. A Spanish interpreter arrived (neither men in the vehicle spoke English) and the car, with the two men’s consent, was searched.
Urra produced the key to 20 Princeton Lane and allowed that he lived at that address. He was arrested. He told investigators that Romero, his cousin, had nothing to do with the pot plants. Urra said he’d been renting the house for less than a month since moving there from Miami. His address on his arrest report is listed as 2207 West 53rd Place in Hialeah.
He was taken to the Flagler County jail and charged with cultivating marijuana. He posted $10,000 bail.
Oh yes!!! I feel so much safer…. Has anyone asked the guy in Spanish if he has glaucoma?
The Truth says
Si usted va a vender marijauna en nuestro país, por lo menos aprender nuestro idioma.
I don’t think that this business, is exactly, what the City of Palm Coast calls, a “home based business” to qualify towards it’s Economic Development plan..
Another loser taking advantage of the down-turn of Palm Coast. Judging from the electrical weiring and growing technique pictured here and in other photos being circulated this guy should have some sort of legit landscaping/greenery business or electrical company.Everybody wants to self medicate and walk around in a brain-dead fog. “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” If your putting your neighbors in danger because of having to live next-door to illegal drug activity your not loving your neighbor, pack them up and fast-track them to prison or wherever they came from. Start exporting these criminals out of Flagler County.
Drugs are sold openly in at least two locations here in broad daylight and I believe the Sheriff has been told about both of them. One of those locations is the public library.
I am beginning to think we are a distribution center. These are not just “losers”; these guys are driving Escalades.
Go ahead, park at the library 2-3 days in a row. You will see the same people there over and over again, many of them stoned out of their minds. And last I heard, the good folks at the library were so tired of it they had hired their own security patrol because the Sheriff wasn’t doing anything about it.
Doug Chozianin says
Only losers do drugs. Too bad we have so many losers in Flagler County.
Sadly not only losers. Most at the library and BP station near where I live are kids.
This is our future generation we are losing. And legalizing it isn’t going to stop this or make it go away.
Where are the parents of these kids I see walking up Friendship and Farmsworth in the dark, heading up to hang out at this station?
Correction: that’s Fellowship Drive. That station is at the corner of Fellowship and Palm Harbor Parkway.
@Linda same Sheriff attitude when it came to be present to aid a victim bleeding from her mouth unconscious on the street. Sheriff presence was to be there investigating and giving a breath analyzer test to the Fischer woman in a due proper investigation. But they were buddies and procedure was botched and tainted! Too many skeletons in the closet of this Sheriff. Too many crimes without punishment starting with the Kevin Henderson family, Kirt, Taylor, Reid and now Francoise. We pay top dollar in this city and county to law enforcement and do not get the protection we deserve and pay for. He has to go! Now for worst Commissioner Holland is marrying the second in command. Too much conflict of interest. She needs to resign!
Please enlighten me as to what is so bad about these two people meeting, dating, falling in love and getting married? These are two adults. Doesn’t matter what each does for a living. Looking at the majority of your posts it seems you’re a conspiracy theorist. There isnt something evil lurking behind every shadow. Most things are hidden but only for lack of sight. If you refuse to see, you are to blame. If you question what you see and do not seek further truth, then the lie is of your own making.
dontbesoparanoid: Wow, if you that that explanation works, I want some of what you’re smoking.
!.: What “ailments” are we talking about, !?
FedUp.: FedUp, the point for now is that Marijuana in any form in this state is illegal. The Sheriff is supposed to be enforcing that law, no matter what your viewpoint is.
suewho1010: Call Children’s Services.
“among them prominent and respected members of the community, politicians and members of the clergy included, are themselves on friendly puffs with pot.”
Nice one. It does not make one a loser, if the population only knew that probably 5 out of 10 houses if not more are on the friendly puffs with pot. The demand is out there, now if the state would recognize this obvious dilema, and legalize it, these problems wouldn’t be wasting our tax payers dollars for nonviolent crimes. Marijuana has numerous beneficial components which are being neglected. It is a shame in our state people are forced to “break the law” by growing a plant or purchasing it from shady characters just so they can get their medicine. Time for a real change. Cigerettes and alcohol are the leading killer in America. Where does marijuana fall in that category? It doesn’t even exist in that category due to the fact that one cannot overdose on marijuana. The effects of marijuana do not even compare to those of cigerettes and alcohol. No liver problems, no lung problems (if not smoked out of a cigar), no mouth problems, the list goes on… Time to come to reality and legalize it and make Florida the green state that it is supposed to be, not the pill-mill state where pill-billys come to get there pills.I would rather have somebody “stoned” as somebody called it, who is just looking for a snack, rather than a junkie shooting up heroin or oxycodone and wanting to rob houses and people just to get there next fix. WAKE UP PALM COAST!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!
No, it just kills all productivity. Smoke being inhaled into your lungs is all the same. There IS not way to call it ok.
And here, the target is people under 21.
Trying to dress pot up to make it look any different than cigarettes is foolish. What next? Legalize pedophilia? There is plenty of that going on in FL households as well.
You wake up.
al sharpton says
If it feels good, legalize it, is that it? That’s about as honest as the gambling parlors popping up all over town.
Do you think working families will want to live here, raise their children here? Do you think that will make major employers want to move their businesses here?
Absolutely. That could be the economic development edge Flagler County needs. With all the vacant land in the county, I could definitely forsee major investors backing a business or businesses to grow, cultivate, package and distribute. Flagler County could use the tax revenue, and well informed/educated families would definitely be inclined to want to live here and raise their children because they would know that crime would exponentially decrease here.
jesse jackson says
no layla, it should be legalized because it isn’t harmful, isn’t addictive and has many many medicinal purposes (unlike alcohol and tobacco) and is widely accepted by society. just like the article clearly points out.
harmful and addictive drugs like alcohol and tobacco don’t avert deter families from moving here.
nobody said anything about gambling.
Suggest you read up on what the AMA has to say about Marijuana. Yes, it does have some medical purpose, but only for a short time, not recreational. And yes, it is most definitely habit forming, just like cigarettes.
And that includes pipes, cigars. Smoke is not good for your lungs. It causes cancer and a host of other diseases.
Jesse, nothing I’m going to say is going to sway you.
Anything can be habit forming. Doesn’t mean it will cause harm to one though. Newspapers can be habit forming. Is that dangerous? Reading this site can be habit forming. Eating can be habit forming. Habits are not a bad thing, it’s a way of life. Marijuana does not have to be smoked. There are numerous healthier ways of consuming it, other than smoking it, if you feel marijuana smoke is bad for your lungs. The states that have legalized it for MEDICINAL use awknowledge the usefulness of the plant and prescribes it just like any other pharmaceutical (sp) on the market. Some have higher doses than others, some have edibles if they prefer or are prescribed. It all depends on your ailment. It’s not about the “high” as some call it, it’s about the usefulness. Imagine how many lives can be saved and helped, if that’s what the state is even trying to do….Doesn’t appear that way…
Got any stats on those lives “saved”?
It just amazes me how backwards Florida is compared to the rest of the United States. I do understand that this state is “Gods little waiting room” and that 40% of the population is over 65. But did you know 30% of those senior citizens are not only alcoholics but “pill heads” as well………Its time Florida, wake up from your alcoholic stuper and prescription highs and LEGALIZE the little weed. The Sheriff of Nottingham can take his soldiers and fight the real criminals in this state…The state government and all the local politicians that line their pockets with taxpayer money.
God’s little waiting room? Get out much? Seems the stupor may be going on right here in Palm Coast and maybe that’s the problem. It certainly isn’t in the rest of the state.
What about the crack head women pan handling at Walmart ? They keep their junk car hidden with a small child inside and switch off panhandling till they get enought money for their dope. They buy the poor child a happy meal if she’s lucky and then they go and shoot and smoke themselves into a coma? I have personally called Walmart and the sheriffs dept and get the response what can we do? she been thrown off the property and trespassed many times. but the police have not arrested her and her friends.
How about someone arrest her ass and take the poor child and put her into a decent loving home.
If you see her please call the police .
For all you active pot smokers the question is: Are YOU yourself when your high or your not? Which is the real YOU when under the influence or not? Because if you don’t know how are the people around you supposed to know let alone be around a person who needs to alter their mood do to simple task. Anything goes if it feels good to YOU mentality will probably prevail in the end. ANY TYPE OF SMOKE PULLED INTO YOUR LUNGS IS BAD!!!
Geezer Butler says
I think that people chatting and texting on cell phones while driving are far and away a greater risk to society.
Yes, marijuana isn’t good for you, but jail time is ridiculous when you stop and consider tobacco and booze are proven killers, but are legal to consume.
I say we tax it, stamp it and regulate its use. Florida can use the cash!
There wouldn’t be grow houses or dealers anymore, because the consumer could buy grass without fear of inhaling pesticides, fungus, and other impurities.
Just like alcohol, and tobacco – people will continue to smoke pot regardless of
the law. Let’s free up law enforcement for more important issues.
Just my opinion.
I’ll take the honest jobs, not the drugs and gambling.
Just my opinion.
MJ has healthier ways of consuming other than smoking it. Healthier people prefer inhaling the vapors from a “vaporizor”, letting no smoke into the lungs, only the vapor, which has no health issues. Another form is the edibles which literally has a cook book full of recipes for foods and drinks that uses mj. Unhealthy smoke, is not the issue. The issue is the state makes money off of prescription drug abuse and locking up individuals for petty mj charges, but is in the dark as to the revenue that it would provide. Shed some light and let it grow, legally.
Honest Abe says
Drug sales at the BP ended weeks ago when the Sheriff’s Office put the main culprit behind bars. Drug sales at the Library? According to staff there, the Sheriff’s Office has increased their patrol for quite some time now to where drug sales have been almost non-existent. This is not to say that drug sales don’t happen in Palm Coast as we are all aware they aren’t going away. Florida provides more prescription meds then the rest of the country combined. Let’s not minimize the work the cops are doing in this town with “Sheriff’s Office plays up Minor Pot Growing Bust”. Had the cops not been proactive in their work, those minor plants seen in the photos would have been 6′ tall in no time and more marijuana distributed on the streets. Why not give credit where it’s due and say thanks instead of bashing a job well done. Try going on the sheriff’s web site and provide information of the who, what, where and when to the narcotics cops or call them and provide information so that we can all live in a better town. If you see something, say something, don’t just complain about it after the fact.
Officer Abe: We have many witnessess to the deals going on at the Library, including just about every candidate and volunteer who worked there through both the Mayoral and Council elections. According to Library staff, most times the dept. would not come when called.
I spoke to Library staff and frustration was sky high. We also asked the Sheriff himself about it. He said it was “handled”, yet it was not, according to Library staff. Several of the volunteers working during those elections called, to no avail.
The amazing thing is that is goes on in broad daylight, defiantly. They KNOW they are not going to be arrested.
I’m not going to pretend to know what the Sheriff’s obligations are, which calls are more important. But I am going to be truthful about what was witnessed BY MANY.
These incidents were reported.
The drug dealing at the library cannot be rectified by a deputy riding through the parking lot, especially in a marked car. Undercover buys in conjunction with surveillance for a period of two or three weeks is what it takes. Sure, when a deputy rides through it looks like, from his or her view point that everything fine. Extra patrols will address the vandelism problem but not the drug problem.
First, smoking pot is dangerous because you are inhailing smoke, which has many carcinogens in it and it is habit causing so please those of you acting like it is the safest thing around, don’t! Second, I think it should be decriminalized and taxed and enjoyed or utilized by those who choose to use it but they should be accountable for their actions–health issues/risks and safety/legal issues due to abuse misuse and hurting others (like a car accident because you are wasted and red-eyed missing a stop light…one great example).
Great, you object to people driving drunk but have no problem putting our children and families at risk to a bunch of drug addled citizens?
Give teachers in flagler a piss test for thc specially in the Art department at fpc and the outcome would be very eye opening indeed
Wow….some absolutely stunning and mid numbingly ignorant commentary on this pathetic article depicting the Sheriffs Office as having to ‘play up’ a narc bust in one of the more crime ridden areas of this city. This opinion editorial masking as news portrays law enforcement in a low harsh light as if they somehow benefit from the proliferation of drug usage in this county while plaintively supporting one side of an argument; don’t even think of calling this journalism.
Let’s take a stroll into Legal Druggie Neverland shall we? School grades plummet because our kids are weeded out and can’t start/finish/comprehend their assignements let alone get out of bed for school. Thses same kids, our children, are packing themselves into cars to contact high off blunts then driving around in 3,000lbs of steel and flammable material with impaired judgement and diminished motor skills. Rival sellers ramp up the violence in the new legal venture attempting to rid themselves of competition because making pot legal only means the garage door is up instead of down…the garage door next to your nice pretty home. Health insurance and costs rise due increased instances of lowered immune systems, lung disorders, and mental health issues. Insurance actuaries determine your life insurance rates will increase due to higher mortality rate from a rise in life threatening motor vehicle accidents. Teen pregnancies rise due to lowered inhibitions and birth disorders also rise accordingly from the drug use while pregnant…again, more health costs and strain on state resources.
Lastly…you’ve become a member of society that can’t handle stress, can’t handle your emotions, find your own happiness, enjoy the true beauty in the world around you, use your raw imagination, think for yourself, or simply live without lighting up some dried up grass and smoking it to feel better about yourself. I call that PATHETIC.
jespo, before attacking our journalism you might want to come out of your hot house and put a little substance behind the bumper-sticker yelling. Your inventions would more accurately apply to alcohol, and evidence-wise, very much do so: one of the points of the article is that alcohol is demonstrably more lethal than pot, by far. But just as the good foot soldiers of the last 40 years’ war on drugs have not shown much interest in testing the validity of their approach, it’s doubtful you’re interested in doing as much.
Flagler Live, I agree with you on the detriments of alcohol and tobacco on society and its health; more than half of all hospital beds are occupied by persons with issues related to both habits over years worth of usage. Reading this article I was confused as to whether it was informational reference an incident which occurred from a law enforcement action on criminals or whether the incident was to be used as a gateway to voice an opinion on a hot topic. i decided on the latter and threw away the journalistic notion of impartiality being considered. It’s one person’s opinion, that’s all, and worthy of voicing as is yours.
Drugs destroy lives. Forty years of living in a drug infested city told me that. it told me that growing up when I saw what they did to good and decent people who used them. I saw what it did to my neighborhood, to my city. I saw lives wasted, resources wasted, suffering, disease, and death. I agree that the so called called ‘war’ people speak about has been ineffective most of the time, but understand who these ‘foot soilders’ are that you speak of. While they’re carrying out orders to carry out a raid, not this one per se, they’re ending it by carrying out lice infested children because the parents were too stoned to care.
There’s not much I can do to tell you how much i do in fact care about the topic, except to say so, so please don’t doubt my sincerity by leaping to conclusions. As far as testing my theory that drug usage is harmful and destructive to those who use it, and that something should be done about it…I don’t have to prove it any more than someone needs to prove that it’s a great idea to legalize it.
**sorry for the double post, thought the page froze up on me**
I’m with you, Jespo. Well said.
Been driving high all my life, zero accidents, zero tickets, and not even pulled over once. I bet you my life that this is better than your driving history.
Honest Abe says
Linda, Did your witnesses call when they watched these drug deals take place because deputies MUST respond to such a call and if so, did they stay there to show the deputy who was involved, who had the drugs or should everyone’s Constitutional Rights have been violated in search of a dime bag? I have asked Library Administrative Staff about installing video surveillance cameras and “No Loitering” signs when the gazebo was still there or even sign trespass warnings against the known unwanted. It’s a fine political line for the Library Staff to walk in all scenario’s however, if you want something done, there comes a point where you have to take a stand. My suggestion, if you believe the drug dealing is still an everyday occurrence, have the staff or reporting witnesses ask for the responding deputy to see them upon their arrival. Most cops want to arrest those committing crimes, especially at such a focal point of our county. We can get more accomplished as a group than can as an individual.
Yes sir, Officer Abe. At both locations. The manager at the library told me they have cameras. If somebody is selling drugs in broad daylight, I am not too concerned about their constitutional rights. The moms, kids and seniors have constitututional rights as well.
Appreciate your comments.
Drugs destroy lives, MJ saves them…
Honest Abe says
Perhaps we have spoken to different people at different times. Let’s hope the situation there has been addressed and corrected. If not, hopefully everyone will say something if they see something and those that respond will do something.
Sharika Schook says
Nice article! I’ve been growing a long time. These are the best grow lights for the money.
kevin coyle says
Why do people say to get an honest job and stop growing cannabis. Last I checked farming is one of the oldest most honest jobs. To anonymous I am sorry if your weak back bone leaves you afraid of your “drug dealing” neighbors and that your delusional views of life stop you from seeing reality for what it is so allow me to enlighten you. The federal government has lied to you. The only lives ruined by cannabis are those that where wrongly imprisioned for victimless, government invented crimes. You are on the losing side of this argument my friend, legalization is inevitable because cannabis is not a crime. If you disagree then vote accordingly but last I checked 80% of floridians support medical and 60% support full legalization. Have fun burning in hell for wishing the worst on your neighbors because in your own words love thy neighbor