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View Full Version : Do people grow cocaine here in the United States


who_knows
08-03-2005, 08:22 AM
Recently, I was reading an article that was discussing the growing number of people in the US who are growing marijuana. The article said that most were growing marijuana for sale, while others were growing it for their medicine. This got me wondering as to why people didn't grow cocaine here in the states. It seems to me that if people are getting away with growing marijuana plants, then why don't they start to grow cocaine and not risk flying/crossing over borders. I assume that a large part of this would be getting the seeds for the plants, but also the environment needed to both grow the plants and produce the end product. Am I right or wrong? :confused:

Duck Duck Goose
08-03-2005, 08:30 AM
It's not only the environment that would mitigate against it--it's also the fact that you only get cocaine out of coca leaves after a long chemical process. You need a chemistry lab to process the leaves, but marijuana is immediately marketable upon harvest.

So you'd have to build, not only some sort of growing environment, but also a lab, and you'd have to hire people to run it. But marijuana you can grow, harvest, and market yourself. With marijuana is just cheaper and easier overall to get into the business.

slaphead
08-03-2005, 08:32 AM
I am by no means an expert, but you can't grow Cocaine. You have to grow Coca plants and then subject them to some extensive physical and chemical processing to get refined Cocaine.

I believe economies of scale are much greater in the cocaine industry than in marijuana, so growing a handful of plants and processing them in your kitchen probably wouldn't give you very much in the way of end product - you would need lots of plants, lots of chemicals etc, which is lot more noticeable than a few cannabis plants.

Thin Lizzy
08-03-2005, 08:44 AM
What about growing opium poppies? you never hear of that either.

Duck Duck Goose
08-03-2005, 08:51 AM
For the same reason--there's not much of a market in the U.S. for raw opium, so in order to process your opium poppy sap into marketable heroin or morphine, you need a chemistry lab, and someone who knows how to run it.

gaucho
08-03-2005, 08:58 AM
What about growing opium poppies? you never hear of that either.

I'm not going to look up a cite, but I think there was a bust in either Yellowstone or Yosemite park last year. But it doesn't happen often because you need a large and obvious poppy field to make enough heroin for it to be worthwhile.

ratatoskK
08-03-2005, 09:07 AM
They have chemistry labs all over the country for producing speed. If someone can set up a lab in the jungle in South America, I'm sure they can do it here.

Squink
08-03-2005, 09:21 AM
It's not only the environment that would mitigate against it--it's also the fact that you only get cocaine out of coca leaves after a long chemical process. You can also catch a slight buzz by chewing the leaves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca) The practice of chewing coca was most likely originally a simple matter of survival. The coca leaf contained many essential nutrients in addition to its more well-known mood-altering alkaloid. It is rich in protein and vitamins, and it grows in regions where other food sources are scarce. The perceived boost in energy...

gaucho
08-03-2005, 09:27 AM
They have chemistry labs all over the country for producing speed. If someone can set up a lab in the jungle in South America, I'm sure they can do it here.

I don't think the processing is really the issue. Coca plants take years, rather than months, to reach maturity, and there's no easy way to conceal the amount of plants you'd need to make a substantial amount of cocaine.

butler1850
08-03-2005, 09:30 AM
But would folks recognize a coca plant?

I'd recognize a marijuana plant... if I had experience with that sort of thing... :cool:

anson2995
08-03-2005, 11:03 AM
If it were easier to produce cocaine domestically, that's what they would do. An awful lot of energy (and risk) goes into smuggling cocaine and heroin into the US. They dont do that with marijuana or any of the synthetic drugs, and I suspect its not because the idea never occurred to anybody.

Ike Witt
08-03-2005, 11:34 AM
What about growing opium poppies? you never hear of that either.
You can surely buy opium poppy seeds and grow them. The problem comes from harvesting and processing the latex. AFAIK, there is no issue in growing them. Here is a site (http://poppiesshop.com/poppies/papaver-somniferum-poppy-seed.html) that sells the seeds.

AWB
08-03-2005, 11:54 AM
You can surely buy opium poppy seeds and grow them. The problem comes from harvesting and processing the latex. AFAIK, there is no issue in growing them. Here is a site (http://poppiesshop.com/poppies/papaver-somniferum-poppy-seed.html) that sells the seeds.

One of my wife's aunts said that long ago it was illegal to buy poppy seeds from a catalog and have them transported (mailed) to you in another state. At least that's what one California seed firm told her (she lives in Maine).

Crandolph
08-03-2005, 12:48 PM
You can also catch a slight buzz by chewing the leaves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca)

I've done this and can report that the buzz is indeed slight. Supposedly chewing the leaves also helps with altitude problems, pretty handy in the Andes (no rhyme intended...).

elbows
08-03-2005, 02:07 PM
I'm with Crandolph.

I have done this, and can confirm the buzz is mild indeed.

I was suffering the effects of altitude, at the time, and it did, as advertised, ease them.

Handy in the Andes, hee, hee.

Duck Duck Goose
08-03-2005, 02:25 PM
Papaver somniferum is a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S.

http://usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/scheduling.html

This includes the opium poppy plant itself, plus, and I quote, " Opium poppy capsules, poppy heads, poppy straw".

So, if you can figure out a way to grow opium poppies without having them produce heads, seed capsules, or stems, then I guess it's legal for you to grow it.

levdrakon
08-03-2005, 04:16 PM
It seems to me that if people are getting away with growing marijuana plants, then why don't they start to grow cocaine and not risk flying/crossing over borders. I assume that a large part of this would be getting the seeds for the plants, but also the environment needed to both grow the plants and produce the end product. Am I right or wrong? :confused:

As a gardener, I see no reason why you couldn't grow it. It's a tropical, perennial woody shrub, and we grow plants like that in the states all the time. As long as your area isn't subject to hard frosts, why not? We grow citrus, bananas, avacodoes, etc. Lots of people like to grow their own hot peppers, which is really a tropical perennial, but usually grown as an annual in most parts of the States.

The way Mother Natures seems to have intended humans to use coca is to grab some leaves and chew on 'em. You get a little pick-me-up, probably not much stronger than coffee, and they're fairly high in nutrition, from what I've read.

Others have already pointed out why it's not worth the effort to grow it for purposes of making your own crack cocaine.

Jackmannii
08-03-2005, 04:21 PM
Based on the number of catalogs that sell seed of Papaver somniferum (ornamental varieties) and feedback from other gardeners, it is legal in the U.S. to sell seeds of this plant.

It is illegal to grow poppy plants from this seed.

Lots of gardeners ignore this and grow varieties of P. somniferum for the flowers. Every once in awhile some enterprising would-be narc busts a granny for growing poppies in her garden. As noted, it would take a substantial field of poppies to generate a significant amount of opium or its derivatives, so these arrests (or more typically, confiscations) are idiotic.

For fun and games, try growing one of the ornamental plants with a strong foliage resemblance to Cannabis sativa (certain Hibiscus species and Cleome, for instance). Put them in a front yard bed and enjoy the ensuing antics involving passersby, cops and so on. :)

Ashes, Ashes
08-03-2005, 11:34 PM
To build upon what levdrakon wrote, there are places in the US you could get them to grow outdoors. Erythroxylum novogranatense var. novogranatense isn't as high in the desired alkaloid (it's the one usually used for chewing the leaves as a pick-me-up) but does better in drier, hotter conditions than the most popular plant, which needs mild, humid conditions for success, mainly.

Second best probably wouldn't do for the up and coming American cocaine grower, though. There's a lot of work involved in growing the plant and then extracting anything usable from the leaves. The most productive plant, E. coca var. coca, could surely be grown outdoors in appropriate zones, especially if given special care like protection from frost or watering during a dry spell.

In parts, perhaps in most, of the US it would likely have to be grown indoors at least part of the year. From what I've been told, it's rather fussy to grow indoors, like marijuana grown on a large scale can be. Regulating light, watering, humidity and air circulation isn't easy when you might have to be completely indoors, no windows at all. The amount of space and high utilities usage needed to grow the plants, for up to two years before your first harvest, would be expensive and difficult to keep hidden for so long.

Then again, if there's a profit to be made, you don't want to underestimate the tenacity of the entreprenuer.

slaphead
08-04-2005, 10:23 AM
There's a lot of work involved in growing the plant and then extracting anything usable from the leaves.
:smack: Stupid me forgot (until prompted) that growing/harvesting coca and opium is very labour intensive. So, like cotton-picking, manual harvesting doesn't make much economic sense in the US, and again the feds would probably take a keen interest in anyone seeking to buy a coca-combine from John Deere in order to reduce their labour costs....

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