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The GanjaCat
Cannabis Sacrament Minister
Cannabis Sacrament Minister

Joined: 22 Apr 2003
Posts: 216

PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2003 8:51 am    Post subject: EXPENSIVE GENETIC DATABASE DESIGNED TO TRACK POT Reply with quote

A federally funded database intended to track marijuana by comparing DNA samples of various plants is being developed in Connecticut. The project, already costing taxpayers $340,000 and set to be renewed again next year, will supposedly give federal agencies the ability to analyze various cannabis samples in an attempt to link certain plants to growing operations and trafficking routes. The database is said to soon be able to track a single marijuana bud to a dealer or grower anywhere in the world.

Marijuana cultivators often use the same plants for generations, resulting in large amounts of marijuana containing the same genetic makeup. By implementing this DNA databank, lawmakers are hoping to be able to trace confiscated samples back to growers, allowing them to follow patterns of trafficking and use the DNA as evidence to support courtroom testimony.

Despite law enforcement's claims to the potential effectiveness of the program, drug reformers see the database as another huge waste of taxpayer dollars. A genetic match can almost guarantee a connection between a suspect and a crime scene yet a plant DNA match cannot by itself prove that two growing operations are related. Nor can the DNA mapping technique be used to track harder drugs like cocaine and heroin - though both are plant-based narcotics, organic material is eliminated during their synthesis.

The program is yet another drug war redirection of valuable resources towards law enforcement, skirting the issue of demand reduction and harm reduction. The usefulness of the program can only be limited and will most likely force drug traffickers to invent new and more evasive tactics.

Source: DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE eNewsletter: Thursday, August 14, 2003
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