All that to protect 4 plants?!
Here's a recent segment of "This American Life" about the extent of marijuana growing in Mendocino County, California:
A few years ago, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman was trying to find a way to deal with the proliferation of marijuana in his county. Allman wanted to spend less time dealing with growers who were growing small, legal amounts, so he could focus on other problems — including criminals who run massive marijuana farms in the Mendocino National Forest....By "legal amounts," they mean not illegal under state law. The "legal amount" is 20 plants. The giant operations consume many acres of federal land (complete with irrigation systems and pesticides). Why don't the feds police their own land?
ADDED: Some answers to that last questions here. For the millions of acres of national forests, the federal government is regarded as a property owner:
When the ownership of a piece of land, government land, is considered proprietary, the government is said to have taken over none of the state's obligations for law enforcement. In other words, state and local law enforcement officers still handle calls for service as if the land were privately owned. The sheriff or city police will respond and they'll handle calls without regard to the property's ownership.But the federal government can use its legislative power to regulate this land, which isn't something private landowners can do, and it could choose to take over the law enforcement if it wanted. Given the scale of the "massive marijuana farms" — protected by armed guards who shoot at ordinary people who traipse about in the forest — you'd think the feds would take responsibility. It seems crazy for local police to handle that, and it's the federal government's marijuana policy, in conflict with what many states are trying to do, that's the foundation of the problem.