September 16 Dale Geiringer forwards an item from the ABC News website headlined “They don’t call them the Great Smoky Mountains for nothing.” As we’ve noted before, journalists are so addicted to marijuana-infused puns that they’ll go to great lengths to obtain and use them. The puns show that they’re hip —they know marijuana is harmless. They don’t joke about meth and smack. In this instance Great Smoky Mountain National Park, which straddles Tennessee and North Carolina, ranked fourth in pot busts but found its way into the hed. California was in first place (Yosemite), of course, and second, too (the Golden Gate National Recreation Area).
A pot bust at a California campground, the Lake Piru Recreation Area in Ventura County, led to a significant legal victory for Dr. David Bearman —and everybody’s right to privacy!— in 2004. Here’s the relevant background.
And here’s today’s National Parks story and the list of pot busts in recent years (which was compiled by an Associated Press reporter):
An Associated Press analysis of federal court data shows that of the more than 27,700 citations issued to people caught with marijuana on federal property since 2009, at least 724 of the tickets were issued at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina. Among national parks, that figure trails only Yosemite’s 939.
The number of citations issued is small compared to the hundreds of millions of visitors to national parks, forests and monuments each year.
But it nevertheless illustrates one of the many issues Washington, Colorado and other states that want to regulate marijuana face in complying with last month’s Justice Department memo that calls on them to keep pot from being used, possessed or grown on federal land.
Here’s a look at the top national parks, recreation areas and monuments for marijuana busts from Jan. 1, 2009, to July 31, 2013, according to data provided by the U.S. Courts Central Violations Bureau.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA: 939
GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, CA: 902
JEFFERSON NATIONAL EXPANSION MEMORIAL, MO: 847
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, TN/NC: 724
OZARK NATIONAL SCENIC RIVERWAYS, MO: 474
GATEWAY NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, NY/NJ: 313
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ: 257
BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER, AR: 252
LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, NV/AZ: 234
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY: 230
CAPE COD NATIONAL SEASHORE, MA: 206
WHISKEYTOWN NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, CA: 203
SEQUOIA AND KING CANYON NATIONAL PARK, CA: 173
MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK, KY: 155
INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK, PA: 148
CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, GA: 147
HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, AR: 138
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, CA: 137
PADRE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE, TX: 120
SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK, VA: 116