Government Grown Weed

Here, in what could be called the Fort Knox of dope, Mahmoud ElSohly waits patiently as an assistant unlocks the stainless steel door to a climate-controlled vault.

Once inside, under the gaze of security cameras and a blinking motion sensor, another scientist pries open the lid of a large cardboard barrel, opens a large plastic bag and digs his hand into the vat of meticulously manicured marijuana.

We are in the Coy W. Waller Laboratory Complex on the campus of the University of Mississippi, getting a look at the only legal marijuana farm and production facility in the United States. This is the government’s “cannabis drug repository.”
This is the government’s stash.

Since 1968, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has contracted with the university lab to grow, harvest and process marijuana and to ship it to licensed facilities across the country for research purposes. The lab also collects samples of marijuana seized by police to determine its potency and to document national drug trends.

Like a cask in a wine cellar, this barrel of marijuana is marked with the year of vintage. It is one of many in the room. ElSohly, the director of the lab, guesses that it holds 10 to 15 kilos, or about 22 to 33 pounds, of impeccably clean “product.”

How much would this be worth on the street?

“A lot,” he answers.

He’s not being evasive. It’s just that the value of the marijuana, like the gold at Fort Knox, fluctuates wildly. And like the government gold, it is not for sale. So the question is academic and of little concern.

But the security of the operation is of obvious concern.

Earlier, amid blazingly green plants in the facility’s grow room, ElSohly gave us a Cliffs Notes rundown of the facility’s security.

“Within this building right here,” he said, “we have seven different alarm systems. We have camera systems. We have cameras in this room.” Cameras, an aide tells us, that are monitored by the Drug Enforcement Agency in suburban Washington.

The nearby fields, where the marijuana is grown, are double fenced, ElSohly said.

The fields are empty now, awaiting the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s next order. But when a crop is in growing, armed guards are posted around the clock in the low guard towers.

And everywhere, there are locked doors. Keyed locks and push-button locks. Locks are as omnipresent as the skunk-like smell of raw marijuana.
This information was provided VIA Wikipedia

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