Helicopters. Zip-line repelling. Camouflage. Air gun assault rifles. These are only some of the fun toys the Indiana State Police and National Guard get to play with as they train for tactical military raids on marijuana grow operations for the “Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.”

This marriage of police and military forces in Indiana looks to be the brain child of Lou Perras, a state police sergeant who, according to an off-puttinglly anti-marijuana 2010 article by the News and Tribue, was “charged with overseeing a staff of investigators devoted year-round to catching high-volume growers who reap a pound of marijuana off a single plant.”

In the same article, Perras is quoted as saying, “People have this attitude, ‘it’s just marijuana. That’s a sad misrepresentation of this drug.” And in a piece by the Next News Network, Perras tells a reporter that the military training for cannabis raids is to “better protect our citizens of the state.” Apparently, someone at the Department of Defense, who oversees the National Guard, must feel the same as Perras about the dangers of marijuana.

Part of what the pretty cool bipartisan marijuana overhaul CARERS Act bill was about was preserving the state’s right to enforce their own marijuana policy, meaning states that wanted to have medical marijuana could have medical marijuana, states that wanted to legalize could legalize, and states that wanted to continue to use their resources to find and prosecute marijuana users and distributors could do that as well, without federal interference. So, you know, god bless you if you want to waste your time and money on the pursuit of “eradicating” a medicinal, pretty harmless, socially acceptable plant.

But with the DEA saying that they will no longer make cannabis a priority and states  decriminalizing, legalizing, and medicating partially with the purpose of plugging up the money hole that is fighting and incarcerating marijuana offenders, it seems like an odd choice for the state of Indiana and the DoD to be going the opposite way with such a bold, expensive, and sophisticated program.

They must really hate weed. Or maybe they just really like repelling.

Parker Winship