One week after Playboy magazine knocked the University of Miami from the top spot on its list of party schools, local pride took another hit. A website run by a British lady left the Magic City off its list of the top 40 pot-smoking cities in America. The nerve!
Now, city rankings are as ubiquitous these days as volcanic ash, but after Playboy's slap, we're beginning to get rankled. Tallahassee, Gainesville, and Jacksonville were the only three Florida cities that made the list compiled by Tina Brown's blog the Daily Beast in honor of the high holy day, April 20. Tally even landed at number two because funk shaman George Clinton lives there.
But if there's one thing we know here at New Times, it's... public records. We just checked into the State of Florida's Domestic Marijuana Eradication program to compare marijuana seizures per county. Turns out Miami is still the drug den we always thought it was. In 2009, law enforcement seized a whopping 20,308 cannabis plants from 342 Miami-Dade grow houses, nabbing some 370 growers.
By comparison, in Leon County, where Tallahassee is located, law enforcement seized a paltry 647 plants from 14 sites. In Alachua County, where Gainesville is located, the seizures were no more anemic: 680 plants from 17 grow houses. In toto, only a combined 36 stoners were arrested in Alachua and Leon. We say pathetic! To compile its list, the Beast combined statistics from several sources: "Sixty percent from the Department of Health, 20 percent from the FBI, and the final 20 percent was based on local pot culture." That last source means, as befits Tina Brown's blog, a photo gallery of celebrities who "toke" — gag!
Despite the fancy-pants calculus, the Beast didn't stop to think geography. For starters, while a lot of marijuana might be smuggled through the Panhandle, "South Florida, especially Miami, is considered the gateway to Latin America," according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. Pot lords from the Caribbean and South America go through our ports to disseminate their seed. Besides, didn't they know we hosted Marley Fest, the mecca of recreational pot smokers? Take heart, Miami: We might not be home to the top party school, but we're still numero uno when it comes to drugs.