Field of Science

Please don't smoke the tomatoes!

How ya doin New Yawk?  The NY Boys in Blue busted a rooftop marijuana growing operation except it turned out to be tomatoes.  Yes, tomatoes.  Which of course are grown for their berries not their smokable leaves.  This is a good thing because the smoking tomato leaves is way worse than smoking tobacco leaves, both nightshades, and similar enough that you can graft tomatoes onto tobacco root stock and grow some high nicotine tomatoes (not recommended for several reason taste being the primary one), however you will not get tomato hornworms on them.  Like most nightshades, the green foliage of tomatoes contain one or more of the tropane alkaloids, primarily hyoscyamine.  It's not good for you when ingested, and European so well knew this that the edibility of tomatoes was very much in question when newly introduced from the New World. The rooftop gardeners were turned in by the building super who said it was marijuana.  The police never checked it out (good police work, boys) and came busting in on the tomato patch.  As stupid as this sounds, these be city boys.  People so far removed from the production and source of their food that they probably thought tomatoes grew on trees.  TPP remembers a college friend from Brooklyn who recoiled in total revulsion once he actually saw, up close, first hand, where milk comes from.  He was also incredulous about the actual size of a cow.  "Tings like dis belong in zoos!"  If his remark is recalled accurately.  So from TPP's perspective, in their vegetative state, neither the super nor the cops could be expected to make an accurate ID of any plant foliage.  Wonder what they'd pay for doing some plant ID work for the NYC police? 

6 comments:

mr_subjunctive said...

I can believe the story, but: if law enforcement officials are to be trusted to enforce our drug laws, wouldn't one of the very very first things they should know before they start be how to identify the drugs in question? Is the NYPD just hiring anybody who shows up?

(Also see: Kansas couple: Indoor gardening prompted pot raid, via Hooray! Plants!)

It's almost as if The War On Drugs isn't about drugs at all. . . .

The Phytophactor said...

Yes, I only commented on the humorous side of the story. Most city cops have probably never seen marijuana. After reading in the paper than a quarter of a million dollars had been spent to exterminate marijuana from our great state, I pointed out 22 patches growing in ditches over the next 25 miles of rural road we traveled in western Lincolnland. Probably mostly left over from the WWII maritime hemp growing. But you have to know what you're looking at.
And the obvious illegal surveilance in the story you report - you just get angry.

Justin Tungate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin Tungate said...

You don't smoke pot leaves anymore than you would smoke tomato leaves. I expected more from a Jon Stewart watching college professor.

The Phytophactor said...

Ah, Justin is pretending he never smoked low quality weed. Technically the bracts are modified leaves, but with tomatoes there's just nothing else to smoke. Lighting a tomato is a bitch!

Groggy said...

You can't smoke tomato leaves or tomatoes, that's for sure.Has anyone tried to smoke dried tomato seeds?