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DEA: Marijuana Plant Seizures Fall to Lowest Levels in Nearly a Decade

September 10th

WASHINGTON, DC — DEA seizures of indoor and outdoor cannabis crops declined dramatically from 2011 to 2012 and are now at their lowest reported levels in nearly a decade, according to statistics released online by the federal anti-drug agency. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2012 Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Statistical Report, the total number of cannabis plants eradicated nationwide fell […]

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Federal Bill Would Up Penalties for Marijuana ‘Trespass Grows’

July 20th

WASHINGTON, DC — A bill introduced Thursday by Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) and bipartisan cosponsors from California and Colorado would create new penalties for marijuana growers who grow on federal lands or who trespass on other people’s property to grow and who cause environmental damages.

“Trespass grows” are a tempting alternative for growers who seek to avoid having their own properties seized under federal drug asset forfeiture laws.

Growing marijuana on federal lands — or anywhere else, for that matter — is already against federal law, but the cutely-acronymed Protecting Lands Against Narcotics Trafficking (PLANT) Act would instruct the US Sentencing Commission to establish new penalties for “trespass grows.”

The bill identified three environmental concerns: the illegal use of pesticides, rodenticides, or high-grade fertilizers; the “substantial” pilfering of water from local aquifers, and “significant” removal of timber or other vegetation.

Pressed by law enforcement, marijuana growers have increasingly moved onto federal parks and forests, as well as private properties. Last year, in the national forests alone, eradicators cut down nearly a million plants.

Officials and landowners accuse growers of leveling hilltops, starting landslides on erosion-prone hillsides, diverting and damming creeks and streams, and using large amounts of pesticides to protect their crops.

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Kentucky State Police to Resume Costly Helicopter Marijuana Eradication Campaign

July 1st

OWENSBORO, KY — Kentucky State Police helicopters will return to the skies in search of marijuana fields as part of the agency’s annual marijuana eradication campaign.

Rising fuel costs and a shrinking eradication budget will force the helicopters out of the air sooner than in years past, and the agency plans on reducing blanket flights in search of marijuana fields, instead focusing their attention on areas where marijuana has been found growing in the past.

Police helicopters cost about $200 per hour to fly, making the program an expensive tool in the war against marijuana.

The program, which lasts for about a week in conjunction with the Kentucky State Police and the National Guard will focus on the Eastern part of the state.

Even police officials admit the program barely makes a dent in Kentucky’s underground marijuana growing, which is widespread due partly to the ideal growing conditions in the state.

Kentucky State Trooper Corey King said so much marijuana is grown in eastern Kentucky that most of the plots they find through the program are grown as decoys, while the actual crop is hidden, grown elsewhere.

“They intentionally grow large areas for our suppression team to find,” King said. “It takes the focus off other areas.”

The helicopter program will also investigate suspected marijuana grows as reported by tips from the public.

 

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