Weed Arrests and Seizures Are on the Rise

The post Weed Arrests and Seizures Are on the Rise appeared first on High Times.

It stands to reason that as marijuana legalization builds momentum across the United States—29 nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in some form so far—arrests for possession and cultivation would be on the decline. Unfortunately, the facts state quite the opposite; in actuality, weed arrests and seizures are on the rise.

The DEA reported that cannabis seizures climbed by more than 20 percent last year, and 5.3 million marijuana plants were seized.

Last week High Times reported that the FBI’s latest Uniform Crime Report states that drug arrests outnumbered all violent crimes combined. Seizures of marijuana—some in which citizen’s rights were violated for unlawful search—are also on the rise.

Even where recreational use of marijuana is legal, arrests and seizures are up.

Ironically, the longer legalization has been implemented in a particular state, the more frequent, and in higher quantity, the seizures have been. This past week alone, there have been many high profile seizures by law enforcement across the country.

Yesterday in Colorado, the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office seized more than 800 marijuana plants in various stages of growth along with an estimated 500 pounds of recently harvested and dried marijuana, worth about $3.9 million. The Pueblo Chieftain reported authorities raided two illegal grow operations on private property.

Also in Colorado, on September 28, for the third time in five years, multiple federal agencies raided an illegal marijuana growing operation in the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District of the White River National Forest. Agents combined efforts to eradicate a cannabis cluster in the Crystal Valley, approximately 16 miles south of Carbondale, in the Redstone area.

The five-acre site had 2,700 plants, as well as chemicals to deter deer, fertilizer, irrigation pipe, camping gear, trash and tarps, the forest supervisor’s office said in a statement.

Weed Arrests and Seizures Are on the Rise

On October 7, a Wyoming State Trooper pulled over a 2011 Dodge pickup pulling a horse trailer for a routine registration violation. During the stop, a Wyoming Highway Patrol drug detection K-9 was deployed. The pooch alerted officers to the presence of a 197 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated street value of $394,000, in the horse trailer.

It was determined that the marijuana was being transported to the Muscle Shoals, Alabama area from Eureka, California. With the assistance of the Wyoming Division Criminal Investigation, 66-year-old Larry Gibson, from Redding, California, was arrested and charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and felony intent to deliver a controlled substance

At the Raul Hector Castro Port of Entry in Douglas, Arizona, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers prevented a local resident from smuggling almost 400 pounds of marijuana into the United States on the afternoon of October 4.

Weed Arrests and Seizures Are on the Rise

Officers referred a 19-year-old woman for a secondary inspection of the Honda SUV she was driving. Subsequently, a CBP narcotics-detection canine helped officers locate approximately $199,000 worth of marijuana hidden throughout the vehicle.

Officers seized the drugs and vehicle and arrested the woman for narcotics smuggling. She was then turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Also on October 4, in North Carolina, homeowners were shocked to find nearly $30,000 worth of marijuana inside a package that was delivered to their doorstep.

The box, delivered Wednesday to a home in Charlotte, contained 15 one-pound bricks of weed, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said.

Marvin Brown, commander of the York County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit, told local television station WSOC 9 that mail delivery of illegal drugs has become more prevalent in the drug trade, because traffickers are using fake or wrong addresses and names, and then waiting for the packages to be delivered there, presumably while the occupants aren’t home.

In California, authorities seized 313,000 plants from indoor operations in 2016, which made up 75 percent of U.S. indoor plants seized nation-wide, according to the DEA.

While the total accounts for only eight percent of all seizures in California, that is the highest total in at least eight years.

Last month, law enforcement agencies reported four separate busts of indoor growing operations in the Sacramento area, which resulted in the removal of over 7,000 plants.

It seems the latest incarnation of “refer madness” dubbed “hemp hysteria” has reached a fever pitch, with law enforcement far and wide, committing time and resources to uprooting even outdoor, feral hemp.

The Henry County Sheriff’s office in Washington, Iowa reported approximately 480 “marijuana plants” were discovered and eradicated in rural, northwestern Henry County. The officers actually uprooted feral hemp plants and dropped their seeds all over town during their removal.

According to the Sacramento Bee, a DEA spokeswoman in San Francisco said she was “unable to speculate” why authorities are seizing more indoor-grown marijuana. She noted that the figures come from local, as well as federal, law enforcement agencies.

However, an FBI agent who spoke to High Times on the condition of anonymity stated, “You may have increased enforcement in places where there is political resistance to legalization.”

The post Weed Arrests and Seizures Are on the Rise appeared first on High Times.


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