Authorities will need to stay on pot growers
More than 200,000 marijuana plants were confiscated and destroyed by local law enforcement this year in Tulare County, an astounding figure, but one that shows the effort to eradicate the illicit growing of the popular weed will not end soon.
Those in law enforcement will tell you that they are only making a small dent in the growing of marijuana locally. While we agree that may be true, it did seem this summer that some progress was made to discourage the illegal growing of marijuana in the county.
In the past couple of the years the growing of marijuana on the Valley floor mushroomed. Hundreds of gardens popped up all over the county, many on the east side along the foothills, but also in towns like Alpaugh and Earlimart.
The false use of medical marijuana letters has led to the proliferation of the illegal gardens. Most gardens are just a few hundred plants, but there were some very large ones as well, up to more than 2,000 plants.
These are not local pot smokers growing some for themselves and a few friends. These are sophisticated gardens designed to produce thousands of pounds of marijuana that will eventually be sold on the street. These are gardens planned and financed by people who will not tolerate theft and are usually armed to protect their valuable crop.
As long as California has the conflict between the federal law that outlaws marijuana and the state law that allows possession and growing of marijuana if you have a letter from a doctor, then there will be those who will use that conflict to grow large amounts of marijuana.
As much success as Tulare County Sheriff’s Department officials had this summer, they will not be able to relax on cracking down on the illegal marijuana growers. Growing pot is far too simple and way too profitable for the cartels and others in organized crime to stop now. Only when the efforts to stop the growers make Tulare County a bad place for those criminals to do business, will the number of farms, and the dangers they bring, begin to subside.