Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pot Farmers In Fresno Overgrowing the Government

By David Downs
Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Fresno County police have uprooted more than 136,000 weed plants this year, up from 24,000 in 2003, and have found 343 pot farms in 2013, up from 72 for all of 2009, the Wall Street Journal reports today.

It's a classic case of the balloon effect: the nation's pot supplies normally come from Mexico, augmented by illegal grows in the Northern California wilderness. Now that cops have squeezed pot growers in US national forests, and the US-Mexico border is at its biggest military build-up since the Spanish-American War — weed growers have moved into Central Valley farmland where they can hide plants amid vast acres of bitter melon, tomatoes, and other produce.

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Lots of grows are ostensibly medical, but many are not. And many farmers are Laotian refugees who fought with Americans during the Vietnam War and now grow pot to supplement their meager farming incomes.

California medical marijuana guidelines allow for up to six mature plants per patient, unless a doctor says he or she needs more. California pot farmers can grow up to 99 plants before they trigger federal mandatory minimum sentences. One farmer this year found 11,500 plants hidden in his corn. Fresno police also raided a 25,000 plant farm this June, the Journal reports.

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