In Era Of Legalization, Illegal Marijuana Grows (And Busts) Continue In Northwest States

File photo. Eighty-nine illegal marijuana growing operations were shut down in Washington over the past year. WIKIMEDIA-TINYURL.COM/YC44O4SR

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Recreational marijuana may be legal in Washington and Oregon, but police continue to bust illegal pot operations that aren’t licensed by the state.

The latest numbers from the Washington State Patrol show that 89 illegal marijuana grow operations were shut down in Washington in the past year. Some were indoor grows, most were outdoor.

In total police seized 24,000 marijuana plants, more than 100 weapons and made more than 100 arrests. The total value of assets seized was nearly $2 million.

This represents a big jump from 2016 except in one category: the number of plants seized. That number is down significantly this year. The State Patrol said that’s because federal funding for marijuana eradication on public lands was cut. Usually those grows are identified by spotters in an airplane or helicopter.

In recent months, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has expressed concern about black market marijuana operations in states like Washington and Oregon where regulated pot is legal. But so far, the Justice Department has not intervened.

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