Florida marijuana growers take big hit

Adam Putnam Ag CommissionerFlorida’s warm climate and rural woodlands may provide a fertile environment to grow marijuana, but Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam is working to see that doesn’t happen. Putnam announced Friday that more than 37,000 marijuana plants and 771 grow sites were destroyed last year through the state’s Domestic Marijuana Eradication Program.

This program, according to Putnam’s office, prevents illicit drugs from entering our communities, increases citizen and officer safety, and also resulted in more than 700 arrests.

“Our agency plays a significant role in safeguarding Florida’s 19 million residents from potential threats,” Commissioner Putnam said. “Our partnership with local law enforcement on this initiative helps prevent marijuana from getting to our communities, making them safer for everyone.”

Putnam’s office released the following:

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services works to prevent the cultivation and distribution of marijuana through the Eradication Program, which is a joint effort with the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and local sheriff’s offices and police departments across the state.

In 2012, county and local law enforcement agencies reported the detection and dismantling of 771 indoor and outdoor grow sites, resulting in the eradication of 37,388 marijuana plants. In addition, 723 individuals were arrested and $1.7 million in assets were seized. In the 31 years since the Eradication Program began, this initiative has detected more than 36,624 illegal grow sites, eradicated more than 2.6 million marijuana plants valued at more than $4.2 billion, and resulted in the arrest of 16,646 cultivators in Florida.

The department received $500,000 of the seized assets from the DEA and distributed more than $436,771 to 54 sheriffs’ offices and 17 police departments in 57 counties to help offset costs of eradication efforts. Another $60,000 was used to train 122 law enforcement officers from 62 different agencies in detection and investigation of marijuana operations.

The complete 2012 Domestic Marijuana Eradication Report is available here.

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