Despite Legalization, Illegal Marijuana Grows Continue On Public Lands

Dec 23, 2014

Voters have legalized recreational marijuana in Washington and Oregon, but police continue to find illegal marijuana grows on public lands.

In fact, Washington authorities report an uptick in plant seizures and arrests this year.

The hot summer months when marijuana eradication teams do much of their work seems a long time ago. But for Lt. Chris Sweet of the Washington State Patrol, one raid is still vivid in his mind. It happened on the Yakama Reservation in late July.

“There were actually several individuals inside the grow that were tending to the grow at the time,” Sweet recalled. “So we set up a takedown, we went in there, we arrested four suspects and two of the suspects were armed.”

In 2014, police in Washington seized nearly 50,000 outdoor marijuana plants. That’s up from last year, but nothing like 2009 when nearly 600,000 plants were seized.