About $23M in marijuana plants seized around Ohio this year

CLEVELAND (AP) – Police around the state cut down nearly $23 million worth of marijuana plants over the summer, the lowest amount in six years, according to records from the attorney general’s office.

It’s an illicit cash crop now, but voters next week will decide on a proposal to legalize marijuana for personal and medical use and create authorized growing sites. It’s unclear what will happen if voters approve the legalization of marijuana, but Attorney General Mike DeWine suggested to The Plain Dealer (http://bit.ly/1Mtj3xL ) that some enforcement effort would still be needed.

Dennis Lowe, the commander of the Major Crime Unit in three southeast Ohio counties, agreed with DeWine and said there will still be a need for some form of the statewide marijuana eradication program.

“If the issue is passed, there will still be a need for this,” Lowe said. “What form or shape it would be in remains to be seen.”

The number of plants seized by police in the state dropped 79 percent from 105,000 in 2010 to fewer than 23,000 this year, according to records obtained by the newspaper. Serious growers have moved plants indoors to produce better yields, authorities said. Indoor growers can make up to $5,000 a pound, compared with outdoor growers, who can fetch about $2,500 for a pound.

Marijuana plants have been found on public and private land, and many landowners aren’t aware that remote property is being used for illegal crops.

Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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