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marijuana grow bust

Authorities arrested two Talbot residents after raiding an illegal marijuana grow Tuesday in Jefferson, seizing nearly 200 pounds of marijuana and more than $25,000.

In June, two men were charged with arson in an explosion inside an illegal marijuana extraction lab in the 16000 block of Bridgeport Road off South Kings Valley Highway outside of Dallas.

On Oct. 28, state police served a search warrant in the 12000 block of Modoc Road in Central Point in Jackson County where they found 62 large, outdoor grows, which contained 18,360 pounds of illicit processed marijuana and plants. Officials also found $80,000 in cash and four firearms, according to state police.

Marijuana grow bust

Nonetheless, they may have financial incentives to bypass the rules: Illegal cannabis can be cheaper to grow, which may have enabled this marijuana ring to quickly expand while undercutting competition.

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“Law enforcement is claiming, without evidence, that this unregulated (product) is being injecting into the regulated supply chain,” Donahoe said. “If they don’t explain how, that is gaslighting. That is a misrepresentation to the public at large.”

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Marijuana seedlings in a grow room in a warehouse off Neptune Avenue in San Leandro.

Some industry consultants viewed these remarks as fearmongering, however, and worried the sheriff was trying to intervene in an industry that law enforcement no longer controls.

Sean Donahoe, a cannabis regulatory consultant, argued that it would not make practical or economic sense for a legal vendor to purchase from an illicit supplier, given how closely the state tracks each plant from seed to sale — and given that it’s possible to find cheap cannabis on the legal market.

They pumped in carbon dioxide, producing giant, muscular plants that Kelly said were among the highest quality his office’s detectives had ever seen.

In all, law enforcement seized about 100,000 marijuana plants, a number that could balloon to 500,000 by the time they tally all the evidence, Sgt. Ray Kelly said. Additionally, deputies took $10 million in cash and assets, 12,000 pounds of processed product ready for distribution, and more than a dozen weapons, including handguns, rifles and shotguns.