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Domestic Cannabis Cultivation Assessment 2007
February 2007

Appendix A. Primary Cannabis Cultivation Regions

The following section addresses primary cannabis cultivation areas, planting and harvesting seasons, organizations involved, and major trends and developments in outdoor and indoor cannabis cultivation operations in each primary cultivation state. The primary cannabis cultivation areas are located in two distinct regions: western states and Appalachia. Because many cultivation trends are consistent among states within these unique regions, the summaries of each primary cultivation state are grouped by region.

Western Region

California

Cannabis cultivation and marijuana production operations are extensive throughout California, particularly in northern California. Outdoor cannabis cultivation is increasing dramatically in the northern region of the state, primarily because of expanded cultivation by Mexican DTOs; as a result, the area is becoming one of the most significant outdoor cannabis grow areas in the state. Indoor cannabis cultivation also appears to be increasing. The increase is primarily attributed to the demand for higher potency marijuana. However, some law enforcement officials in California report that the increase is partly the result of California Proposition 215 (commonly referred to as the medical marijuana law), which has negatively impacted marijuana-related prosecutions, resulting in a perception among many indoor growers that law enforcement is reluctant to seize plants or arrest growers.

California Cultivation Statistics

Primary cultivation area: Entire state

Top five cultivation counties: Lake, Shasta, Mendocino, San Diego, Riverside

2006*
Total plants eradicated: 3,846,017
Total outdoor plants eradicated: 3,668,744
Total indoor plants eradicated: 177,273

2005
Total cannabis plants eradicated: 3,021,240


*County-level data represent January through November 2006 and include reporting from the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Outdoor Planting and Harvesting

The primary cannabis planting, growing, and harvesting seasons for southern, central, and northern California are similar and typically occur from April through October. Cannabis seeds or seedlings are planted in spring, usually in April or May, and tended through the summer; they reach plant maturity in September or October. However, this time frame can differ if cultivators plant early by operating cannabis seed beds in an indoor operation for subsequent seedling transfer to outdoor gardens as soon as the threat of frost has passed. Moreover, law enforcement officials have reported a relatively new trend in which cultivators are harvesting the crop or the bud from the plants as early as July to maximize profits and avoid possible loss through law enforcement seizure during late season eradication operations.

Primary Outdoor Cultivation Areas

Outdoor cannabis cultivation operations, once concentrated in central and southern California, are becoming increasingly prevalent in the remote regions of northern California, particularly in Lake, Shasta, and Mendocino Counties. Eradication data indicate that between 2005 and 2006, increases in eradication in northern California counties overshadowed moderate increases occurring in southern counties. Outdoor cannabis eradication in northern California appears to be most prevalent in the following adjacent counties: Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, and Yuba (see Table 9). This increase is attributed primarily to Mexican DTOs expanding operations northward into more remote areas of national forests and private lands, particularly mountainous areas, to avoid law enforcement detection and discovery through aerial surveillance. However, counties in southern California, primarily San Diego County, but also Riverside, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties posted significant increases in cannabis eradication in 2006, albeit less than northern counties (see Maps 8, 9, and 10 in Appendix B).

Table 9. Number of Outdoor Cannabis Plants Eradicated, Top 10 Counties in California, 2006*

County Outdoor Cannabis Eradicated
1. Lake 346,415
2. Shasta 264,287
3. San Diego 241,449
4. Mendocino 239,076
5. Riverside 210,005
6. Tehama 191,863
7. Fresno 172,075
8. San Bernardino 136,595
9. Tuolumne 126,706
10. Santa Clara 125,947

Source: Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program; U.S. Department of the Interior; U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
*Data for 2006 represent January through November 2006.

Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP)

CAMP is a multiagency law enforcement task force managed by the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, and composed of local, state and federal agencies. CAMP agents are broken into five teams covering northern, central, and southern California regions. CAMP members are assisted in their eradication efforts by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the California National Guard, the California Department of Fish and Game, the California State Parks, and dozens of county sheriff agencies and local police departments.

Primary Indoor Cultivation Areas

Indoor cultivation operations in California dramatically increased over the past several years, as a result of increased law enforcement pressure on outdoor cultivation, successes in aerial eradication, and improved technology for detecting outdoor grows. Indoor operations are generally conducted by Caucasian independent growers, typically males between the ages of 25 and 35, generally cultivating an average of 200 to 300 plants per cultivation cycle. Significant quantities of cannabis plants--primarily from Caucasian-operated indoor grows--were seized in Humboldt, Alameda, Mendocino, Sacramento, and San Francisco Counties in the first 11 months of 2006 (see Table 10). Additionally, law enforcement reporting indicates a continuing trend of typically larger, multithousand-plant indoor grows operating in Humboldt County contributing to a rise in overall eradication. In fact, DCE/SP data indicate that Humboldt County had the highest reported number of indoor plants eradicated between January and November 2006 (31,508), increasing 19 percent from 26,411 plants in 2005 (see Maps 11 and 12 in Appendix B).

Table 10. Number of Indoor Cannabis Plants Eradicated, Top 10 Counties in California, 2006*

County Indoor Cannabis Eradicated
1. Humboldt 31,508
2. Alameda 29,428
3. Mendocino 17,443
4. Sacramento 16,901
5. San Francisco 12,745
6. San Diego 10,849
7. Sonoma 9,080
8. San Mateo 7,980
9. San Luis Obispo 7,499
10. San Joaquin 6,100

Source: Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.
*Data for 2006 represent January through November 2006.

Although Caucasian criminal groups and independent dealers are the primary indoor cultivators in the state of California, law enforcement reporting indicates that Asian DTOs and criminal organizations are increasingly cultivating the drug indoors in several areas of the state. Asian organizations have been identified in central and northern California--specifically the San Francisco Bay area. For example, an Asian organization was recently discovered operating indoor grow sites in 41 residences in the Sacramento and Stockton, California, areas. These indoor operations were typically located in residential housing within suburban neighborhoods in which entire houses had been converted into highly sophisticated cultivation operations.

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Hawaii

Hawaii has long been a primary source area for high potency marijuana; however, law enforcement pressure and increased interdiction efforts have led to a slight decline in overall marijuana production in the state in recent years. Despite increased law enforcement focus, local and Polynesian DTOs, Asian and Caucasian groups, and independent dealers continue to cultivate cannabis, primarily on the island of Hawaii.

Hawaii Cultivation Statistics

Primary cultivation areas: Hawaii and Maui Counties

Top two cultivation counties: Hawaii and Maui

2006*
Total plants eradicated: 187,707
Total outdoor plants eradicated: 175,730
Total indoor plants eradicated: 11,977

2005
Total cannabis plants eradicated: 255,113


*County-level data represent January through November 2006 and include reporting from the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Outdoor Planting and Harvesting

Because of the tropical climate in the Hawaiian Islands, cannabis is planted and harvested year-round. The suitable climate combined with nutrient-rich soils provides optimal cultivation conditions for growers to plant and harvest marijuana at any time of the year. As a result, no distinct planting or harvesting seasons exist.

Primary Outdoor Cultivation Areas

Despite considerable decreases in outdoor cannabis eradication rates in Hawaii since 2001, the state consistently ranks among the top four states for the amount of cannabis eradicated each year. Law enforcement reporting indicates that most cannabis is cultivated on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, and Oahu--four of the eight separate islands composing the state. In addition, according to eradication data, domestic marijuana is cultivated primarily on State Division of Land and Natural Resources lands in Hawaii and Maui Counties. DEA Honolulu District Office reports that of the 159,702 plants eradicated from outdoor grow sites in the state of Hawaii from January through November 2006, 75 percent were cultivated on public lands owned by the state of Hawaii. Specifically, NPS reports significant cannabis cultivation in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the island of Hawaii. Outdoor cultivation operations are conducted primarily by local and Polynesian DTOs and Asians, as well as some Caucasians, particularly those who have relocated to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland (see Maps 13 and 14 in Appendix B).

Primary Indoor Cultivation Areas

Indoor cannabis cultivation in Hawaii occurs less frequently than outdoor cultivation; however, indoor cultivation appears to be stable or possibly increasing. According to DCE/SP, the number of plants eradicated from indoor operations increased sharply from 314 plants in 2002 to 3,519 in 2003 and increased again in 2005 to 3,950. Moreover, DEA Honolulu District Office reports that the number of indoor cultivation sites seized increased from 13 in 2005 to 37 as of October 31, 2006. Local Hawaiians, Caucasian independents, and Asian organizations operate most indoor grow sites in Hawaii (see Maps 15 and 16 in Appendix B).

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Oregon

Outdoor cannabis cultivation appears to be increasing in Oregon, including on public lands, primarily because of an increase in outdoor cultivation by Mexican DTOs operating large-scale cannabis grow sites.

Oregon Cultivation Statistics

Primary cultivation area: Northwestern region of the state

Top five cultivation counties: Jackson, Grant, Josephine, Wheeler, and Linn

2006*
Total plants eradicated: 139,409
Total outdoor plants eradicated: 134,191
Total indoor plants eradicated: 5,218

2005
Total cannabis plants eradicated: 91,829


*County-level data represent January through November 2006 and include reporting from the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Outdoor Planting and Harvesting

Oregon's temperate climate, rich soil, and vast expanses of remote, forested areas are particularly conducive to outdoor cannabis cultivation. Outdoor cannabis cultivation in Oregon typically spans the months of May through October; however, weather conditions and the use of seeds and cloned starter plants can extend or reduce the growing season. In the eastern region of Oregon--east of the Cascade Mountains--cultivation operations begin as early as March or April, although most planting usually occurs in May. Weather conditions during the growing months significantly influence the harvest time, but plants typically are harvested during August and September. West of the Cascades, sites are usually planted in June, tended through summer, and harvested in September and October.

Primary Outdoor Cultivation Areas

The number of large-scale outdoor marijuana grow sites in Oregon is increasing and will quite likely continue to increase as Mexican DTOs currently operating in the state expand their operations. Several counties in Oregon--particularly in the southwestern section of the state--have been identified by law enforcement as counties experiencing significant Mexican DTO-controlled cannabis cultivation. In addition to Mexican DTOs, Caucasian criminal groups and independent growers cultivate cannabis outdoors; however, Caucasian-controlled grow sites are generally much smaller and contain fewer plants. According to eradication data and law enforcement reporting, most outdoor cannabis cultivation in 2006 appears to have occurred in Jackson, Grant, Josephine, Wheeler, and Linn Counties (see Table 11). Many of the cannabis cultivation operations in these counties have been located on remote lands in national forests and on tribal lands, primarily in the northwestern section of Oregon. Areas where cultivation has been particularly high include the Deschutes, Siskiyou, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests and Native American tribal lands, including the Umatilla Indian Reservation (see Maps 17 and 18 in Appendix B).

Table 11. Number of Outdoor Cannabis Plants Eradicated, Top 10 Counties in Oregon, 2006*

County Outdoor Cannabis Eradicated
1. Jackson 50,995
2. Grant 20,138
3. Josephine 15,739
4. Wheeler 12,000
5. Linn 11,113
6. Coos 7,899
7. Union 4,800
8. Tillamook 2,988
9. Douglas 2,836
10. Lane 2,531

Source: Oregon Department of Justice; Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program; U.S. Department of the Interior; U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
*Data for 2006 represent January through November 2006.

Primary Indoor Cultivation Areas

Indoor cannabis cultivation in Oregon is much less prominent than outdoor cultivation. According to the Oregon Department of Justice, indoor cannabis eradication is highest in Multnomah, followed by Lincoln, Douglas, and Marion Counties (see Table 12). Most indoor cannabis grow sites are controlled by Caucasian criminal groups and independent growers; however, anecdotal reporting indicates that Asian organizations have become increasingly involved in indoor cultivation over the past year. Caucasian criminal groups and independent growers typically operate indoor grow sites that average 50 to 100 plants per cultivation cycle, particularly in the Portland area (see Maps 19 and 20 in Appendix B).

Table 12. Number of Indoor Cannabis Plants Eradicated, Top 10 Counties in Oregon, 2006*

County Indoor Cannabis Eradicated
1. Multnomah 1,639
2. Lincoln 883
3. Douglas 475
4. Marion 444
5. Lane 335
6. Wasco 287
7. Benton 260
8. Klamath 257
9. Jackson 205
10. Coos 162

Source: Oregon Department of Justice; Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.
*Data for 2006 represent January through November 2006.

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Washington

Cannabis cultivation is increasing in Washington. Outdoor cannabis cultivation is expanding primarily because of increased cultivation by Mexican DTOs. Indoor cultivation--particularly in the Puget Sound area--also is increasing, as a result of an influx of Canadian-based Asian DTOs experienced in indoor cultivation techniques.

Washington Cultivation Statistics

Primary cultivation area: Eastern section of the state

Top five cultivation counties: Yakima, King, Franklin, Chelan, and Stevens

2006*
Total plants eradicated: 133,778
Total outdoor plants eradicated: 101,339
Total indoor plants eradicated: 32,439

2005
Total cannabis plants eradicated: 170,255


*County-level data represent January through November 2006 and include reporting from the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Outdoor Planting and Harvesting

Planting and harvesting times differ greatly in Washington, depending on the location in the state; Washington, much like Oregon, is divided into two distinct east and west sections that are separated by the Cascade Mountains. In the east, planting begins as early as March or April, with most planting occurring in May. Depending on the weather conditions during the summer months as well as other factors, including the use of cloned seedlings versus seeds, crops typically are harvested between August and September. West of the Cascade Mountains, planting and harvesting occur later in the year. Planting typically begins in June, and harvest occurs in September or early October.

Primary Outdoor Cultivation Areas

Cannabis cultivation in outdoor sites is most prevalent in eastern Washington because of the area's climate. Large outdoor growing operations in eastern Washington, which typically are controlled by Mexican DTOs, are usually located in remote areas near water sources on federal or state lands. Counties reporting the highest plant eradication for 2006 include Yakima, Franklin, Chelan, Stevens, and Benton (see Table 13). The Northwest HIDTA reports that the counties accounting for much of the outdoor cannabis cultivation in the state--which are largely the counties with the highest eradication--are Yakima, Chelan, Franklin, Grant, Benton, Douglas, and Ferry. Following the seizure of a single 64,000-plant plot on the Yakima Indian Reservation in 2004, many cultivators stopped planting large plots and now plant several smaller plots instead to reduce their losses if a plot is eradicated. Cultivators also commingle cannabis plants with legitimate crops such as corn and olive trees to conceal cannabis plants (see Maps 21 and 22 in Appendix B).

Table 13. Number of Outdoor Cannabis Plants Eradicated, Top 10 Counties in Washington, 2006*

County Outdoor Cannabis Eradicated
1. Yakima 51,730
2. Franklin 15,382
3. Chelan 7,802
4. Stevens 4,677
5. Benton 4,163
6. Grant 4,019
7. Grays Harbor County 3,319
8. Walla Walla County 3,102
9. Douglas County 1,588
10. Klickitat County 1,389

Source: Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area; Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program; U.S. Department of the Interior; U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
*Data for 2006 represent January through November 2006.

Primary Indoor Cultivation Areas

Indoor cannabis cultivation sites are typically operated by Caucasian independent growers and are more common in urban areas. However, some Vietnamese DTOs have relocated their high potency indoor cannabis cultivation operations from Canada to the Puget Sound area, primarily to avoid seizures of their marijuana at the U.S.-Canada border. As a result, there has been an increase in the availability of higher potency marijuana in local drug markets. King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties are the primary indoor cultivation areas for Asian DTOs and criminal groups, according to reporting from the Northwest HIDTA, DEA, and other law enforcement agencies. These counties are also among the highest overall indoor cannabis eradication counties in Oregon (see Table 14, and Maps 23 and 24 in Appendix B).

Table 14. Number of Indoor Cannabis Plants Eradicated, Top 10 Counties in Washington, 2006*

County Indoor Cannabis Eradicated
1. King 17,618
2. Whatcom 2,298
3. Pierce 2,077
4. Spokane 1,688
5. Stevens 1,650
6. Snohomish 1,488
7. Clark 1,366
8. Kitsap 1,095
9. Skagit 484
10. Thurston 441

Source: Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area; Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.
*Data for 2006 represent January through November 2006.

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Appalachian Region

Cannabis cultivation in the Appalachian Region of the United States occurs primarily in portions of Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. A relatively high poverty rate in these areas contributes to an acceptance of cannabis cultivation by many local residents. In some Appalachian counties, more than 30 percent of the population lives in poverty, and in impoverished communities some residents regard marijuana production as a necessary means of supplementing low incomes. In these communities cannabis cultivation is often a multigenerational trade as young family members are introduced to the trade by older members who have produced the drug for many years.

Kentucky

Kentucky Cultivation Statistics

Primary cultivation area: Southeastern section of the state

Top five cultivation counties: Knox, Bell, Leslie, Letcher, and Clay

2006*
Total plants eradicated: 527,820
Total outdoor plants eradicated: 526,691
Total indoor plants eradicated: 1,129

2005
Total cannabis plants eradicated: 736,991


*County-level data represent January through November 2006 and include reporting from the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Outdoor Planting and Harvesting

Cannabis growers in Kentucky typically cultivate plots between March and October; however, several factors, including the weather and the use of cloned starter plants, can extend or reduce the growing season. Cannabis planting in Kentucky typically starts in March. However, because the winter of 2006 was very mild, many growers who started their plants indoors were able to transplant the seedlings outside much earlier than in most years. Kentucky State Police Marijuana Suppression Unit reports that approximately 10 to 15 percent of all cultivators start their plants indoors. No discernible differences exist for planting and harvesting times in various regions of the state.

Primary Outdoor Cultivation Areas

Most outdoor cultivation in Kentucky occurs in the southeastern section of the state on remote areas of public and private lands; however, increased and improved eradication efforts have led some growers to shift their operations to counties with less eradication pressure. The highest eradication totals were reported in the southeastern section of Kentucky from January to November 2006 in the following counties: Knox, Bell, Leslie, Letcher, Clay, Perry, Breathitt, Wayne, Knott, and Whitley (see Table 15). The focused eradication in these counties has contributed to a shift toward cultivation in other counties. For example, law enforcement reporting indicates that cultivation in Breathitt County is increasing after years of decreased cultivation, largely because of eradication pressure in surrounding counties. In addition, since 2003, cultivation has been increasing in areas where commercial logging is occurring, especially in the Daniel Boone National Forest. After land has been cleared as a result of logging operations, criminal groups and independent growers use the space for cannabis cultivation. Most cannabis cultivation operations in Kentucky are composed of families or small groups rather than large DTOs. These groups typically plant smaller plots, having averaged 67 plants per site in 2006 (see Maps 25, 26, 27, and 28 in Appendix B).

Table 15. Number of Outdoor Cannabis Plants Eradicated, Top 10 Counties in Kentucky, 2006*

County Outdoor Cannabis Eradicated
1. Knox 48,670
2. Bell 39,877
3. Leslie 37,848
4. Letcher 35,814
5. Clay 30,580
6. Perry 30,344
7. Breathitt 29,847
8. Wayne 24,327
9. Knott 23,026
10. Whitley 20,188

Source: Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program; U.S. Department of the Interior; U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
*Data for 2006 represent January through November 2006.

Indoor Cultivation Areas

Eradication data and law enforcement reporting reveal that indoor cannabis cultivation is limited in Kentucky but may be increasing. According to DCE/SP data for 2006, 1,027 plants were eradicated from 35 indoor grow operations in Kentucky as of November 30. However, law enforcement agencies report that they have been unable to locate several other indoor grow sites operating within the state. Eradication data indicate that the limited indoor cultivation in the state occurs primarily in Greenup, Bullitt, Meade, and Nelson Counties (see Table 16, and Maps 29 and 30 in Appendix B).

Table 16. Number of Indoor Cannabis Plants Eradicated, Top 10 Counties in Kentucky, 2006*

County Indoor Cannabis Eradicated
1. Greenup 256
2. Bullitt 216
3. Meade 124
4. Nelson 103
5. Fayette 83
6. Hardin 67
7. Larue 62
8. Boone 27
9. McLean 27
10. Jackson 24

Source: Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.
*Data for 2006 represent January through November 2006.

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Tennessee

Tennessee Cultivation Statistics

Primary cultivation area: Cumberland Valley and Smokey Mountains in the northeastern and southwestern sections of the state

Top five cultivation counties: Warren, Cumberland, Fentress, Morgan, and Wayne

2006*
Total plants eradicated: 662,135
Total outdoor plants eradicated: 662,024
Total indoor plants eradicated: 111

2005
Total cannabis plants eradicated: 463,557


*County-level data represent January through November 2006 and include reporting from the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Outdoor Planting and Harvesting

Cannabis cultivation operations in Tennessee generally extend from March through October; the primary planting season is late March and early April. However, some cultivators have been able to harvest a first crop in June and replant for a second crop. Generally, September and October are the prime harvesting months. Harvesting times in Tennessee do not differ from one region of the state to another.

Primary Outdoor Cultivation Areas

A great amount of high potency marijuana is produced in Tennessee by local Caucasian producers for sale both within and outside the region. Primary outdoor cultivation areas are located in remote areas with good growing climates, such as the Smokey Mountains of southeastern Tennessee and the Cumberland Plateau of northeastern Tennessee. The numerous streams, creeks, and rivers within these areas help provide cultivation sites with the necessary water to support plant growth during the summer months. Of the top five cannabis eradication counties in Tennessee in 2006, four were located in the Cumberland Plateau: Warren, Cumberland, Fentress, and Morgan. On the extreme western side of the Highland Rim in the middle section of the state, Wayne, Hickman, and Lawrence Counties also reported high plant eradication in 2006 (see Table 17). Although these counties account for most of the cultivation in Tennessee, significant cannabis cultivation occurs in other counties, but it fluctuates from year to year. In fact, counties where cultivation has been dormant for several years have reemerged as significant sources of marijuana. For example, the number of cannabis plants eradicated in Sequatchie County in the Cumberland Valley--a county where cultivation had been low for several years--increased from 783 plants in 2005 to 10,846 plants in 2006, according to DCE/SP data (see Maps 31, 32, 33, and 34 in Appendix B).

Table 17. Number of Outdoor Cannabis Plants Eradicated, Top 10 Counties in Tennessee, 2006*

County Outdoor Cannabis Eradicated
1. Warren 181,671
2. Cumberland 88,919
3. Fentress 43,828
4. Morgan 42,121
5. Wayne 40,641
6. Van Buren 37,308
7. Hickman 27,853
8. Grundy 26,757
9. Lawrence 26,553
10. Campbell 19,662

Source: Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.
*Data for 2006 represent January through November 2006.

Primary Indoor Cultivation Areas

Indoor cannabis cultivation in Tennessee is limited. In 2005, DCE/SP data showed that only 653 plants were seized from 3 counties and most (611 plants) were seized in Cocke County, followed by Montgomery County (33), and Campbell County (9) (see Map 35 in Appendix B). As of November 2006, DCE/SP did not report any indoor grow operation seizures in the state of Tennessee. Although indoor cultivation is limited, law enforcement has seized advanced indoor grow operations in past years (see text box). Although not reported to DCE/SP, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) seized a single indoor grow operation in Franklin County in June 2006, resulting in the eradication of 111 plants.

Indoor Cannabis Operation Seized From Cave Under Residence

In December 2005 the 15th Judicial District Task Force (JDTF), assisted by the 18th JDTF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Lafayette Police Department, and the Trousdale County Sheriff's Office seized a sophisticated indoor cannabis operation in Hartsville, Trousdale County, Tennessee. The indoor operation was located in a man-made cave cut into the limestone under and adjacent to a private residence and was capable of producing six grows per year. Law enforcement officials seized 853 plants under cultivation. The entrance was sealed with a hydraulic door, and the growing area was equipped with custom irrigation systems and lighting, as well as humidity control devices.

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West Virginia

West Virginia Cultivation Statistics

Primary cultivation area: Southwestern section of the state

Top five cultivation counties: Monroe, Wayne, Logan, Kanawha, and Clay

2006*
Total plants eradicated: 64,974
Total outdoor plants eradicated: 63,809
Total indoor plants eradicated: 1,165

2005
Total cannabis plants eradicated: 57,600


*County-level data represent January through November 2006 and include reporting from the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Outdoor Planting and Harvesting

Cannabis cultivation in West Virginia extends from March through October. Cannabis typically is planted in March or April, tended through the summer, and harvested in September or early October.

Primary Outdoor Cultivation Areas

The amount of cannabis cultivated in West Virginia is lower than that of other areas in the Appalachian Region; the marijuana produced usually is consumed locally. The amount of marijuana produced in West Virginia does not come close to supplying demand throughout the state; therefore, a significant amount of Mexican marijuana is smuggled to West Virginia. Cannabis cultivation is often a primary source of income for residents in southwestern portions of West Virginia, the primary cultivation area in the state, which generally is economically depressed, with an unemployment rate of nearly 50 percent. This section of the state is particularly conducive to cannabis cultivation because of the vast tracts of remote, mountainous terrain in the Appalachian Mountains, consistent rainfall, and moderate temperatures during the growing season. According to 2005 and 2006 eradication data and law enforcement reporting, the primary counties for cannabis eradication include Monroe, Wayne, Logan, Kanawha, Clay, Mingo, Boone, Mason, McDowell, and Gilmer (see Table 18). The West Virginia Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Teams Eradication Unit reports that it discovers an average of 600 cannabis cultivation sites each year in the southwestern region. Although most plots are relatively small, at least six sites in this region contained at least 1,000 plants each in 2006 (see Maps 36, 37, 38, and 39 in Appendix B).

Table 18. Number of Outdoor Cannabis Plants Eradicated, Top 10 Counties* in West Virginia, 2006**

County Outdoor Cannabis Eradicated
1. Monroe 17,505
2. Wayne 12,906
3. Logan 9,709
4. Kanawha 6,027
5. Clay 4,543
6. Mingo 4,221
7. Boone 3,229
8. Mason 1,542
9. McDowell 1,150
10. Gilmer 780

Source: Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program; U.S. Department of the Interior; U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
*As of January 2007, data for 2006 were available for HIDTA counties only.
**Data for 2006 represent January through November 2006.

Primary Indoor Cultivation Areas

Indoor cultivation in West Virginia is far more limited than outdoor cultivation; however, the eradication and investigation of indoor operations is increasing because of a rise in law enforcement resources committed to such investigations in some counties. According to DCE/SP, the number of indoor operations seized increased from 34 in 2005 to 60 in 2006, but the number of plants eradicated rose from 843 to 1,165 during that same period. Most of the plants (1,151 of 1,165) eradicated in 2006 were eradicated from 14 sites in Kanawha and Gilmer Counties (see Table 19, and Maps 40 and 41 in Appendix B).

Table 19. Number of Indoor Cannabis Plants Eradicated, Top 5 Counties* in West Virginia, 2006**

County Indoor Cannabis Eradicated
1. Kanawha 845
2. Gilmer 306
3. Mason 6
4. Boone 5
5. Logan 3

Source: Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.
*As of January 2007, data for 2006 were available for HIDTA counties only.
**Data for 2006 represent January through November 2006.


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