Vermont State Police cutting back on cannabis eradication flyovers due to budget concerns


Good news clandestine, outdoor cannabis growers of Vermont: funding for the aerial-surveillance/eradication program in your state has dropped considerably in order to divert resources to real drugs like opiates and meth.

“Very frankly, we want to make sure that we are utilizing our law-enforcement resources in Vermont in the best way possible,” Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn told the Barre-Mont Montpelier Times Argus last week. “And when we look at heroin and opiates and other drugs causing an increase in break-ins and burglaries and drug-store robberies, that becomes the emphasis for us.”
Vermont state police depend on funding from the feds for their program, mostly to cover police overtime.In all, state law enforcement have about 25,000 set aside for the program for 2012 2013, down $9,000 from 2011. And even now it’s arguably a waste of resources. In 2012 a mere 1,500 outdoor and indoor plants combined were seized in Vermont. A total of 14 people were arrested in 2012 due to the cannabis eradication program – down 35 from 2010.
The move to shift funding to other drugs also comes in part to the growing tolerance for cannabis in Vermont (not that it wasn’t a pretty pot-friendly place in the past). The state just recently decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis and even the sitting governor says marijuana should eventually be taxed and regulated.
As Flynn told the Times Argus: “We’re not flying over looking for a single plant growing in somebody’s back yard — I think that’s probably the best way to put it. We’re looking for grow operations that appear to be more on the commercial side. I’m more concerned about a large quantity than I am for an amount the Legislature said should be decriminalized.”