Browsing: Growing

Photo: Seattle P.I.
A federal agent carries plants away during the bust of a 16,742-plant grow operation at Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Washington state.

​Due to the enormous profits made possible by marijuana prohibition, Mexican drug gangs are taking over U.S. public land to grow cannabis, using smuggled immigrants to cultivate the plants.

Pot has been grown on public lands for decades, report Alicia A. Caldwell and Manuel Valdes of the Associated Press, but Mexican cartels have taken clandestine cannabis cultivation to a whole new level, using armed guards and trip wires to secure grow operations containing tens of thousands of plants.

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Photo: 9News
Chris Bartkowicz’s garden is going up in smoke… but not the fun way

​If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what’s happening to the 224 beautiful marijuana plants seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration from that guy who was really good at pot farming but not so much when it came to discretion

Well, there’s no easy way to say this. They’re gonna burn ’em.

Highlands Ranch, Colorado medical pot farmer Chris Bartkowicz didn’t mind bragging as he told TV reporters he spent $500,000 constructing his basement grow operation, and expected to rake in $400,000 this year for his crop.

Photo: Portage County Jail
Robert Batsch: Another victim of the war on pot

​Police said a 55-year-old man killed himself Tuesday after he and his wife were charged with child endangering in connection with growing marijuana.

Robert Batsch and his wife Pamela, 54, of Rootstown, Ohio, were arrested Monday on warrants of allowing a juvenile to live in their home where marijuana was being grown. Their son told school officials about the marijuana, which led to a police investigation, reports Michael Sangiacomo of
Pamela found Robert’s body with a .22 rifle in the woods behind their home about noon on Tuesday, according to Portage County Sheriff David Doak.
A spokesman for the Portage County Coroner said Batsch’s death would be declared a suicide.

Photo: KTVQ

​Law enforcement agencies say they have faced a bit of a struggle since medical marijuana was approved in Montana in 2004, reports Nikki Laurenzo at KTVQ.

“We are in a quandary because we have conflict between state law and federal law,” said Billings Police Chief Rich St. John.
No quandary at all, Chief. Your duty is to enforce state laws. Leave the federal laws to federal agents. Problem solved!

Graphic: Phawker

​New Jersey farmers see a chance to add a profitable new crop now that the state legalized medical marijuana last month.

“We would all like to grow it because we think it would be a good cash crop — literally,” said Fairfield, N.J., nurseryman Roger Ruske, reports Joseph P. Smith of the Vineland Daily Journal.
The idea is being taken seriously ever since outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine, in one of his last official acts, signed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.
The New Jersey Farm Bureau has looked into the issue in depth, and found both good news and problems with the concept.
Farm Bureau research associate Ed Wengryn said the legislation isn’t written clearly enough for the state Department of Health and Senior Services to write regulations.
“But I will say there are growers interested in it,” Wengryn said.

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Photo: 9News
DEA agents bag and remove marijuana plants from the home of Chris Bartkowicz during their February 12 raid of his home

​A federal judge ruled Friday that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) must keep 10 marijuana plants with roots along with 10 clone starts taken from a medical marijuana grower while he awaits trial on drug charges.

Joseph Saint-Velktri, attorney for defendant Chris Bartkowicz, appeared in federal court Friday morning after filing a motion which asks the federal government to preserve all of the plants taken from Bartkowicz’s home last week, reports Nicole Vap Jace Larson at 9News.
DEA agents brought into the courtroom a box of the marijuana taken from Bartkowicz’s home to show the state of the plants. The marijuana shown in court still had its root system, and appeared wilted but not dried.

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Photo: 9News
Chris Bartkowicz bragged about his $500,000 basement grow operation and expected $400,000 profits. Hours later, he was busted.

​Federal prosecutors Tuesday filed drug-distribution charges against a Colorado man who operated a large marijuana garden in his basement that he said legally served medical marijuana patients.

Chris Bartkowicz, charged with a single count, could face up to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post.
Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided Bartkowicz’s suburban home in Highlands Ranch, Colo., last week and seized 224 marijuana plants after he boasted in a television news report about his basement garden, predicting $400,000 profits this year.

Photo: DEA

​A British prison inmate turned an empty office into a marijuana farm while out on day release for “work experience.”

Disgraced businessman Christopher Sanders had been given time out by Sudbury Prison officials to find a job on the outside, in preparation for being released early from a seven-and-a-half-year prison stretch for fraud, according to the Daily Mail.
The 41-year-old instead spent £10,000 (more than $15,000) of his savings on high-tech equipment to grow a crop of cannabis.

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9 News
Bartkowicz in the midst of giving the ill-advised interview which destroyed everything for which he had worked so hard

​A Colorado man accused of running an illegal marijuana grow operation in his basement will likely appear later this week in federal court after a raid took place at his Highlands Ranch home.

The case of Chris Bartkowicz has ignited a battle between medical marijuana advocates and the U.S. Justice Department, reports Valerie Castro of CBS 4 Denver.
Jeffrey Sweetin, special agent in charge of the Denver office of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, oversaw the Friday raid of Bartkowicz’s home and subsequent arrest of the licensed medical marijuana provider after Bartkowicz bragged on television about his profitable grow op.

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Photo: 9 News
Chris Bartkowicz in his $500,000 basement grow operation, just hours before his loose lips sunk the ship

​Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents have raided a Highlands Ranch, Colorado home just hours after a television news story teaser aired in which the homeowner boasted of $400,000 profits he hoped to garner this year from his medical marijuana grow operation.

This rapid unfolding of events serves to highlight a couple of should-be-obvious lessons that some in Colorado’s burgeoning medical marijuana scene have evidently yet to learn, among them, perhaps, “Never brag about six-figure pot profits in front of TV cameras, even if you’re sure you are legal.”
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