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A high-risk crop

By A Treasure Coast essay by Paul Janensch


Fort Pierce, FL – In 2010, more marijuana grow houses were seized in Florida than in any other state, according to recently released figures from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. We even beat California. On the Treasure Coast, raids on grow houses are down, but this illegal indoor farming is still going on. Just check the headlines on TCPalm.com. More than 100 marijuana plants seized in Martin County grow house. 126 pounds of marijuana found in Okeechobee grow house. Six years ago, raids on grow houses were more frequent around here. Port St. Lucie was dubbed "Pot St. Lucie" by those who thought they were being funny. Law-abiding residents there were not amused. In a grow house, marijuana is raised in nutrient-rich water under high-powered lighting, which requires constant cooling. Florida is popular with indoor pot growers because a house that runs air conditioning all the time is not so suspicions. Each hydroponic plant yields about three pounds of marijuana annually. So in a year, 100 plants in one grow house can produce a lot of pot. Of course, neighbors may wonder why the curtains are always closed and the house gives off a skunky odor. They call the cops, and the grower is arrested. Growing pot in a house can bring in some dough. But it also can land you in prison.
Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.