DENVER – Law enforcement agencies busted a large-scale illegal marijuana grow and distribution operation across Colorado Thursday morning. Here are five things you need to know about the raids:
Where did the raids occur?
The Drug Enforcement Agency, which assisted local law enforcement agencies in the raids, says there were 20 locations in Denver, Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and El Paso counties.
Denver7 crews watched as crews pulled plants out of a warehouse at 37th and Salem in Denver late Thursday morning after prior raids in the 7300 block of Valdi Court in Aurora and at a house in Castle Rock.
How long has operation been under investigation?
The DEA says the investigation of the still-unnamed organization has been ongoing for months, even prior to the transfer to the new administration. It also noted that there have been several other raids on illegal marijuana grows under the Obama administration.
How much marijuana was confiscated?
The court documents in the case are sealed, but it’s likely the raids netted thousands of pounds of marijuana. A Denver7 crew watched as at least 2,000 plants were taken out of a Denver warehouse alone.
Why is this marijuana illegal?
The DEA says that the illegal operations were selling exclusively outside of Colorado, which is a violation of state and federal law.
The Colorado Legislature is currently hashing out at least two bills aimed at cracking down on illegal marijuana grows. One of the bills would limit medical patients to grow only 16 plants – down from the current number of 99 – in an effort to further hamper illegal grows.
Local jurisdictions are allowed under state law to establish grow limits for recreational users, but the state law has capped the limit at six.
But large-scale growers have to have special licenses and oversight and are required to sell their product inside the state.
Were today’s raids part of a federal crackdown
Though there has been much apprehension over what new Attorney General Jeff Sessions will do when it comes to overseeing federal law enforcement regarding state laws on legal marijuana, the DEA says Thursday’s raids were not part of a new directive.
Sessions has made some conflicting statements in recent weeks, both saying that marijuana should be a states’ rights issue and also saying that he believes marijuana use is similar to people using heroin.