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DENVER (AP) — Authorities said Friday they raided hundreds of black market marijuana operations in Colorado that flouted the state’s cannabis law by growing tens of thousands of plants in Denver-area homes and selling the drugs out of state.
Investigators seized more than 80,000 plants and 4,500 pounds (2,040 kilograms) of harvested marijuana, state and federal prosecutors said at a news conference. Officers raided 247 homes and eight businesses and arrested 42 people in Denver and seven nearby counties.
State - Law - Marijuana - Plants - Residence
State law allows up to 12 marijuana plants per residence for personal use, but some of the homes had more than 1,000 and many had hundreds, said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.
Colorado and nine other states have broadly legalized marijuana use but it remains illegal under federal law. That has created tension between some state and federal officials.
George - Brauchler - District - Attorney - South
But George Brauchler, district attorney for the south and east Denver suburbs, stressed the investigation was a joint state-federal operation, not the U.S. Department of Justice imposing its will on Colorado.
“Make no mistake, we are equal partners in this,” Brauchler said.
State - Officials - Investigation - Marijuana - Voters
State and federal officials said the nearly three-year investigation showed that illegal marijuana trafficking mushroomed after voters approved recreational use in 2012.
Dunn said Colorado has become the epicenter for a nationwide black market in marijuana.
Brauchler - Colorado - West - Weed - Provision
Brauchler warned that Colorado is becoming “the wild West of weed.” He said the provision in the law that allows small-scale home marijuana cultivation opened the door to big, illegal operations.
Brauchler warned that other states considering allowing home...
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