Marijuana seizure in Pike National Forest: Were the 3,000 plants really worth $9 million?

pike national forest grow bust september 2011 cropped.jpg
Big pics below.
In its first announcement about the seizure of more than 3,000 marijuana plants from a plot in Pike National Forest, an ultra-popular place for illegal grows (more on that later), the Douglas County Sheriff's Office estimated that the weed was worth $900,000. However, that was later altered to $9 million -- which suggests that there's been some major inflation in recent years.

In August 2009, we reported about the discovery of more than 14,000 marijuana plants in Pike -- and while authorities hadn't put a dollar amount on its worth when that post was published, 5,100 pot plants taken from Pike that July were predicted to have generated around $2.5 million.

So... 2,000 fewer plants are now worth nearly four times that much two years later? My computational skills are rusty, but that seems like a mammoth increase -- especially considering that a seizure of 3,000 marijuana plants near Raymond in August 2010 was valued at $500,000. But none of the news agencies reporting about this story, including the Denver Post and the Huffington Post, have questioned the $9 million figure.

Of course, not all plants are created equal. Check out the photos provided by the DCSO below -- and then you do the math.

pike national forest grow 2.jpg

pike national forest grow 3.jpg

Photos continue on next page.

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Pttrade999
Pttrade999

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Manic Vice
Manic Vice

9 million? Really?

Over-inflating your figures much?That much weed isn't even worth 1 million.

Idiot cops, always trying to make themselves look better than they are.Leave stoners alone, they have a right to ingest whatever they want into their bodies.

BingoBob
BingoBob

I hope we can stop things like this from happening.  Our MMJ community is starting to become well regulated and so far it has been enough to keep raids from happening in centers.  If things like this keep going on I can see the DEA start coming around more...

Scott Greene
Scott Greene

HAHA!!! Good Job Michael and the rest of the Westword team

hicks
hicks

I got into an email exchange with jen at huffingtonpost.com back in Dec. about this article:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

Which states " Officers recovered 97 marijuana plants, 2,960 grams of marijuana and a small amount of cocaine. The estimated street value of the drugs is $1,043,000." - that equates to over $350 a gram for "designer weed".

Who here has got or has paid $350 a gram?

guest
guest

Testing to see if this lets me post as sarahmichelle, like it seems to be.The rows are not what allow it to be seen.  It's a shade darker than it's surrounding area, and has a bluish feathery appearance from above.

In addition, using FLIR  Forward Looking Infra Red optics, the chem process that makes THC increases the temp of the plant by .5 degree's F.  Which can be detected by FLIR.

No, I did not sleep at a Holiday Inn, I used to have a real fun summer job....  :)

TXL

Michelle LaMay
Michelle LaMay

Thank you Westword…many of your readers would believe the propaganda without your exposure. Good, independent INFORMATION, pushing back against government propaganda  in Colorado, is almost nonexistent.

MMJ Guest
MMJ Guest

Couple of facts:1) current value of a pound in the MMJ industry is $1600.  Used to be as high as $3000, but commercialization and competition has driven that down.  I work with two very large warehouses, 1000's of plants, and that's what they are selling for wholesale.

2) indoor yield of a plant is 1 pound, if you are very good at it.  Now, I can also say from personal experience that outdoor yields can be 2 or 3 times that, depending on when they went into the ground. There is just no real substitute for real sunlight.  However, based on the photos none of these plants would yield more then a pound.

So, by those estimates we're talking $4.8M.  It would have been very easy for the government to seize these plants, wholesale them to the many businesses working legally within the MMJ industry (I am sure the businesses would've volunteered to transplant all of them), and make at least $3.5M to put towards schools, roads, or anything else more useful the a huge fire.

MADDOG66
MADDOG66

WHAT A JOKE THESE CLOWNS ARE WHEN IT COMES TO TELLING THE TRUTH!!!!

John
John

This is a travesty. How preposterous that the government can swoop in and confiscate bails and bails of plants, grown in the wild, to be consumed with no greater malice than a mug of beer. Why is this still allowed in this country. Stop the terrorizing of innocent people who are minding their own business. Its my body and I'm gonna smoke until my lungs cave in. And anyone who tries to stop me is gonna meet the fury. That's right.

George Lowry
George Lowry

Actually these grows are pretty nasty business.

The days of Mendocino County hippie grows are long gone.  Shooting wars are now the order of the day. 

The people tending the narcotraficante grows (in US National Forests!) are de facto hostages. They are told that if they fail to get an adequate crop in, family members back home will suffer the consequences.  The cultivation practices result in environmental messes that have to be remediated.  Wandering in a National Forest nowadays risks stumbling on to a grow and being shot and buried for your trouble. 

It's less to do with the criminalized nature of the enterprise and more to do with the rather high street value that the crops represent.  The sudden discovery/insertion of a high-value resource into an economy almost never bodes well for the incumbent residents of the area.  The California Gold Rush condemned entire native societies.  Sudden oil wealth has disrupted Arab societies to the point where an annual bribe to citizens is necessary. 

Fracking is just the most recent example of this sudden appearance of a high-value resource  phenomenon.

Manic Vice
Manic Vice

Which is why weed should be legalized, taxed and produced properly.

This will have the positive effect of:1. Reducing environmental damage from grow-ops in the forest.2. Employing workers in the Supply and Demand of this new crop (which sells more than the US's primary grain, wheat.)3. Tax income from creating a new industry that is already in high demand.4. De-valuing street merchandise, allowing legitimate sellers to make a living, and forcing gangs/drug lords to move their business model to a new product.5. People don't die in illegal grow-ops.

I fail to see how any of these 5 things are bad.

Leonard J Krabbs
Leonard J Krabbs

"It's less to do with the criminalized nature of the enterprise and more to do with the rather high street value that the crops represent."

I love it.  Let's apply George's cognitive dissonance elsewhere!

1. The man who eats fast food all day's fatness has less to do with eating fast food all day and more to do with his body containing excess fat.

2. Dying from being shot in the head has less to do with being shot in the head and more to do with the presence of bullet-shaped head holes. 

3. Driving 20 MPH on the freeway after getting stoned has less to do with smoking pot and more to do with experiencing a state of altered perception.

NtropiK
NtropiK

The 'rather high street value the crops represent' is due to the criminalized nature.  Marijuana is easy to grow.  It's value is inflated by it's legal status.  If you criminalize the growth of tomatoes, eventually pizza hut and dominoes are going to get into gun fights over the 3000 dollar jar of tomato sauce.

Manic Vice
Manic Vice

You realize that has nothing to do with it, right?The cops are blowing hot air out their asses, that's all.That crop isn't worth 1/9th of what they estimate.

Such a bunch of liars.

Gork
Gork

Aww blow it out your ass George (loading the bowl...)

Maggie Ahrens
Maggie Ahrens

Honestly - just like alcohol prohibition, once it's legal for adults then there will be no street value.  (who sells illegal cigarettes?  What would be the point?)  That'll kill one arm of organized crime, and put money back into the hands of people who need it. 

It will also reduce prison populations, keep families from being broken up, and redirect the police to what they should be preventing; rape, murder, and theft.

I'd like to know who's the victim here.  If a person wants to safely and responsibly have a glass of wine or smoke some marijuana,,  that's their right and their responsibility.

CptnSpldng
CptnSpldng

"(W)ho sells illegal cigarettes?  What would be the point?"

Which illegal cigarettes? The ones sold one or two at a time from the chicken store to anyone (including teens) who can't afford to drop $7-8 on a single pack?  The cartons missing the state's tax stamp which are sold out of the back of some street vendor's trunk?

It's all around you, Maggie.

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

True, but that is an illegal market (once again) created by the government.  The actual price of cigarettes is pretty low.  The price you pay at the store is much higher thanks to the government's love of sin taxes.

MeanDean
MeanDean

That's as may be, but there aren't a whole lot of cigarette smugglers having shootouts with rival cigarette-smuggling gangs.

Manic Vice
Manic Vice

Or because you just don't care to... because cigarettes are easily available to anyone who wants one (of legal age or not).

This is why weed must be legalized, so it can provide an additional benefit to our society, taxes.

hicks
hicks

It's only because us smoker's don't have the energy for shootouts.

Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

The more the $$ amount the more important the bust !!!Now they can ask for an increase in their budget !!!Where are the Republicans when we need them to STOP BIG GOVERNMENT ???

DanMcD
DanMcD

Nobody in their right mind accepts anything that any police organization says at face value. They are professional liars, by training and policy.

Nobody
Nobody

For 9 million dollars? That's not just regular weed they got there. That's got to be the legendary Headbanger Boogie. It'll make you write some super crazy ill bombs!Over 9000 of them, even.

Dopstad
Dopstad

So if im not wrong, it's somewhere about 66$ or 370 NOK for each gram. Guess healthier options will always be expensive.

Artor
Artor

The street value of MJ is dropping like a rock, as more & more people are getting medical clearance to grow their own. I've heard of dealers who have had to get straight jobs because they can't give the stuff away anymore. As a smoker myself, I haven't had to pay money for herb in over a year; every time I'm close to running out, someone just gives me a bag of high-quality herb, just 'cause. The DEA must be high on stronger stuff than I smoke to come up with those numbers.

KaDargo
KaDargo

This is what happens when people are not allowed to grow cannabis in their backyards...

Sharpshooter
Sharpshooter

I thought I'd relate an enjoyable story about the United States Federal Government and their idea of common sense:

One day, a farmer is out working in his field. Suddenly, a black Suburban with tinted windows and whip antennas all over it comes pulling into his dooryard.Out steps a 6'5" bruiser wearing dark sunglasses, dressed in camoflage. The giant goes to the farmer and introduces himself as a DEA agent.He informs the farmer that he is there to search his property for any illicit drugs or illegal farming activity. The farmer says, "Well, okay." The farmer then points to another field on his property, surrounded by barbed wire. "But if I were you, " the farmer says, "I wouldn't go looking around in there."The DEA agent gets pissed off. "Just who in the hell do you think you are?," he yells at the farmer. The agent reaches into his camo jacket and whips out his shiny badge."Do you see this badge? This badge gives me the power to go wherever I please, day or night, with your permission OR without it. It says that I'm an agent of the United States Federal Government, and it's all I need to do whatever the hell I please. Now, if you've got any back talk about it, I'll show you my handcuffs!"The farmer shrugs and says, "Well, okay. Good luck to you, Mr. Agent," and the farmer goes back to his chores. The DEA agent puffs out his chest and strides away. He leaps the fence into the farmers field and disappears from view. About ten minutes later, the farmer hears a great commotion from the field. He looks up and sees the DEA agent running hell bent for leather back towards the farmer,pursued closely by the farmer's extremely enraged 1800 pound bull. The DEA agent is frantic. "Don't just STAND there, you idiot!," the agent screams. "Do something! Help me!"The farmer drops his tools, cups his hands to his mouth and screams back at the agent, "SHOW HIM YOUR BADGE! SHOW HIM YOUR BADGE!"

Citizen80919
Citizen80919

You forgot the part where the DEA agent emptied his 50 cal. into the bull then arrested the farmer for assaulting an officer and conspiracy of something insignificant.  The farmer was then beaten and tazed for resisting arrest after being handcuffed.  The family farm for 6 generations was later seized for having halide lights in the milking barn and ditch weed growing out in the ditch.

Welcome to the "Land of the Free" ... We don't fuck around here!

GetReal
GetReal

Given that $9,000,000 divided by 3,000 plants comes to $3,000 a plant...

I've seen people selling plants on Graig's List for up to $150, but never have I seen anyone asking $3,000.  Wow, they must have had the potential for lot's of bud!

At least the DEA has come down from their older estimate that a plant is worth $5,200...

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

I was hoping someone else would do the math. Thanks, GetReal.

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

It is kind of hard to tell how big the plants are from the pictures but I'd say they can't be any bigger than a QP each (and that seems like a stretch).  So, let's just give the "DEA and their boyfriends" (love that line btw) some slack and say each plant produces a QP.  That would net 750 pounds from the whole crop, which would mean they are getting $12,000 a pound. 

That shit better be good...

LarryQ5
LarryQ5

Instead of going thru all that trouble of destroying all those meds, wouldn't it have been more prudent to have auctioned the crop off to the MMJ community and used the proceeds for the good of mankind?

Guest 2
Guest 2

That makes way too much sense for the any Sheriff's department.

William Breathes
William Breathes

It was only august when those plants were pulled. Unfortunately, I highly doubt any of them had reached anything near maturity at that point -- which makes the $9 million price tag even more unbelievable.

even those plants in the pic above hanging to dry don't look that full...

Max Palugula
Max Palugula

if you look at the pictures from the 2.5mil bust, those look like they were in a vegetative state still. no buds at all, just fan leaves. the string of plants in this one definitely looks like it has a significant amount of smoke able product. this could account for the price discrepancy; a clone is worth $15, a whole plant is worth >$1000. 

Hayleybob
Hayleybob

You can see some bud sticks hanging to dry in a photo, some of it was at least nearly readily processed.

Deez Nuts!
Deez Nuts!

I think the DEA missed a decimal point.  I agree, that they look pretty weak.  I couldn't see them each having more than an ounce after they were dried and clipped, and assuming they could find some moron who would pay $300/ounce for crappy, outdoor mountain schwag with all of the seeds & bugs, that tops out at $900k.  They were probably counting the weight of the sticks and dirt that clumped to the roots when pulled out of the ground, just like how they used to (and maybe still do) include the weight of plastic bags and paraphernalia in their busts.

Guest
Guest

If theyd quit planting that shit in rows it wouldnt be so easy to see from the air.....

Manic Vice
Manic Vice

Yup, seems pretty dumb on the part of the growers, huh?

Guest
Guest

"A man was stopped today carrying an ounce of marijuana. Officials estimate the street value of the marijuana at 17 billion dollars."

As long as the DEA and their boyfriends get to stomp throught the woods with guns and body armor, all will be well for the citizens of "the land of the free".

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