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Americans Grow Cannabis To Beat The Recession
Some people cancel holidays abroad, others stage yard sales or start shopping at low-cost supermarkets. To that list must now be added a new way to get through economic hard times: grow cannabis.
Law enforcers on the west coast of the US and in the middle states straddled by the foothills of the Appalachian mountains are reporting a common trend. It is boom time for marijuana cultivation, and much of the incentive they say is to beat the recession.
So far this year, police in parts of the country where cannabis is traditionally grown have chopped down plants with a street value of $12bn. The core growing area is in California, Washington and Oregon to the west, but the Appalachian states of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia are also witnessing an explosion.
More than 600,000 cannabis plants have been cut and burned in those states this summer, reversing a previous decline in production brought about by stringent law enforcement. It is not only the quantity of crop that is on the rise, the nature of the growers is also changing.
Ed Shemelya, who leads the marijuana eradication programme in the Appalachia region, says a new type of grower is emerging wholly different to the family cartels that have cultivated the drug for generations. "We are seeing a lot more individuals who wouldn't normally be growing marijuana. They are not your professionals." Read more.