Logan County law enforcement officials, tipped by anonymous callers seized between 2,000 and 3,000 plants on Wednesday afternoon. Officials from the Logan County Sheriff's Office, Russellville and Adairville Police, and the ATF received the first tip from two tobacco farmers who discovered a stand of marijuana while planting their tobacco crop.
A second tipster led police to another stand where the bulk of the plants seized was found. Sheriff Whitaker estimates the total street value of the plants seized at close to $1 million. Whitaker says he believes that such a large and mature crop found so early in the traditional growing season could mean a long summer for law enforcement.
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Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in America today. The term marijuana refers to the leaves and flowering tops of the cannabis plant.
A tobacco-like substance produced by drying the leaves and flowering tops of the cannabis plant, marijuana varies significantly in its potency, depending on the source and selection of plant materials used.
Sinsemilla, which is derived from the un-pollinated female cannabis plant, and hashish, the resinous material of the cannabis plant, are popular with users because of their high concentration of THC. THC is believed to be the chemical responsible for most of the psychoactive effects of the plant.
Marijuana is usually smoked in the form of loosely rolled cigarettes called joints or hollowed-out commercial cigars called blunts.
Joints and blunts may be laced with a number of adulterants including phencyclidine (PCP), substantially altering the effects and toxicity of these products. Street names for marijuana include pot, grass, weed, mary jane, acupulco gold, and reefer.
Although marijuana grown in the United States was once considered inferior because of its low concentration of THC, advancements in plant selection and cultivation have resulted in highly potent domestic marijuana.
For example, the average THC content of U.S.-produced sinsemilla has risen from 3.2 percent in 1977 to 12.8 percent in 1997.
Marijuana contains known toxins and cancer-causing chemicals that are stored in fat cells of users for up to several months.
Marijuana users experience the same health problems as tobacco smokers, such as bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchial asthma.
Some of the effects of marijuana use also include increased heart rate, dryness of the mouth, reddening of the eyes, impaired motor skills and concentration, and frequent hunger.
Extended use increases risk to the lungs and reproductive system, as well as suppression of the immune system. Occasionally, hallucinations, fantasies, and paranoia are reported.
The number of marijuana-related emergency room episodes, which are tracked by the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), has steadily increased from 15,706 in 1990, to 87,150 in 1999.
Many of these visits can be attributed to the fact that the potency of marijuana has also increased during that same time period.
The 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) estimated that 5.1 percent (11.2 million) of the population aged twelve and older were monthly marijuana or hashish users, which is the same rate as in 1991 but considerably lower than the rate of 13.2 percent in 1979.
NHSDA also found that the number of first-time marijuana users in 1998 (2.3 million) increased significantly compared to 1989 (1.4 million).
In addition, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy's 1998 Drug Control Strategy, marijuana is the most prevalent illegal drug in the United States; approximately three-quarters (77percent) of current illegal drug users used marijuana or hashish in 1996.
Source: http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/concern/marijuana.htm (U.S. Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Administration).