DPD sees almost 1,000% increase in pot seizures

DENVER - Decriminalizing marijuana in Colorado has caused a different kind of high for Denver Police -- a high in the amount of marijuana the department is confiscating. It's up nearly 1,000 percent since 2011.

According to DPD records, police seized 8,092 pounds in 2014 compared to 937 in 2011.

"Colorado has become a source state for marijuana for the rest of the country," said Lt. James Henning, with DPD's Vice/Narcotics Bureau." In Colorado, the marijuana we grow here generally sells for $2,000 to $2,400 a pound. That same pound of marijuana, sold on the East Coast, is worth about $5,500 to $6,000."

Henning said that's causing people from all over the world to come to Colorado to grow.

"There's a lot of loopholes in the law right now," he said.

One of the loopholes is the lack of limits on collective growing. Denver City Council is now trying to tackle that by imposing a 36 plant limit at grows in non-residential areas. Currently there is no plant cap.

The city says besides feeding the black market, it's finding hazardous conditions in large, unlicensed grow operations.

"The fire hazards presented by wiring that's not put together correctly. The safety issues of pesticides," Henning said. "These are safety issues for neighborhoods and the other tenants in warehouses."

7NEWS went to an industrial park where the city said it found hazardous conditions at an unlicensed grow.

"It's surprising," said Cody Hayes, who owns a roofing business in the strip of warehouses."They should do every necessary thing they can to ensure everything's done the right way."


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