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Hydroponics started to take hold in the pot community, and shortly there after Operation Green Merchant. I think the 80's were some of the hardest times for us pot heads?!
On October 26 1989, known to cultivators as “Black Thursday,” the DEA launches Operation Green Merchant, an all-out attack on growers and suppliers of hydroponic systems (much to the surprise of orchid fanciers who were also swept up in the raids). While the arrests and harassment drive the industry further underground, it unintentionally spawns further advancements in grow-room security and efficiency.
Taken from "The History of Hydroponics" by Danny Danko