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Mind Pilot

Registered: 02/09/09
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Growing Marijuana On Public Land
    #417331 - 05/13/10 08:22 PM (6 years, 5 months ago)

Reported by Cynthia Schweigert
Email: cschweigert@wkbt.com
Blog: http://cynthia.blogs.wkbt.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/nc8cynthia

When you're out hiking or walking this summer, the DNR and local law enforcement are warning that you may stumble upon something illegal. They say it's a continuing problem, and that people using public property to grow marijuana.

However, they're hoping that by teaching people what to look out for, they can crack down on more illegal operations.

It's growing season for marijuana.

"Every year we run into people calling in saying they found a plot of marijuana," said Investigator Fritz Leinfelder with the La Crosse County Sheriff's Department.

And sometimes people find pretty big operations, like this one in Buffalo County last year where authorities believe $2 million of pot was harvested.

"The public is very instrumental because grows are done in very remote areas, and often times those areas are sought out by our folks that are hunting, fishing, and recreating," said DNR Conservation Warden Russell Wilson.

To help their effort, the DNR will soon be putting signs in parks and forests so people know what to look for.

"We want you to keep a sharp eye," said Wilson.

The DNR says rakes, tents, or chemicals are all tip offs, but investigators say it'll be hard to spot the plants themselves.

"You're not going to find a big field of marijuana, you're going to find plants spread out, mixed in with trees and other vegetation," said Leinfelder.

Because of the landscape, the DNR says Western Wisconsin can be an easy target for growing weed on public land.

"We have a lot of remote areas here, and a good habitat for growing these kinds of things, but we don't want them here, and we're going to be watching to see that they don't occur here," said Wilson.

The DNR says besides being illegal, marijuana can destroy our area's natural beauty because often times growers clear out native plants and use chemicals.

Investigators warn that you need to be careful when out and about because sometimes growers booby trap their plants so people don't get too close.If you do see a marijuana plant, the DNR recommends you note where you are and then leave the area the same way you came in.

If you stumble upon an illegal grow this summer on public or private land, either contact police or you can call the DNR at 1-800-Tip-WDNR.


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