Florida's Marijuana Boom: House-Grown, and Potent

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Sensi Super Skunk, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. Sensi Super Skunk

    Sensi Super Skunk Registered+

    Florida's Hydroponic Pot: House-Grown, and Super-Potent - TIME

    Thursday Jul. 30, 2009, by By Carmen Gentile, Time in Partnership with CNN.


    California may be the center of the marijuana trade and the controversies over its legalization. But Florida has surpassed it in one important category: the Sunshine State is now the country's leader in indoor marijuana cultivation. It is a potent distinction because most of the marijuana grown this way is cultured hydroponically — that is, mostly without soil and with a carefully calibrated cocktail of chemicals and lighting — to create some of the highest level of highs on the market.

    In 2006, Florida law enforcement here discovered 480 homes growing marijuana indoors. Last year, 1,022 grow houses were busted. "This isn't your grandma's marijuana," quipped a Miami-Dade narcotics officer at one bust as he tossed garbage bags stuffed with confiscated marijuana into an unmarked police truck. Levels of THC — the agent in marijuana that produces feelings of euphoria, and in some users mild hallucinations and paranoia — have risen dramatically because of indoor techniques. Thirty years ago, most marijuana contained about 7% THC. Today, indoor growers boast THC levels of 25% or higher thanks to the additional care that indoor plants receive.

    Indoors, high-powered lights that stimulate growth can remain on all day, their nourishing rays reflected off the metallic-coated paper covering walls. The chemical fertilizers used are just as powerful and nourishing, spawning fast-growing plants that produce more THC than those raised outdoors.

    TIME accompanied undercover agents on a recent bust on a quiet street of a working-class Miami suburb. As soon as the agents enter the front door, they know they've acted on a good tip. The pungent smell of plant life fills the air. The ceiling of the master bedroom is a constellation of high-powered lightbulbs emitting a nourishing glow onto what officers estimate is more than 100 lb. of particularly potent marijuana plants with a street value upwards of $800,000.

    While most of the marijuana is freshly cut and drying on a clothesline stretched across the room, pots of smaller plants still months away from maturing line the walls. An irrigation system supplies water and chemical fertilizers to the plants via a hose that runs into the adjacent bathroom, where the toxic brew used to accelerate plants' growth is dumped down a drain.

    On the Florida market, a pound of indoor grown marijuana goes for upwards of $4,000. But in the Northeast, the best market for Florida growers, the same marijuana goes for about $8,000 a pound. Unlike their closest regional rivals, Florida growers can produce up to four crops annually.

    "These operations are mushrooming all over the state of Florida," says State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle for Miami-Dade County, the de facto capital of the state's indoor pot industry. Taking these operations down is dangerous work. Some growers stockpile automatic weapons to protect themselves — and to fend off thieves who are after the valuable crop.

    Miami Police Major Charles Nanney says informants played a crucial role in the success of a statewide crackdown in June that resulted in the seizure of 6,828 marijuana plants and 120 residential marijuana labs over the course of a few days. Among the best tipsters, they say, are electricians paid big money by growers to wire the sophisticated network of lights and air conditioners used to cool plants and subject them to round-the-clock illumination. The energy-chugging networks require an expert's touch to bypass the electric meter and tap straight into the grid. A sharp increase in electricity used to be a telltale sign of a grow house. Some growers have caught on, however, and are learning to mask their energy profile.

    Money-laundering is an attendant crime. But so is trafficking in undocumented migrant workers. A single marijuana growing operation can consist of a dozen homes or more, requiring many hands to tend to the plants. And when arrests are made, those taken in are often neither the homeowner nor the person named on the lease. The actual operators usually elude capture. Still, workers are lured by the promise of a piece of the profits and rent-free living, sometimes raising children among the deadly high-voltage lights and other potential life-threatening apparatuses associated with indoor marijuana.

    The state's real estate catastrophe contributes to the problem as well. Captain Joe Mendez from the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), says operators flush with cash are attracted to the abundance of cheap homes in Florida, particularly in Miami-Dade, which leads the state in foreclosures. While Florida's legitimate economy continues to flail, the HIDTA captain says indoor marijuana is thriving even though law enforcement is arresting more people every year. Says Mendez: "If the economic downturn remains as it is, I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel."
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    Last edited: Jul 31, 2009
  2. Sensi Super Skunk

    Sensi Super Skunk Registered+

    If anything, I thought that Florida would be one of the leading states in potent outdoor cannabis cultivation. It is one of the U.S. States closest to the equator, meaning having a very long growing season. Reflecting on their current state laws, in terms of decriminalization, I can see why.
  3. MPLSweedman

    MPLSweedman Registered+

    keep it growin!
  4. crabbyback

    crabbyback Registered+

    Yeah, you would think that, but unfortunately our favorite plant has become so recognized by everyone, you can't really grow outside anymore.

    DEA is the least of your worries. The gangs, the illegals, and the creepy kids are way more dangerous.
  5. shroomy33

    shroomy33 Registered

    yea man, I've had medical stuff from cali before and it's great.... but in terms of what you can find on the street I believe florida has some of the most underrated bud in the country, I honestly think florida should be included with cali and the northwest states for awesome buds
  6. oldhaole

    oldhaole Registered+

    Does it hurt when you pat yourself on he back?

    Sorry to bust up your love fest. :D

    You do realize there is one state about a thousand miles further south than you. Better sun, better soil, better weed. Thanks for playing our game, we have some nice parting gifts for you. :(

    And that state has these things called mountains, unlike Flatada. :mad:

    Aloha Braddas
  7. FlyinPolynesian

    FlyinPolynesian Registered+

    Exactly My bruddah!!!

    Medical states destroy Florida and the ass backwards policy they love so much.

    Not even close!!
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
  8. GetThisOrDie

    GetThisOrDie Registered+

    That article is dumb....

    Anyways, I spent my time in south florida and even grew (and almost got busted). The best shit is around miami and its suburbs but for the most part it was all regs and mids. Laws are too steep which brings the plants indoors. Plus where I was it was so friggin hot and HUMID every day. It also rained 2-3 times a day especially in the evening. Great makings for the bud rot.

    Any bud that ive ever gotten from a med state was far superior to anything ive gotten in florida.

    Have some family there in south florida that have been smoking for tens of years and they all said what I grew was the best they have gotten in florida. I have a long way to go to get to the level of growing some people are at here too... that says something about the weed there to me.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010

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