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Vermont authorities say the on-going effort to find and destroy outdoor marijuana grows is paying off.
That news comes as police are beginning this year's pre-harvest program to destroy pot plots across the state.
Police say they know there is less pot being cultivated outdoors these days in Vermont. Trouble is, for several reasons, cutting the outdoor supply of outdoor grow hasn't put a dent in the amount of pot available for sale.
On Monday, Sheriffs deputies from Franklin County located, up-rooted, destroyed several small marijuana plots of five plants or less in a remote area of Montgomery. It is one of hundreds of pot plots the police will find and destroy before the growers can harvest the plants in October.
A deputy who has been part of the marijuana eradication effort for 15 years the says the number of outdoor grows has declined over the years. He is certain its because police have become very good at finding and destroying the outdoor gardens.
Police say another reason for the decline in outdoor grows is the increased success of the indoor growers in Quebec. It is estimated the Canadian indoor growers annually smuggle 2 to 4 billion dollars worth of their hydroponic pot into the U.S., much of it through Vermont.
Vermont State Police acknowledge the funding and focus of law enforcement has increased on the Canadian smugglers in recent years while it has declined on the outdoor growers in Vermont.
Franklin County Sheriff Bob Norris says the outdoor eradication is working and it should continue.
"We should change our focus somewhat but we do not need to cut off our nose to spite our face. We still have a large number of individuals who choose to grow outside in the state of Vermont," said Norris.
Federal funding for the outdoor eradication program has been cut over the years. The Vermont Sheriffs departments once received $54,000 a year for the Marijuana Eradication Program. This year they will get four thousand dollars.