LOGAN – The No. 1 cash crop in Appalachia is not corn or green beans that you might purchase at a local farmer’s market. But it continues to be marijuana.
Local Troopers working on the pot eradication this summer have not found as many illegal plants growing in the mountains as in the past, but there still is a large number of pot that has to be eradicated.
“We have probably pulled more than $1 million (street value) off the streets,” said Trooper S. A. Belt of the Williamson detachment, who is in charge of the elimination of pot this summer.
“This is still an ongoing operation and we still have the month of September and the early part of October,” Trooper Belt said.
The climate in this region has always been perfect for growing the tall, green and leafy plant.
Troopers from District One, Troop Five of the West Virginia State Police (WVSP) have been out chopping down concealed plants in various counties.
Those counties include Logan, Mingo, Boone, Wayne and Lincoln Counties.
The pot plants can be grown on steep ridges in remote locations or even in a backyard up a narrow and winding hollow.
Belt says that numerous plants have been cut down and disposed of this summer.
First Sgt. Andy Perdue said the real problem in southern West Virginia the past year has been the influx of heroin and synthetic marijuana, which has caused many overdoses in the region.
The abuse of prescription pain pills is still a problem, according to Sgt. Perdue.
Marijuana use will continue to be an issue, however many states have legalized cannabis for medical reasons and some states, like Colorado, have legalized pot for recreational use.
The West Virginia legislature will be presented a survey this month about changing marijuana laws in the Mountain State.
The West Virginia chapter of NORML, a marijuana advocacy organization, is currently conducting a survey of citizens in the state about the legalization of cannabis.
The group plans to hand deliver a survey to every member of the legislature when they hold an interim session on September 13.
In the meantime, the WVSP and other police agencies continue their battle to chop down and destroy illegally grown marijuana plants in southern W.Va.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)