Drought shrinking Butler Co. marijuana crop

Drought shrinking Butler Co. marijuana crop

BUTLER COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - This summer's hot, dry weather has been tough on corn and soybean farmers across the Buckeye State. It's also been hard on crops that are grown and sold illegally.

The drought is affecting Butler County's marijuana production. Helicopter surveillance by the Butler County Sheriff's Department usually turns up hundreds of marijuana plants during the summer, but this year sheriff Richard Jones says things are different.

"The marijuana growers...it's affecting their marijuana crop which we're glad of," he said.

Jones says his department's annual marijuana sweep turned up plots of the illegal weed struggling for survival.

"We noticed there was like a hundred plants....we used to have thousands, but the plants are skinny, scrawny, they can't get enough water. They're fighting the legitimate farmers for water and for resources and so we found that the marijuana crop is going to be down this year," he said.

However, demand for drugs seems to be on the rise. The Ohio State Patrol reports that marijuana seizures are up 100-percent over last year's figures and seizures of other drugs, like heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine are also on the rise across the state and in Butler County.

Sheriff Jones says sometimes marijuana growers try to run from surveillance helicopters.

"We've had people when we've had our helicopter flying over....they run out of their houses, they grab their marijuana plants, try to throw them in their truck. Our helicopter pilot says 'look' over the microphone...you cannot out run the helicopter," he said.

Sheriff Jones has a word of warning for marijuana growers.

"It's not a good way to supplement your income," he said.

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