Through the first 10 months of the year, State Police have seized 1,628 cannabis plants in 71 cases with four arrests, down from 4,242 plants seized in 219 cases last year with 152 arrests, the Albany Times-Union reports. In 2019, State Police seized 2,711 plants in 161 cases with 107 arrests.
The decline in seizures and arrests this year comes as lawmakers in March passed legalization legislation, which includes home cultivation; however, those provisions don’t take effect until legal sales commence, which is expected sometime next year.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said his agency stopped doing the cannabis eradication missions “a couple of years back.”
“If somebody calls us we’ll usually send our drone team out to take a peek at it. But I really don’t waste the resources going hunting for it.” – Apple to the Times-Union
State Police said that their “mission has always been to eradicate large, illegal marijuana grows and that work will continue” but those missions cost more than $1,000 per hour in fuel and insurance costs alone, the report says.
Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo said his department has worked with the New York State Police on cannabis eradication missions this year, but most were associated with narcotics trafficking cases. He noted that “road patrol arrests are really down” following the passage of the cannabis law and that they most often encounter “just small amounts” of cannabis which fall under the legal limit for adults 21-and-older.
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