In 2017, authorities pulled over 70,000 pot plants from public lands.

Even though dispensaries have been selling recreational weed for 4 years, illegal grows continue to be a problem in Colorado. Law enforcement removed over 71,000 plants from about 38 acres of public land last year. 19 people were arrested in connection to the operations. They ranged in size from about 100 plants to another of over 14,000. 4 of 7 busted were located in the San Isabel National Forest, which sprawls at over 1 million acres in size. “Public lands are just that, they’re public and belong to all of us,” says District of Colorado, US Attorney Robert Troyer. “...Black-marketers abuse our land, our water, our animals, and plants. With these prosecutions, we motivate black-marketers to make less harmful occupational choices.”

You would think that with anyone in Colorado over the age of 21 being able to purchase weed in just about every community of any size, except Grand Junction, that would pretty much end these illegal operations, but it hasn't. Colorado's black market is significantly smaller than most states, but far from non-existent. So authorities will have to continue to crack down on these growers. As they should. They are taking advantage of the states public lands will little regard for those that of us that use these places for their intended purposes. Places for wildlife to flourish and for residents to enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

Credit: Westworld