The leaders of the top state law enforcement agencies today said they’re stepping up their efforts to smoke out and destroy illegal marijuana growing operations in Iowa. Ken Carter, the director of the state Division of Narcotics Enforcement, says methamphetamine took the spotlight over the past decade, but he says they want to let people know that marijuana has not gone away and we still need to deal with it. Carter isn’t sure how much of the pot smoke in Iowa is home grown. He says it’s a tough thing to answer, as a lot of marijuana is brought into the state. He says marijuana grows all over the state from the days during World War Two when it was grown to make hemp for ropes. Kevin Techau, the commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety, says the federal Drug Enforcement Agency has renewed 70-thousand dollar grant to the state to fund the effort. Techau says they’re doing more to publicize the 800 number you can call to report marijuana grow operations. He says they’re asking for the public help in identifying illegal growers, and have started a partnership with the petroleum marketers and the Iowa Grocery Industry to get the word out. Techau asks you to call 800-532-0052 if you spot marijuana growing, or call your local law enforcement agency. Techau hopes the renewed effort will generate more calls to the 800 number that’s been in existence since 1983. He says the pot plots are often out of sight, but he says hikers or farmers who come across the plots are asked to call. The toll-free number is answered Monday through Friday from eight a-m to four-thirty p-m.
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