Iowa farmers grew marijuana as a cash fiber crop during World War Two and midwestern historians say there used to be local mills that processed the hemp into rope. Now the weed’s growing wild, in farm fields and along roadways. Sheriff Dennis Conard says officers from the Scott County Sheriff’s Reserve have been sent to cut it down…before someone else does. It grows wild in Scott County and he figures if they can destroy it first, local folks won’t cut it, take it home, dry it, and “use it for their own personal purposes.” Sheriff Conard says there’s a dual purpose to the weed-cutting work. It keeps the marijuana out of the hands of people who would use it illegally and also is a fundraiser for the sheriff’s reserve, as they receive some state funds for the eradication. The plant is a weed, so the sheriff says it’s tough and particularly hard to get rid of. But he says officers are motivated to try and stamp it out. When local kids find themselves talking to officers they often say they got their marijuana by cutting down wild “ditchweed” they found growing in the county. Sheriff Conard says the reserve officers cut and burn fifteen to 20-thousand marijuana plants every year, and the state has a fund that helps pay the cost.
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