FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Sheriff Garrett Roberts hasn't needed a
machete to cut any of the scrawny marijuana plants he has
confiscated this year.
A severe drought that has parched corn and soybean fields across the Southeast has also scorched marijuana crops, leaving plants that should be 10 feet tall so puny that Roberts and his deputies simply pull them up.
"The plants we've seen have been anywhere from 2 inches to 5 1/2 feet tall," said Roberts, chief law enforcer in eastern Kentucky's Lawrence County.
Kentucky, one of the nation's top producers of marijuana, has seen a sharp decrease in production of the illegal crop this year.
State police confiscated nearly 190,000 fewer plants between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 than they did over the same period last year, and the ones they have collected yielded only about half the usual amount of the buds that growers sell as intoxicants.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration ranked Kentucky second last year behind California in the number of plants eradicated. Kentucky State Police reported 488,502 plants, nearly $1 billion worth, confiscated between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 last year. Over the same period this year, troopers have found and cut 299,220 plants.