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KC police have discovered 4,000 percent more marijuana this year

Updated: 2013-12-11T06:18:32Z

By CHRISTINE VENDEL

The Kansas City Star

Kansas City police have recovered nearly 850,000 pounds of marijuana this year — a nearly 4,000 percent increase from last year, according to statistics released Tuesday.

Most of the spike stems from the discovery of two massive, apparently wild marijuana fields in August. Often called “ditch weed,” this type of marijuana is very low in THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, police say.

But some of this year’s increase is due to expensive, high-grade marijuana making its way to Kansas City from the West Coast, police say. Some of the supply is being generated by people getting into the legal medical marijuana industry in states that have voted to legalize small amounts of marijuana for medical treatment, said police Sgt. Chris Ceseña.

High-quality marijuana is often worth more in the Kansas City area than where it is being grown, Ceseña said, so some people try to cash in by illegally transporting or mailing it from the West Coast. Sometimes buyers go to those states to buy the good stuff, then bring back extra to sell because the profit margin is so high, Ceseña said.

The stronger stuff sells for $5,000 to $7,000 per pound in Kansas City, he said. Lower-grade product, often from Mexico, sells for a small fraction of that, or $500 to $700 a pound, he said.

Kansas City police have seized twice the amount of high-grade pot so far this year compared to last year.

Just last week, police recovered 100 pounds of high-quality marijuana from a cargo distributor who bought it inadvertently from a wholesaler. The distributor thought he was buying beauty supplies but found the marijuana when he opened a sealed package. He promptly reported it to police.

Police found the ditch weed after passers-by reported suspicions.

To reach Christine Vendel, call 816-234-4438 or send email to cvendel@kcstar.com.

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