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Marijuana Farms are a Big Business in Texas: Texans Can Make Big Pot Profits Unless They’re Caught and Arrested – Risk versus Reward

On Monday, the U.S. Attorney General for the Northern District of Texas announced that six Dallas residents had been sentenced by a federal judge on various charges stemming from their pot farm business: in their case, a hydroponic marijuana growing operation that they had been running since sometime in 2004 out of a bunch of houses scattered around neighborhoods in Dallas and Richardson.

Four of these guys met as fraternity brothers when they were going to school at SMU (Southern Methodist University). With their buddies, they were doing what appears to be a pretty successful marijuana business here in the Dallas metroplex as they grew their marijuana concern to 11 different grow houses (farms) from their start in 2004 until 2010 when the federal authorities busted them.

Interesting point here: the federal prosecutors charged these guys with money laundering felonies along with some federal charges that deal with marijuana itself – like one man who pled guilty to “maintaining a drug-involved premise.

The risk:  Marijuana farmers face felony arrest under federal law or Texas statute but that’s if they get caught and if the charges stick once a defense lawyer enters the picture.

Cannabis Cultivation is a Big Texas Industry: Marijuana Makes Lotsa Money for Lots of People

Growing marijuana here in Texas has been a profitable enterprise for many, many years. Texas offers a great climate and wonderful farming conditions for marijuana and cannabis cultivation has been an established industry in our Lone Star State for decades. We’re not California (number one in marijuana production according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)) but we’re close.

In recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of marijuana crops in Texas as Mexican drug cartels are thought to be expanding their operations into Texas by growing their cannabis crops on this side of the border in order to make it that much easier (and more cost-effective) to produce and sell their marijuana product. They don’t have to deal with the Border Patrol and crossing the Rio Grande with product this way — and rural Texas provides a great place to grow marijuana plants anyway.

An example of how lucrative this can be comes from the big marijuana field that was found last year in Polk County, Texas. There, over 30,000 marijuana plants taller than any man (measuring 8 feet tall) were discovered in the backwoods and heralded as the “largest pot farm ever found in Texas.” A fisherman discovered this marijuana farm as he fished near their water source on Big Sandy Creek and called the authorities; it was invisible from the air and some distance away from any roads or footpaths.

According to news reports in August 2012, one pound of marijuana sold for $300 – 400 at the time of this Polk County discovery, and a good farm can produce two marijuana harvests each year. This meant that the Polk County marijuana harvests from this one farm would have brought those pot farmers around $18,000,000 annually.

Marijuana Market Is Growing As Legalization Trend Continues: It’s a Booming Industry

Marijuana has been legalized for medicinal purposes in some states and it’s also been approved for recreational use in places like Colorado. Which means that there are competitive marketplaces for the Texas marijuana grower now, as people like a man named Sam Calvert get in on the action.

Sam Calvert is a 50 year old Washington State resident who has obtained a state license to open a retail outlet for recreational marijuana from the Washington Liquor Control Board. Calvert plans on taking his background in commercial real estate and business startup consultation into this new marijuana store.

Washington is also issuing licenses to people who want to farm marijuana in open fields or in greenhouses. In short, the State of Washington is building its own, legalized recreational marijuana industry.

It’s all business.

Legal and licensed, or illegal and operating under law enforcement radar, marijuana is a huge business with a big and expanding demand.  Marijuana’s customer base is arguably expanding nationally as customers who might not have purchased illegal weed may find it acceptable to buy pot from a licensed retailer approved by state authorities.

Here in Texas, there’s not much chance we will be following Washington’s lead in legalizing marijuana farms or licensing pot stores for recreational marijuana so the marijuana in our state will continue to be grown and packaged and sold by big operations (like the Polk County farm, which is assumed to be run by Mexican drug operators) or smaller ones (like this week’s bust of the SMU guys who were running a pot business in the city, growing their product inside residential homes).

And while law enforcement will investigate and arrest some marijuana growers, the police and federal agents have a hard job finding their targets. Just this past August, in Arlington, they swooped down on a tomato farm with a search warrant and dogs and guns drawn — and there wasn’t anything illegal being grown on the place at all.

Which means that not only is it hard to find these hidden marijuana fields in our woodsy Texas area, it’s pretty easy to mistake one plant for another, it seems.

Bottom line:  For those in the marijuana business in Texas, it is a risk versus reward analysis: the risk of being caught against the monetary rewards of a marijuana crop. The risk seems acceptable to many: remember no one was arrested for the Polk County pot farm though the authorities told the media that they had an idea who was responsible.

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For more on Marijuana Criminal Charges in Texas, check our the Dallas Justice resources page on Marijuana as well as the Case Results page including this recent entry:

A professional marijuana cultivation farmer from Colorado was stopped in Wichita Falls on his way into Texas…. Mr. Lowe claimed the traffic stop was without probable cause or reasonable suspicion and the subsequent detention was also without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, even though the client eventually consented to the search. … Mr. Lowe’s client did NO probation and NO jail time. Mr. Lowe’s client was only required to pay a small fine and go back to Colorado.


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