Americans consume an estimated 2,500 to 5,000 metric tons of cannabis each year — and almost none of it is grown under any regulations. Consequently, you got the modern equivalent of moonshiners up in California wilderness hoping to make $800 per pound off the stuff.
On Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of California announced six pot growers in four counties were sentenced to federal prison for large-scale marijuana cultivation operations throughout the Central Valley. The latest prison sentences stem from “Operation Mercury” – a 2012 federal crackdown on pot growing in inland Northern California. Operation Mercury has led to the seizure of nearly half a million marijuana plants and the prosecution of 84 defendants in federal court in Fresno.
These guys are no small-time medical cannabis growers, either.