Illegal Cannabis Production Plummets in Washington State

Illegal marijuana production in Washington State has seen a spectacular decline since 2010, according to a new report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which suggests that most cannabis enthusiasts are turning to legal businesses instead of potentially cheaper black market marijuana.

The amount of processed marijuana the DEA seized dropped from 3,126 pounds in 2010 to just 635 pounds in 2014, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported.

The report also said the number of marijuana plants it seized in Washington State was about 80% – or 57,000 plants – less than what the agency seized in 2010.

The Washington State Patrol attributed the drop to increased air reconnaissance and better coordination between state, local and federal law enforcement, the paper reported. Washington State voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 and the first stores opened in 2014.

Nationally, the number of plants seized plummeted from 10 million in 2010 to 6 million in 2014, but the amount of processed marijuana seized increased from 86,000 pounds in 2010 to 134,000 pounds in 2014, according to the DEA.