For ‘Eric,’ the news comes as a surprise. Knowing far fewer marijuana plants are getting snagged by deputies.
"I think there's a lot. There are a lot of people who smoke pot,” said ‘Eric.’
‘Eric’ used to smoke dope, too. He chose to remain anonymous for our interview. ‘Eric’ admits illegal growers get creative with hiding spots.
"In the basement. I don't know - all kinds of places,” added ‘Eric.’
But Franklin County focuses on rural irrigation land. Particularly eyeing corn fields. First searching by air and then on the ground.
Last year, deputies pulled over 24 thousand plants. This year, just over three thousand.
“We’re pretty confident that we seized most of what was growing out there, and we're pretty confidant those numbers are down that dramatically."
This season marks the lowest number in the last five years.
Reporter: "How do you think the legalization of marijuana may play into this battle?”
Sheriff Lathim: "Well, I guess time will tell on that. We're still months away from having licensed stores and licensed growers."
But officials say these steps won't erase the black market. Meaning a prolonged danger to honest farmers like ‘Jeff.’ I spoke with him last Spring. Illegal growers have threatened his family with weapons.
"In the middle of the night, when I go to the door, I never go without a gun,” said ‘Jeff.’
It's an ongoing battle to keep our community in compliance with the law. All to keep you safe.
Franklin County arrested one man this summer for growing over 2,500 plants in a corn field.