Meanwhile, CAMP is concluding its seventh annual series of helicopter raids against the state's marijuana growers-a multimillion-dollar, albeit illegal, sector of the California economy. Indeed, authorities said California growers have been so hampered by raids that their harvest may now be rivaled nationally in volume by the crop in neighboring Oregon, which has increased as the California crop has shrunk.
Outdoor dope growers also are diversifying beyond the traditional "emerald triangle" of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties on the rugged and rainy North Coast, [Kati Corsaut] said. Santa Barbara County displaced Trinity this year as the county with the third-highest number of marijuana plants taken by CAMP, and Santa Cruz County is threatening to push Trinity into fifth place.
No one knows how much marijuana is raised indoors, but [Tom Alexander] and others who favor decriminalization of the substance said the total may be as high as half of the country's total domestic production. The Drug Enforcement Agency reported that 177 indoor marijuana growers were busted in California alone as of Aug. 31, the end of the most recent reporting period. That is a 34% increase over the same period last year, and a more than twice the number discovered in 1986.