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New Trend in Home Grows?

A story out of New Castle about the arrest of two on drug charges doesn’t seem out of the ordinary at first.

Brian Buchanan and Jessica Murphy were arrested for operating a large grow operation in the basement of their home. This isn’t unusual, many people decide they can take the risk of operating an indoor farm and make some money producing marijuana for sale. After all, we do allow marijuana for medical reasons in Delaware, and there’s a catch-22 in play: you can possess marijuana legally if you are registered as a cannabis patient, but can’t grow it. Even the compassion centers, which are allowed to dispense the drug, have to get it somewhere. So it’s assumed that either marijuana is being smuggled into the state or grown indoors to supply this legal market.

Of course, there’s the illegal market too.

What makes this story a bit different is that not only marijuana was being grown but poppies as well. Opium poppies are illegal in all circumstances because they provide the resins that are made into heroin. Heroin is on the upswing in Delaware and other New England states, but this is the first time we’ve seen a report of someone growing the plants. Usually, heroin is smuggled in as the processed powder.

The couple is charged with manufacturing of both marijuana and heroin, since growing those plants is tantamount to manufacturing under the law. It also appears the couple was more of a full service operation – police also seized cocaine, and human growth hormone.

Growing poppies to make heroin hasn’t been a problem in the US, mostly because so many plants have to be grown to make an appreciable amount of the drug. In Afghanistan and elsewhere where opium poppies are farmed, plots can be many acres in size. One or two or even a dozen poppies are usually not worth the risk. It remains to be seen if this was just a “hobby crop” or the first instance of an emerging trend.


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