By City News Service
Authorities seized nearly 380,000 marijuana plants so far this year from illegal indoor and outdoor grows in San Diego County, it was announced Tuesday.
More than 84,000 plants were seized from private land and more than 120,000 plants were taken from U.S. Forestry Service land.
Scott Chipman, chairman of the San Diego Safe Neighborhood Association, said the eradication efforts decrease the accessibility of marijuana to young people.
"Marijuana is the most commonly mentioned drug used by youth entering addiction treatment in San Diego County," Chipman told reporters.
According to the San Diego County Integrated Narcotics Task Force, California is a source state for marijuana and San Diego is a top region for illegal marijuana production.
Chipman said marijuana can aggravate already existing mental illnesses and may precede or act as a catalyst for other mental health problems, including depression, suicidal thoughts and schizophrenia.
He called on all county agencies to provide current information to young people on the harmful effects of marijuana.
Ralph Partridge, Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego, said the Narcotics Task Force — made up of representatives from 17 state, local and federal agencies — helps educate other law enforcement agencies on the dangers of indoor and outdoor marijuana grows.