Inhofe’s office requests $4M to combat illicit pot growers

EDMOND, Okla. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s office announced Wednesday that he requested $4 million in federal funds to help combat illegal Oklahoma marijuana growing operations.

Inhofe’s chief of staff, Luke Holland, announced the request during an Oklahoma Sheriffs Association meeting.

Holland said Inhofe requested a direct appropriation through the U.S. Justice Department to allow the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs to establish a unit to combat “transnational and national drug organizations.” The unit would work with sheriffs to combat illegal drug operations.

Medical marijuana is a booming business in Oklahoma, where voters in 2018 approved one of the nation’s most liberal medical programs. As a result, out-of-state weed entrepreneurs have flocked to the state to get involved.

But sheriffs and other law enforcement groups, which opposed the state question in 2018, say illegal marijuana grow operations are setting up in rural parts of Oklahoma and funneling cannabis into the illegal drug trade in Oklahoma and other states.