What happened to the 224 luscious weed plants that Highlands Ranch pot farmer Chris Bartkowicz lavished money and attention on and that landed him in a federal clink? Local police are required to keep confiscated plants until if and when a court has ruled they aren’t medicinal. DEA agents don’t have to play by the same rules.
According to DEA spokesman Mike Turner, since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, the plants are contraband, whether or not the marijuana in question eventually is determined to be legal by state standards. That means Bartko’s plants and everyone else’s seized here by the DEA are going to be destroyed. The federal agents merely have to analyze a small amount to verify the plants are really pot and then wait for an official destroy order. Pot seized by the DEA is typically incinerated.
Turner wouldn’t say where the incineration takes place in Colorado but a source once told Westword that the DEA deals with evidence like this at a facility near Denver International Airport. Turner would neither confirm nor deny to the Colorado Independent that the Big Burn would take place near the airport sometime soon.
Turner also told Westword he doesn’t envy local police departments. He said he heard that a Montana town had to hire someone to care for a warehouse full of confiscated live pot plants until the court made a ruling in the case. In medical marijuana states, meticulously engineered pot plants amount to genuine business assets.
If all 224 of Batko’s plants had been flowering and correctly harvested, they would have yielded around 500 ounces of marijuana worth more than $110,000 at a dispensary, a medical marijuana caregiver told the Colorado Independent.