SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – South Hadley police were investigating a suspected illegal marijuana grow at a house on Abbey Street.

South Hadley Police Chief Jennifer Gundersen told 22News that police executed a search warrant at the house at around 6:00 a.m.

Abbey Street was closed to traffic while officers investigate. Gundersen says this was necessary to ensure “law enforcement and other public safety personnel can render the property safe and conduct their search.”

The Chief added that there is no ongoing threat to the community. No arrests were made during the investigation. Members of the State Police and Department of Fire Services assisted South Hadley Police.

Increase in illegal marijuana grow houses

Tuesday’s investigation in South Hadley is just one of the many recent incidents local police departments are responding to.

“Marijuana has become mainstream it doesn’t have the stigma around it that it had prior to the legalization so we do see more of it,” said Springfield Police Captain Brian Keenan.

22News sat down with Captain Keenan who says it’s next to impossible to police marijuana in private residences.

“Being legal now, it’s a fine line of how much you can and can’t legally grow,” said Scott Merrick of South Hadley.

Massachusetts law about recreational marijuana

In Massachusetts, residents can grow up to 6 plants. If there’s more than one person over 21 living in the home who wants to grow at home, the maximum number of plants that may be grown in a home is 12 plants. 

“I think a lot of people are turning this way because of the price,” said Merrick.

“If you look at traditional ways that people made money illegally, a lot of them have been mitigated by the state and marijuana has become the replacement revenue for a lot of these groups, and you buy marijuana on the streets for about 50 percent of what you pay in the dispensary,” said Captain Keenan.

Captain Keenan says that the legalization of marijuana has a direct correlation with
the increase in violence, homicide, and home invasions, not just here in the Pioneer Valley but throughout urban areas in the Commonwealth.

“Marijuana is a cash crop and elicit cash crops drive violence,” said Captain Keenan. He added that marijuana has become quite common because of the cash availability.