Marijuana-Growing Operation Found in Glendale Business

If you're missing a marijuana-growing business, maybe it's the one Glendale police found last month.

Dozens of pot plants were discovered sprouting in a commercial business space near 57th Avenue and San Miguel Street on July 28, but the owners still haven't been found, says Glendale police spokesman Sergeant Brent Coombs.

"At some point in the near future, we're going to get the bottom of it," Coombs says.

The sergeant tells New Times that a tip came into the department's narcotics hotline about a local business used for weed cultivation. Cops followed up by running a drug-sniffing dog through the commercial area, which is home to auto-repair garages and other shops. The dog smelled something funny near one of the businesses, which was enough to get a judge to sign a search warrant. But when police raised the place, the business was unoccupied -- except for about 70 pot plants, Coombs says.

Theoretically, an operation like this could now be legal under state law, even without the dispensary industry that's been halted by Governor Jan Brewer.

Under Arizona's new Medical Marijuana Act, a single registered caregiver who's also a qualified patient could legally grow up to 72 plants -- 12 for each of five patients and another 12 for personal use.

"If it's legitimate, then it's legitimate," Coombs says. "We have no one in custody for those plants. Our investigators are working to try to determine who rents the business and ... who's supposed to be in the business."

Legit or not, the plants were uprooted and seized.

Glendale PD checked with city zoning officials and with the Arizona Department of Health Services, just in case the operation was registered under the new law, but no one knew anything.

Stake your claim at your own risk, but the pot's probably no longer worth anything after the premature "harvest."

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.