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Marijuana Cultivation Grew 35 Percent Last Year

A new report by the U.S. State Department says drug cultivation in Mexico hit an all time high last year while drug eradication dropped.

The U.S. state department report says marijauna cultivation in Mexico rose 35 percent last year compared to 2008. The report estimates the crop covered more than 45 square miles.

Opium poppy cultivation more than doubled to about 58 square miles. By means of comparison, that's more than twice the size of Manhattan.


Meanwhile, the report states marijuana eradication dropped last year. Mexican law enforcement cleared less than half the acreage they did in 2006.

And poppy eradication also fell from historic highs.

One of the Mexican military's traditional roles is uprooting drug plants.

But during the last three years, Mexico's president has reassigned tens of thousands of soldiers to fight drug cartels in city streets.

The report says that shift means fewer plants get pulled. And law enforcement has shifted focus to cracking down on harder drugs like methamphetamine

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