The City of Powell Parks employees had been unwittingly caring for the weed along with marigolds, pansies, and zinnias until they recognized the plants after they began to grow leaves, according to City Parks and Recreation Superintendent Del Barton Powell.
The park employees found the hidden marijuana as they were pulling weeds and watering park flowers in downtown Powell on June 29. The employees pulled the marijuana plants and took them to the police department.
Police Call Marijuana Growing in Public Planters a Prank
The irony was not lost on the officers at the Powell Police Department as they joked with the employees about arresting them.
"I guess somebody over at the PD was joking with the gals … telling them, 'You know, we could arrest you for possession,'" said Barton. The penalty for marijuana possession in the state is up to 6 months in jail and a $750 fine.
Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt told National Public Radio that the marijuana growing in public planters was likely the work of a prankster, noting that he wasn't sure himself if he could have recognized the plants prior to them flowering.
"To be honest with you, and to be fair, without having a marijuana field testing kit, I can't tell the difference between hemp and marijuana," said the police chief before adding "But it sure looked like marijuana to me." He said the marijuana seeds were most likely put into the soil by the jokester.
Eckerdt said that one plant was found within a block of the police station, joking that that as soon as he heard the news, he checked to make sure no weed was mixed in with the flowers outside of the station. He seemed amused by the situation and noted that people are getting a kick out of the story.
Eckerdt went on to say that the workers notified him that more pot plants appear to be sprouting in the public flower beds, but they weren't certain. The police gave the park employees paper lunch-bags to collect the plants in the event that they found any more marijuana growing in public planters. The park employees have found three marijuana plants, so far.