Skip to comments.Pasco poppy farm owners face drug charges
Posted on 11/02/2012 6:44:29 PM PDT by steve86
By Ty Beaver, Tri-City Herald
Owners of a Pasco poppy farm were arrested this week after one of them sold poppy seed pods, which contain narcotic substances, to undercover detectives for brewing tea to obtain a high.
According to court documents, detectives from the Tri-City Metro Drug Task Force and Law Enforcement Against Drugs task force purchased the seed pods in late August from Kenneth French at his home at 5100 Elm Road, which also is the site of his business, Dried Poppies Direct and Poppydog Farms.
Kenneth French told the detectives the poppies could be used to brew a tea that can give a feeling of "feeling good" or for "pain control" when consumed. He said the seed pods contain morphine, which is a controlled substance.
Kenneth French also told the detectives he sells the seed pods through his business for "ornamental purposes" "and that is my story, and I'm sticking to it."
The pods purchased by the detectives were tested by the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory and found to contain codeine, morphine and thebaine.
Kenneth French owns 15 percent of Poppydog Farms, and his wife, Shanna Rene French, owns 85 percent of the operation, according to the documents.
The Frenches have owned businesses in the Tri-Cities for years. They owned Jack-sons Sports Bar & Restaurant in Kennewick for five years before closing it in January. Before that, Kenneth French was a partner in insurance software company InStar Corp.
The Herald profiled the Frenchs' 40-acre poppy farm this summer. They said they had 2,400 customers across the country who they sold the seedpods to for craft and decorative purposes and seeds for people to grow their own poppies, with red, pink or white-and-purple blooms.
-- Ty Beaver: 582-1402; firstname.lastname@example.org
This dude was well known to a member of my family years ago and was considered “a nice guy”.
How the mighty have fallen.
Pretty stupid, too.
I’ve seen poppy heads in florists and craft stores for dried bouquets - do they have to be spray-painted gold or something to make them legal?
And you can scratch poppy seeds off a bagel and they’ll grow. So I’ve read.
Better druggies were drinking poppy tea than doing meth or PCP or smoking marijuana soaked in embalming fluid. The old ways were the best ways. Or so I’ve been told.
“Embalming fluid” (my friend asked)?
It seem that possessing seeds and poppies, even cultivating the live plants is completely legal as long as you can prove you didn't know the plant or its products can be used for illegal purposes.
Just try to prove a negative. I doubt Ken French will be able to do that successfully, especially given the statements he is alleged to have made.
And who would pay $60 for four ounces of decorative craft materials? LOL
The poppies that produce edible seeds that are marketed for culinary purposes (and they do make a yummy pastry filling) have virtually no pharmacologically active compounds in them, and the same is true for ornamental species of poppy. Only one species has the powerful stuff (some of which is used to create prescription pharmaceuticals) and it’s banned in most of the world. It’s part of the plant’s natural defense against getting eaten by animals.
Well you have to give this guy credit for sniffing out the right species.
He could have used one of the inert ones and tried to fool people.
Honest businessman, I guess.
I heard he was an atheist even back in high school, but still highly principled, obviously.
And now it appears he has passed away, at 58.
I don't know the circumstances yet.
As I understand it the farm was in the process of being seized by U.S. Marshalls.
Like I said, he was a great guy when we knew him in the 80s.