Cannabis News

Cannabis News

News stories relating to cannabis are found  in the articles below.

According to a press release from the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office, dated March, 1, 2012:
As recently reported by the local media, Mendocino County Ordinance, §9.31, has been amended by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to, among other things, withdraw an important aspect of the ordinance that allowed for local regulation and oversight over certain conduct that may be lawful pursuant to the 1996 California voter-approved (55.6%) initiative, Proposition 215, now codified as California Health and Safety Code §11362.5, et seq., and including follow-on legislation. 

For the limited purpose of this status report, §9.31 had two major components relevant to this discussion – the voluntary and mandatory components.  Simplistically stated, §9.31 codified (in the form of a nuisance ordinance) “community standards,” those standards being no more than 25 plants allowed per parcel no matter the number of recommendations people may attempt to attach to that single parcel.  If patients with lawful physician’s recommendations wish to be up front and out in the open, Sheriff-issued and registered zip ties continue to be voluntarily available for purchase at $25 per plant.  Voluntary zip tie participation requires patients to voluntarily disclose to and register with law enforcement the location of medicinal plants, and allow for the registered plants to be inspected and monitored by Sheriff deputies and/or third party inspectors.  Whether or not zip tie participation was in fact occurring -- since early 2011 – has been one factor considered among many by the prosecuting attorney in determining whether allegations of illegal marijuana-related conduct were valid.  It is important to note that defendants prosecuted, convicted and currently on grants of probation pursuant to the District Attorney’s Health and Safety Code §11470.2 option (misdemeanor prosecution with restitution paid to law enforcement) are required to have a Sheriff-issued zip tie for each plant, one and above, during the full term of their probation.  Again, the aforementioned zip tie program is still operating and zip ties are available for grow year 2012 for probationers and non-probationers alike at the Sheriff’s Low Gap Road administration office.The zip ties are available to veterans and Medicare-qualified patients at 50% fee reduction.

The more problematic aspect of the retooling of §9.31 is the elimination of the 26 to 99 plant exemption or variance for collectively or cooperatively-grown medicinal cannabis.  Pending further review, which includes judicial review of litigation pending before the California Supreme Court, this local law enforcement-based disclosure and monitoring program is not be available during grow year 2012.  Please consult private counsel if you have questions about what this means for your fact-specific situation. That having been said, it continues to be the recommendation of the Mendocino County District Attorney that all patients seeking to stay legal in their effort to homegrow medicinal marijuana do so on (1) authorized private property and, (2) for those growing on property located in the Sheriff’s jurisdiction, that you purchase and participate in the voluntary aspect of the Sheriff’s registered zip tie and monitoring program not to exceed 25 plants.  Participation will continue to be one factor considered by the prosecuting attorney if allegations come before him of criminal wrongdoing.  Finally, it is the position of the Mendocino County District Attorney that any marijuana grown in trespass situations or on public lands – whether with a recommendation or not -- shall never be deemed legal.  Individuals promoting or otherwise participating in such unlawful conduct will be vigorously prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

The California Supreme Court issued an order on January 18, 2012 indicating its intent to review two medical marijuana cases that have resulted in the suspension of several local dispensary ordinances across the state. Accordingly, the appellate rulings in Pack v. City of Long Beach and City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient's Health and Wellness Ctr., Inc. have both been vacated pending the High Court's review and ruling. The Pack decision held that some dispensary regulations are preempted by federal law and the Riverside decision held that localities could legally ban distribution altogether.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

15 arrested in Hayfork marijuana bust

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According to a Press Release from the Trinity County Sheriff's Office, dated Oct. 11, 2011:
On October 3, 2011 Officers from USFS, NSMIT, CHP and Trinity County NTF served three Federal search warrants in the Hayfork area of Trinity County. Two of the property’s were owned by Bryan Schweder on Dirt Road and Highway 3 in Hayfork and the third property was owned by Brian Pickard on Dirt Road in Hayfork. From these three sites there were a total of 593 growing marijuana plants and over 1,150 pounds of processed marijuana. Fifteen suspects were arrested, among them were the owner Bryan Schweder and co-owner Karen Niemi and eight Mexican Nationals. There were eight firearms seized, two were assault weapons and one was reported stolen. Also, over $35,000.00 in U.S. currency was seized. Two Proposition 215 recommendations were posted at the Pickard property on Dirt Road. On Schweder’s property on Dirt Road three 215 recommendations were posted and on his property on Highway 3 six 215 recommendations were posted.
On October 4, 2011 Officers from USFS and Trinity County NTF collected evidence and eradicated over 1,100 marijuana plants from a marijuana cultivation site in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest that has been linked to the Schweder and Pickard properties. There are still a few outstanding suspects and further investigation is being conducted on individuals associated with Schweder and Pickard.
On October 5, 2011 Officers from USFS and NSMIT served a Federal search warrant at another property owned by Brian Pickard in Cottonwood where Pickard was taken into custody.
Agency’s involved:
United States Forest Service (USFS)
North State Marijuana Investigation Team (NSMIT)
California Highway Patrol (CHP)
Trinity County Narcotics Task Force (Trinity County NTF)
Persons Arrested:
Bryan Schweder, DOB: 08/20/62, Hayfork, CA
Karen Niemi, DOB: 07/29/79, Hayfork, CA
Efren Rodriguez, DOB: 01/15/66, Valley Springs, CA
Lovey Thomas, DOB: 03/15/71, Tracy, CA
Frederick Holmes, DOB: 09/21/64, San Leandro, CA
Rafael Reyes, DOB: 02/07/90, Mexico
Barron Lopez, DOB: 06/07/70, Mesa, WA
Fernando Reyes-Mojica, DOB: 05/06/77, Mexico
Manuel Madrigal, DOB: 10/22/70, Mexico
Juan Vargas, DOB: 05/14/88, Raceport, WA
Victorino Betancourt-Meraz, DOB: 03/04/73, Bakersfield, CA
Oseas Tolentino, DOB: 08/06/89, Fishport, WA
Filiberto Tapia, DOB: 02/06/58, Mexico
Leonardo Tapia, DOB: 08/23/90, Corning, CA
Osiel Alvaraz, DOB: N/A, Mexico
11358 HS – Plant/Cultivate/Etc Marijuana/Hashish
11359 HS – Possess Marijuana/Hashish For Sale
12021.1(a) PC – Illegal Possession/Etc of Concealable Firearm
182 PC Conspiracy to Commit Crime
11377(a) HS – Possess Controlled Substance
Photos below show grow sites:
Summary of information received from KMUD News:
Operation Full Court Press concludes a three week long, multi-agency marijuana operation in Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Tehama, and Trinity counties. Targeting large scale, illegal marijuana grows in and around the Mendocino National Forest. The operation consisted of more than 300 personnel from 25 local, state, and federal agencies. The conclusion of the second phase of Operation Full Court Press has resulted in the seizure of 632,058 marijuana plants, 1986 pounds of processed marijuana, $28,031 U.S. Currency, 38 weapons, 20 vehicles, and the arrest of 132 individuals.  Of those arrested, 118 persons were booked on various federal and state charges to include marijuana, firearm, and immigration violations, while 14 were foreign nationals detained on administrative immigration violations. They will be processed for removal from the United States. Additionally, more than 51,404 pounds of trash, 40 miles of irrigation line, 5,459 pounds of fertilizer, and 149 pounds of pesticides were removed from grow sites. Nearly a third of the illegal grow sites eradicated as part of this operation were on public lands managed by the Department of the Interior. A dozen officers from the Bureau of Land Management and Fish & Wildlife Service were involved daily.
According to additional information provided to KMUD News by Dave Brooksher, KZYX News Director:
Of the 132 arrests in Operation Full Court Press,
45% on were on U.S. Forest Service land
21% on BLM land
33%  were on private land
Links to other sources of information about Operation Full Court Press:
Photos taken in conjunction with Operation Full Court Press:
Friday, June 24, 2011

POP Search Warrant nets two arrests

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According to a News Release from the Eureka Police Department, dated June 23, 2011:
On the morning of June 23, 2011, Detectives with the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit (POP) were conducting surveillance on a residence on the 3300 block of I Street, Eureka.  The property had been the source of recent neighborhood complaints concerning suspected marijuana cultivation occurring there.  Earlier, Detectives had also observed several mature marijuana plants growing in the backyard and POP was in the process of obtaining a search warrant for the residence. 

At about 11:00 AM, Detectives observed two males exit the residence and drive off southbound on I Street in a silver VW Corrada hatchback sedan.  Detectives conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle at Manzanita and ‘I’ Streets.  The occupants, Andrew Micheal Harmon (21 of Eureka) and Paul Lojan Harig (20 of Eureka), were taken into custody on suspicion of marijuana cultivation.  A small quantity of processed marijuana was found on Harmon’s (the driver) person.  During a subsequent search of the vehicle, Detectives found a duffel bag containing approximately 4.75 pounds of processed marijuana.

At approximately 12:15 PM, Detectives served the search warrant on the residence.  Investigators subsequently located 49 growing marijuana plants in the backyard, including clones and mature plants.  The plants were in soil pots and ranged in height from approximately 2” – 4’.  21 more growing marijuana plants (small clones) were found in the garage along with 13 drying marijuana plants hanging from a cable (6 pounds of drying marijuana).  Three bags containing approximately 2.25 more pounds of processed marijuana were located inside the residence, along with approximately 1 ounce of concentrated cannabis powder (“kief” – the resin glands or trichomes of cannabis) and several grams of suspected hash oil. Investigators also found two digital gram scales, marijuana packaging materials (turkey size oven bags etc.), and evidence of an illegal hash oil manufacturing lab (glassware with hash oil residue, empty butane gas cartridge box, and two residue laden capped PVC pipes).  These items were used to make concentrated cannabis through a highly volatile chemical extraction process.  Additionally, Investigators discovered written records strongly indicative of marijuana sales activity. 
Officials with the City of Eureka’s Community Development, Building, and Fire Departments were called to the scene to inspect the residence for code enforcement violations and safety hazards.  The grow was determined to be outside the provisions of Eureka’s Medical Cannabis Ordinance, which may result in additional fines being levied on the property owners and/or tenants.   

Harmon and Harig both claimed Prop 215 medical marijuana exemptions for their grow. However, these were invalidated due to the clear evidence of illegal marijuana sales, hash oil manufacturing, and City ordinance violations that were uncovered.  Harmon and Harig were transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where they were both booked for manufacturing a controlled substance by chemical extraction, possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana, and unauthorized cultivation of marijuana (all felony offenses).  Additionally, Harig was on summary probation for threatening/obstructing a federal officer and he was being held for a related SWAP (Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program) violation. 

Evidence seized during the search warrant includes:

  • 70 marijuana plants
  • Approximately 1 ounce of concentrated cannabis (kief) plus hash oil
  • Approximately 7 pounds of processed marijuana
  • 6 pounds of drying marijuana plants (13 plants)

Shown below-Andrew Micheal Harmon (21 of Eureka):

Shown below-Paul Lojan Harig (20 of Eureka)

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