Controversy has erupted after cops in Calaveras County, California seized 2.5 tons of marijuana, even though the growers had a permit to grow the weed. Over the past month, Calaveras police had been keeping an eye on a growing operation based at an old airport, after locals reported an increased amount of traffic going in and out of the facility. Last week, police arrested 35 people and seized their entire crop of marijuana, worth about $10 million, which they intend to destroy.
Although the owners of the facility had a license to grow marijuana, the police took issue with the fact that the old airport had been turned into a high-tech processing facility. “They said that they were registered. They paid their $5,000 fee, but again (the owners) are not reading the ordinance,” Sheriff Rick DiBasilio said. “The ordinance is very specific: you are allowed to grow -- that’s it. It has nothing to do with processing, manufacturing, testing, anything.”
Ata Gonzalez, founder of G FarmaBrands, a company that consults licensed marijuana growers in Calaveras County, believes that the bust was politically motivated. “G FarmaBrands has sat with the sheriff beforehand, opened dialogue and offered to help in whichever way possible to bring Calaveras from out of the shadows to be one, if not the one, county to set standards,” Gonzalez said.
“What was being done is totally wrong from a wild cowboy sheriff,” Gonzalez continued. “Millions have been invested into this promise of being licensed and immune from prosecution, and now on his own political motives, this guy has shut down a state-of-the-art harvesting center that was being used to dry, trim, cure and package dry cannabis flower. [He’s] thrown away 2.5 tons of legal cannabis without the licensee having his due process.”