Marijuana

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

County Sends Nearly 500 Cannabis Warning Letters

Posted By on Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 10:28 AM

Last week, Humboldt County’s Commercial Cannabis Cultivation unit at Code Enforcement sent out about 470 warning letters to residents suspected of unpermitted cultivation activity.

As a result, consultants who help farmers through the permit process say they received multiple calls from panicky growers, with one saying in exasperation that the county has “carpet-bombed our community again.”

For his part, Humboldt County’s Planning Director John Ford, who oversees the program, describes the letters as a response to two community meetings in Southern Humboldt during which people asked for the courtesy of a warning letter before they received an abatement notice, potentially costing them tens of thousands of dollars a day in fines. Ford says these are those courtesy warning letters.
The county is sending out warning letters to cannabis growers. - FILE
  • File
  • The county is sending out warning letters to cannabis growers.

To some though, the letters signal the end to a way of life, not only for them but for their communities. As one farmer who received a warning letter for his 30 plants of cultivation explained, his family may have to leave the area. His kids go to a very small school with eight students. “When they leave, that school may close and the remaining kids may get bused out each day,” he told us.

The letters note that the county has observed activity they believe is cannabis cultivation. Ford says the letters are a request for a response. He said, “If it isn’t [marijuana cultivation,] contact us and tell us that. If it is, the county expects it to stop or [for the farmer to] get a permit and become legal.”

The letters in part read,
“You are receiving this letter as a courtesy to inform you of what appears to have been an unpermitted commercial cannabis cultivation operation on your parcel. A county land use permit and a state license are both required to legally cultivate cannabis in Humboldt County, and our records indicate that neither exist for this property.

While the overall cultivation area appears to be relatively small, it still requires an appropriate permit.

At this time you are not receiving a Notice to Abate Nuisance or a Notice of Violation …. but your attention and action are required.

You are encouraged to take one of the following corrective actions.

1. Cease the cultivation operation and remove any unpermitted structures related to the cannabis cultivation. For any unpermitted grading, apply for and obtain an after-the-fact grading permit to restore natural or preexisting grades.

2. Should your goal be to commercially cultivate cannabis, cease all cultivation, apply for and receive the required permits and licenses to cultivate cannabis before you commence any future cultivation.

For cultivation that existed prior to December 31, 2015, there is still an opportunity before the end of the calendar year to apply for a “pre-existing” cultivation permit.

It is a violation of County Code to cultivate cannabis without a permit. Code Enforcement staff will continue to monitor your property to confirm the cannabis operation footprint has been eliminated and that it does not appear in the 2020 cultivation season.

If unpermitted cannabis operation persists or reappear in 2020, you will receive a Notice to Abate and a Notice of Violation for an unpermitted activity.

At this time there is no obligation or requirement to contact Code Enforcement staff to discuss this issue or any potential violations of County Code.

If you have questions…you may contact the County Planning Department … .”

Ford said Code Enforcement was directed for the 2019 season to only send Notices of Intent to Abate to sites where the cultivation appeared to be using more than 6,000 square feet. He said these warning letters are for landowners with the smallest grow sites.


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Friday, November 8, 2019

CDC Reports Links Vaping Lung Injuries to Vitamin E

Posted By on Fri, Nov 8, 2019 at 12:41 PM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified vitamin E acetate, an ingredient used to cut cannabis concentrate oils, as a "very strong culprit" in the rash of vaping-related lung injuries across the nation that now include more than three dozen deaths.

The CDC report released today does not rule out the possibility other chemicals or toxins could be contributing to the vaping-related illnesses, which have now impacted more than 2,000 people, and warns against vaping products that contain THC, "especially obtained from informal sources such as friends or family, or those from the illicit market, where product ingredients are unknown or can be hugely variable."
SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
The report comes after the CDC analyzed fluid samples taken from the lungs of 29 patients hospitalized with the lung disease and found vitamin E acetate in each of them.


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Friday, September 27, 2019

NBC News Investigation Finds Vitamin E, Pesticides in Illicit Vape Cartridges

Posted By on Fri, Sep 27, 2019 at 2:35 PM

SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
An investigative report published by NBC News this morning seems to underscore the dangers of vaping cannabis products purchased on the illicit market, as reports of serious vaping-related lung disease continue to increase nationwide.

The news outlet purchased 18 THC vape pen cartridges — three from licensed dispensaries and 15 on the unregulated, illicit market — and reports the “findings were deeply troubling.”

While the three purchased at legal dispensaries tested clean for heavy metals, pesticides or residual solvents like Vitamin E, 13 of the 15 illicit market samples tested positive for Vitamin E, which some health officials believe is a potential cause of the rash of lung illnesses being being reported throughout the country, which now include a dozen deaths.

Further, the NBC News reported that it tested 10 of the unregulated vape cartridges for pesticides and all 10 came back dirty, with all containing varying amounts of the fungicide myclobutanil, which can transform into hydrogen cyanide when it is heated.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Eureka Code Enforcement Uncovers Large Hash Lab

Posted By on Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 10:24 AM

eureka.jpg
A butane hash lab operation was shut down near the North Coast Co-op on Friday after Eureka Police Department officers served a search warrant, finding hundreds of pounds of cannabis trim and more than 100 pounds of liquid butane.

According to a release, the illegal operation at Third and A streets was discovered by the city’s code enforcement unit.

“Materials and equipment consistent with hash extraction and processing were also found,” the release states. “All equipment and materials were confiscated and criminal charges are being pursued against the individuals involved.”


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Friday, February 15, 2019

Remains Found by the Eel River in 2016 Identified

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2019 at 1:54 PM

George Preston Daniels - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • George Preston Daniels
When George Preston Daniels didn’t show up at the Humboldt County Courthouse on March 24, 2016, for charges stemming from what authorities said they believed was a marijuana rip-off, he became a wanted man. But, most likely, he was already dead.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office confirmed today that remains found along the Eel River in May of 2016 were identified last month as belonging to Daniels.

Over the spring and summer of 2016, bounty hunters from a local bail bonds office had scoured the area — even hiring a small plane at one point to search for Daniels’ vehicle — to no avail, in spite of a reward offered by his bail bondsman.

In fact, his body had been found in May of that year by a person canoeing the Eel River near Stafford. At the time, Chief Deputy Coroner Ernie Stewart said it appeared the body had been there "quite some time" and the case was being treated as a homicide.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Major Pot Bust Yields 1 Arrest, More Expected

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2019 at 3:13 PM

Nearly 1,000 growing cannabis plants were found. - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Nearly 1,000 growing cannabis plants were found.
One person was arrested and more are expected after the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office found a “substantial indoor” cannabis grow and several hash labs at a property on the 900 block of Vance Avenue Thursday.

The unit served a search warrant at the site and reported finding nearly 1,000 growing plants, 8,500 pounds of cannabis trim, approximately 275 pounds of cannabis bud and 26.5 pounds of butane honey oil. Also seized was more than $13,000 in cash.
Hash lab found at the Samoa site. - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Hash lab found at the Samoa site.

See previous coverage of the operation here and here.

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Friday, December 28, 2018

Reports Find Cannabis Bank Infeasible; Five Things You Need to Know About Public Banking in California

Posted By on Fri, Dec 28, 2018 at 11:19 AM

ILLUSTRATION BY SAM ARMANINO
  • Illustration by Sam Armanino
Once an idea batted around mostly in Occupy Wall Street circles, public banking is attracting a surge of interest among policymakers in several states, including California.

“We must break Wall Street’s chokehold on state finance and develop our own state bank,” Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom said on the campaign trail.

If California had a bank controlled by the government rather than profit-hungry shareholders, public banking advocates argue, the state could fund social goods that often get the cold shoulder from commercial institutions: infrastructure projects, low-interest student loans and affordable housing. California’s treasurer and attorney general just published two studies that look at whether a state bank could help the newly legal weed industry by providing a safe repository for cash that major banks won’t accept.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Alarms Leads Deputies to Apparent Hash Lab Stash in McKinleyville Storage Facility

Posted By on Mon, Dec 10, 2018 at 10:19 AM

Components of a hash oil lab found in the storage unit. - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Components of a hash oil lab found in the storage unit.
Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office deputies discovered components of a butane hash oil lab and nearly 330 pounds of pot after responding Saturday to a “duress alarm activation” at a McKinleyville storage facility on Sutter Road.

According to a release, deputies found a storage locker with the keys in the lock but no one who appeared to be associated with the unit. To make sure someone was not inside in need of help, they made entry to find “components associated with a butane hash oil (BHO) lab,” the cannabis and 26 pounds of hash oil product.

No one has been arrested and the case remains under investigation.


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Thursday, December 6, 2018

McKinleyville Man Attacked, Robbed of Pot by Masked Assailants

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2018 at 12:32 PM

sheriff.png
A McKinleyville man was attacked early yesterday morning by masked assailants who hit him on the head with metal bats and stabbed him in the chest while demanding money and cannabis, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies responded to the scene on the 2600 block of Bolier Avenue in McKinleyville around 3 a.m. and found the victim, who was taken to the hospital in stable condition, according to a news release.

The sheriff’s office is asking for the public’s help in locating the three suspects – described as white males, one in his mid-30s and the two others in their early 20s – who fled the scene with approximately 60 pounds of trimmed marijuana and other items.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

UPDATE: 'Most Bud I Have Ever Seen in One Place,' Officer says of 16K Pound Bust

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 at 10:49 AM

Marijuana bud mounded over a trench which was created by law enforcement to bury and destroy the seized product. - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Marijuana bud mounded over a trench which was created by law enforcement to bury and destroy the seized product.
Yesterday, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) in conjunction with multiple agencies served warrants on four properties they believe to be related in the 4100 block of Wilder Ridge is southwestern Humboldt County.

Lt. Mike Fridley of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office described the scene as having the “most bud I have ever seen in one place.” He told the Redheaded Blackbelt that there was over 16,000 pounds of mostly processed bud. While some wasn’t in final manicure form, it had been mainly broken down into palm-sized flowers. More than $40,000 was found as well.

The team dug a trench three feet deep to bury the marijuana in the mud in order to destroy it but, there was so much, it mounded over the top and additional work had to be done, he explained.

Fridley described a high level of sophistication at the grow, with about 30 workers on site. Most of them, he explained, used passports from Eastern European nations to identify themselves. “There was a 30 person manicuring room,” Fridley said. “And a commercial kitchen.” He added that they had the biggest generator he’d ever seen.

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