Over the weekend, 35 people were arrested and $10 million worth of marijuana was seized during a raid at an old airport in Calavaras County, California.
According to the sheriff’s department, the grow operation had been under investigation for the past month due to a reported increase in traffic going in and out of the airport.
However, the operation wasn’t illegal; investigators found that the owners had a permit to grow cannabis.
“They said that they were registered. They paid their $5,000 fee, but again (the owners) are not reading the ordinance,” Sheriff Rick DiBasilio told KCRA. “The ordinance is very specific: you are allowed to grow—that’s it. It has nothing to do with processing, manufacturing, testing, anything.”
According to DiBasilio, it’s the county’s new marijuana laws which are causing problems, but Ata Gonzalez, founder of G FarmaBrands—which consults licensees in Calavaras County and helps fund them in return for product—says that’s not the case.
“G FarmaBrands has sat with the sheriff beforehand, opened dialogue and offereed 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 explained to HIGH TIMES.
While deputies did find a high-tech marijuana processing operation, in addition to the grow, Gonzales maintains that the bust was politically motivated—not a permit issue.
“What was being done is totally wrong from a wild cowboy sheriff, who got thrown an urgency ordinance to license commercial marijuana cultivation by MMRSA standards.” Gonzalez said. “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.”
Watch exclusive video footage of the raided grow room below: