June has began, bringing with it the promise of summer, a plethora of fresh produce, and continuing cannabis raids across the state of California.
Authorities are reporting that nearly 141,000 marijuana plants have been seized in Southern California over the past week during massive raids which are stated to be targeting “dozens of illegal cultivation sites”. We are hearing from our sources that this problem is actually much more widespread than reported.
We treated 4/20 a little different… Yes, there is a new Sheriff in town,”– Sheriff, Chad Bianco (Riverside California, 2019)
This past Wednesday, June 5, 2019, the Riverside County sheriff’s deputies, working alongside other law enforcement officials, seized an estimated 140,877 plants and arrested at least 8 people in the Anza Valley region between Los Angeles and San Diego California. Beginning early Wednesday morning, some 700 law enforcement officers served warrants to over 118 marijuana grows(1) (2).
The Anza Valley is a region where cannabis has historically been heavily cultivated. When a regulatory process, implemented to regulate cannabis growing was introduced to the county, residents expressed concern at the burdensome nature of the process which includes background checks and can be extremely expensive. Despite the efforts to bring an organized regulation to cannabis cultivation, it is imperative to note that the board has not yet approved a single application for a commercial grow permit in this region.
70 tons of the weed plants were buried at the Lamb Canyon Landfill in Beaumont, California. According to Department of Waste Resources staff, officials worked until 11 PM on the day of the raids to ensure all of the confiscated products were destroyed. Other waste was immediately piled on top of the cannabis. This cannabis was estimated to be worth some $189 million. Please take a moment to consider how many patients that could have helped.
Riverside County’s “Cannabis Regulation Task Force” includes deputies, prosecutors, probation agents and other law enforcement officers. The force has been conducting raids on a regular basis since last fall, mainly targeting illegal storefront marijuana dispensaries in cities.
Similar raid attempts were made in California, beginning on April 20 of this year. 420 is a celebrated day in the cannabis community and is typically a day where activists and patients gather together worldwide to share the ways in which medical cannabis has benefitted their lives. As the global cannabis movement continues to grow this day has acquired a great deal more meaning. It is an opportunity for education and to address injustice.
This year, the 420 festivities were marred for many California residents as newly elected Riverside Sheriff, Chad Bianco, called for a raid on illegal marijuana distributors leading to the confiscation of “tons” of marijuana. “We treated 4/20 a little different… Yes, there is a new Sheriff in town,” Bianco told Facebook.
We treated 4/20 a little different…. yes, there is a new Sheriff in town. Hemet Sheriffs Station, Code Enforcement,…Posted by Sheriff Chad Bianco on Saturday, April 20, 2019
This issue is not isolated to Southern California, nor even to the state of California itself. Zach Barnes, owner and operator of Big Daddy’s Edibles, a company which has been providing legal dispensaries in cities which include San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Jose, with high-quality cannabis edibles for nearly a decade states “I’m very sorry for anyone affected and sending positive waves your way. It’s not just in SoCal. San Jose was just hit.”
Raids were reported in the Santa Cruz Mountains in early May and in the Siskiyou region on May 14 and May 17. They have also been on going in Los Angeles as well.
At the same time, state regulators continue to fail in large to make licensing accessible to those in need. Many communities have now banned commercial sales, while some have not yet created rules in which a legal market could potentially operate.
Does the creation of a legal cannabis market simply just take time or are we in desperate need of a change of mindset?