FALL CANNABIS STATE OF AFFAIRS
There are “dozens of illegal grows in the county” according to some. Many of these have happened to people who misunderstood the “new” rules. The Cannabis Licensing Office and Sheriff’s Department have kept a steady stream of busts and citations, primarily on outdoor gardens, and all indications suggest these will continue through harvest season.
Additionally, there is more evidence of collaboration between PG&E and enforcement which will likely follow indoor garden busts upon the completion of outdoor garden busts.
The enforcement team are responsible for; cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and the dispensing of cannabis regulation. Each ticket per type is $2500, meaning costs could be up to $10,000, and you lose your garden. While these tickets are not criminal tickets the consequences and costs are significant! The impacts increase with repeat unregulated grows ticketed $2500 per day; adding to ticket fees totaling $500,000, in some cases.
Be sure to learn the rules concerting medical grows. An updated description of rules is underway. Meanwhile, here are some important tips to know.
What you should do if they show up at your garden?
Because this is not a criminal investigation the sheriff doesn’t need to give you a Miranda warning. On rare occasion the investigation can become criminal when they discover more during service of a warrant.
What should you say? Usually, ALMOST NOTHING. Be extremely polite, explain calmly why you believe your grow is legal, nothing else. Always remain calm and polite, hostility is of benefit to on one, especially your self. Generally, they are “just doing their job”. The consequences of extra red tags for structures they don’t really care about and tickets in otherwise marginal cases are not worth it. Most of the interactions with the sheriff are recorded with their body cameras. They don’t warn you; people rarely help themselves by talking.
What about written statements? DO NOT DO IT! Any competent attorney will tell you that submitting a written admission of criminal or (quasi criminal) activity to any government agency (particularly one with direct ties to the Sheriff’s Office) is EXTREMELY RISKY, potentially exposes you to even larger fines, criminal charges, and essentially just gives them additional ammunition to use in the future. Submitting the statement to a civilian agency, means it will be turned over to law enforcement, no exceptions. Furthermore, we have yet to see a single citation be dropped or reduced based on such a statement.
I have been cited for a cannabis violation, what do I do? We strongly recommend that you do not directly contact either the CLO’s office or law enforcement directly, and if you do, DO NOT GIVE A WRITTEN STATEMENT. Your best option is to work with an attorney to communicate with the County on your behalf, or if you cannot afford it, appeal the citation yourself and make whatever statement you intend to make in person at the appeal hearing after analyzing it with a knowledgeable attorney or friend. We have seen clients get reductions from the fines on their tickets and in some cases dismissals.
To sum it up the state of affairs has much work to do, and seem to be out of touch with the real expectations of the day. Quote “We have a regulated market people need to get used to,” says Santa Cruz County spokesman Jason Hoppin. “This isn’t the Wild West. Those days are over.” No one was asking for the Wild West, the community has been seeking a workable path to regulation, one that seeks to address the needs of community, and one that is actually tangible. The failed policies of the county and the ridiculous regulatory burdens, mostly posed by the county’s chosen path of regulation is the reason that most of these people have been made outlaws. Ultimately, Good regulation leads to good outcomes, and that is what is critical for the safety and well being of our people and environment.
NEWS ARTICLES: Good Times recently ran a two part series on the current state of the cannabis industry in Santa Cruz County (links to articles… http://goodtimes.sc/santa-cruz-news/news/pot-growers-scramble-sheriff-steps-enforcement/ (part 1) and https://goodtimes.sc/santa-cruz-news/news/will-cannabis-growers-paid-dues-get-fair-shake/ (part 2).
Contact: Rice, Luxon, & Bolster-Grant Attorneys at Law https://rlbglaw.com/