Forced to Work on Pot?
The controversy over children and the marijuana industry continues. Here is the story from the Ukiah Daily Journal.
A fly-over and a 14-year-old’s report of being forced to tend a marijuana garden led authorities to converge on a Robinson Creek Road home Friday, according to Robert Nishiyama, commander of the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force.
Authorities are seeking the home’s two main occupants, Kele Hoffman and Judiah Hoffman, who ran from the scene, according to Nishiyama. Authorities seized between 1,400 and 1,500 marijuana plants growing indoors and outside, 26 pounds of processed marijuana and a 70-kilowatt generator.
The Task Force arrested Sean Benjamin George Gordon, 30, of Ukiah, who was reportedly hired by the Hoffmans to help tend the garden, and was the only person found at the home.
Nishiyama said the Task Force spotted the marijuana garden while flying over the area and obtained a search warrant for the home, located in the 6600 block of Robinson Creek Road, but was waiting for the appropriate time to serve it.
“While we were waiting, we got a call from the Sheriff’s Office saying they were at the location,” Nishiyama said.
The teen allegedly had run away from home and reported being forced to trim the marijuana and tend the garden. Deputies were responding to the reported child abuse, found the garden and called the Task Force, according to Nishiyama.
The plants were in varying stages of maturity and ranged from new plants to 50 inches tall, he said. They were growing in an approximately 20-foot by 30-foot by 10-foot Conex shipping container outfitted with halogen lights, outside in pots and indoors.
Nishiyama said the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department plans to issue a warrant for Judiah Hoffman’s arrest in a marijuana-related case. Judiah Hoffman is also involved in an active court case in Los Angeles, Nishiyama said.
“We had a juvenile who was made to work against their will and wanted out,” Nishiyama said.
He said the teen was placed with relatives, and the investigation continues.
Questions I asked myself after reading this:
Given that marijuana is illegal, should a parent ever force a child to work in it?
If this farm were potatoes, would the child be considered abused?
It seems likely, though I don’t know the facts, that a child who went to the police must have been feeling really abused.