Feds Don’t Get Zip-tie Growers’ Names

According to an email sent out by Mendocino Supervisor John McCowen yesterday afternoon, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and the US Attorney’s Office of Northern California reached an agreement on “the nature and scope of documents to be provided to the Federal Grand Jury.” Mendocino will not have to provide information that will identify a participant in the program. 

The Mendocino Zip-tie program that allowed medical marijuana growers to purchase permits for a certain number of plants and registered the participants was basically shut down last year. Last October, http://lostcoastoutpost.comUS Attorney’s Office subpoenaed the records of the program sparking immediate fears among growers who participated that their names would be given to the federal government and prosecution could follow.

LoCO spoke to Kristin Nevedal, Chair of the Emerald Growers Association, last fall and she explained, “[The Zip-tie] program was setting the bar on water diversion…They were looking at sediment runoffs…Having people get permits… …They had embarked on a best practices program that would have raised the bar.  It would have encouraged farmers to embrace good environmental practices.” According to Nevedal, the program helped protect the County from environmental problems. 

We have these environmental issues happening all over the state,” Nevedal says. “When you close dispensaries and permit programs, you are encouraging black markets and underground markets.  This further breeds the negative aspects of [the marijuana industry.]”

The EGA requested at the time that people who care about those issues should call their Mendocino County supervisors and request that they do all they can to protect the records of those growers who were pioneers in the effort to work within law. 

The Mendocino Supervisors in December filed a motion to quash the subpoenas.  Subsequently, the http://lostcoastoutpost.comUS Attorney’s Office and the county counsel have been working together to reach an agreement. Yesterday, the two sides agreed that the information provided to the US Attorney’s office would not include the “personal identifying information involving individuals.”

Below is the County Counsel’s statement on this issue:

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and the United States Attorney’s Office for the northern district of California have reached an agreement on the nature and scope of documents to be provided to the Federal Grand Jury, pursuant to the subpoenas of October 23, 2012.  The information to be provided will not include personal identifying information involving individuals.  This consensus is reflective of the law enforcement needs of the United States Attorney’s Office, as well as reflecting the public policy goals of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.  The scheduled hearing on April 16, 2013, will not be held in light of this consensus


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