Reducing Risk in the Final Raid Season of Unregulated Cannabis

hezekiah allen

Below is a guest post from Hezekiah Allen published first on his website:

I have mixed feelings about the summer season. Sure, I love the beautiful weather, the river and the coast. But… growing up in Southern Humboldt County—an area that is completely dependent on commercial cannabis—the summer means another thing: raids.

For decades, law enforcement has taken para-military action every summer in communities like mine throughout California. Armed, sometimes masked officers would show up—sometimes hanging from helicopters, and often kicking down doors or cutting gates—to eradicate cannabis plants. Sometimes these officers took on multinational criminal organizations and their equipment and tactics may be warranted. But often this enforcement was aimed at hard working family farmers like mine.

The public didn’t really know the difference, and one size fits all enforcement continued. And we continued to be in hiding, some of us afraid, anxious or ashamed, all of us keeping our mouths shut about what we did.

This was the shadow we lived in. A shadow caused by a public that had been systematically misinformed over decades and law enforcement that destroyed crops and seized assets with impunity. Now, times have changed. Public opinion has evolved. The voters, the legislature and law enforcement all agree: regulation is the future. This is the final raid season before the implementation of regulations for commercial cannabis.

Now, with the coming of regulations, it is the hopes of me and my community that enforcement will give way to inspections, that raids will give way to appointments.

A lot has changed since I was growing up. Cannabis policy reform has continued forward built on the solid foundation of Proposition 215. The passage of the MCRSA and the AUMA together provide the supplies we need to build the next level, but that all has to wait until 2018.

As hard as our team is working in Sacramento to make sure the regulations will work for you, so to do you have to work hard to make sure you are following the rules as they come online.

This is going to be a long and challenging raid season. And it is not going to get any easier in future years. One of the hardest things I do is take phone calls from business owners or farmers that have lost their crop or inventory–or worse– been arrested or had friends and family arrested. There are a few questions I ask that shape my response to those calls. The following is simply my perspective on this coming raid season.

Stay safe out there. Have courage!

Some observations about the coming season

Enforcement is starting early: Often enforcement picks up later in the summer, late July or August. This year enforcement seems to be picking up much earlier, with widespread reports of law enforcement activity reported in late May.

Enforcement is getting more complicated: There are more agencies. Action is taking place for more reasons. Enforcement used to be more simple. It is getting a lot more complicated. There are several agencies, enforcing different rules. Growing up all I needed to know was it the sheriff or the feds? These days the Department of Fish and Wildlife as well as code enforcement and other state and local agencies are pursuing various enforcement activities–and are only sometimes coordinating with one another.

So are the violations: as more agencies enter the cannabis enforcement space, the complexity of the charges is also increasing. Cultivation, trafficking, conspiracy and a few other common charges are now complemented by hundreds of fines and violations, both existing and proposed.

There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk

Compliance has to be a line item in your work plan and/or budget. This doesn’t mean it has to be a big a cost. The same way you plan your travel schedule around the harvest and your budget includes the annual cost of supplies, you now need to start figuring in compliance. Many cottage, specialty and small businesses can’t afford consultants and attorneys and will need to embrace a do it yourself approach to compliance.

Policy

  • Local Government: Get your permit or application in to the county. If none are available, tell your county supervisor what you are doing and where you are doing it.
  • Board of Equalization: Get your sellers permit!
  • Water Board: Get your wastewater waiver (North Coast and Central Valley)
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife: Get your 1600 “lake and streambed alteration (LSA) agreement”

Culture

  • Grow other crops too.
  • Store more rainwater and use conservation irrigation practices.
  • Stay small. Start with a modest and humble proposal and grow together with your community and awareness and acceptance of commercial cannabis increases
  • Be a good neighbor.
    • Guns are tools not toys.
    • Loud noises should be kept to daytime hours.
    • Shared access roads should be well maintained in coordination with your neighbors.
    • Shared access roads are not racetracks. Vehicles are tools not toys. Drive accordingly.
    • Dogs should be well trained and well cared for. Take steps to avoid them getting out and bothering neighbors.
    • Keep other animals and livestock well cared for and ensure they don’t get into waterways or neighbors gardens or yards.
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59 comments

  • What an asshole this guy is.

  • Perfectly written .. there are plenty of large violators with no intention of going legal or keeping the money with in our community. The raids are coming, hopefully they are well prioritized . Good luck to all those trying to do the right thing and care about Humboldts future.

  • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.

    Cue up some Hans Zimmer and chop down each and every single marijuana plant.

    I absolutely love watching growers get raided, it’s the best.

    • And growers laugh at you every time they swing through the taco bell drive through and see you in your miserable dead end job.
      Shameful to feel happy when someones life is being ruined. Smh

  • What a punk. Stuffed into that suit like he just walked out of Sears. The “public” does not all approve of criminal behavior and addicts needing their dope fix. Crime breeds crime. Punks like this need to GROW UP, not grow.

    • Cannabis when used properly is an excellent MEDICINE for a growing number of legit ailments!!! PTSD among others as well, including Autism & Epilepsy among MANY others!!!! Stuff that in your pipe & smoke it!!!

    • Your reading my mind ! Burlington coat factory a$& , just cause you got money doesn’t mean you can buy class .

  • Back in the days of CAMP, millions were spent to ‘eradicate’ marijuana. Where we are now, that was all a waste of tax dollars. Back then, it only hurt the average, hard working family trying to grow their own or make an extra dollar for the family. The big grows never turned up any arrests, and very seldom property seizure. The more CAMP cut down, the more was planted. People growing responsibly and legally are here to stay. Those polluting grounds and water need to go to jail. LE should not waste money and time on responsible growers. Times have changed and we need to accept it. If not you better move to a ‘no grow’ state.

  • Thank you for this thoughtful piece. It seems crazy that we have to list out a set of behavior protocol for people but it’s pretty obvious we do. There’s a lot more of us out there and being considerate goes a long way. Be kind to your neighbors and the environment. It’s our home.

  • spend some money busting meth labs ,and heroin mules ,but no can’t do that they would be taking there job security away.

  • The same congressman office who funded the unconstitutional militarized camp is now funding the unconstitutional and militarized abc agencies. Either way, your land is no longer yours.
    The author forgot to mention the extra permits needed, like federal civil engineering for your water ponds, your federal permits for your harvesting equipment, your permits for breathing clean air and exhaling toxic air.
    Permits = providing written permission to unconstitutional agencies to confiscate your wallet through fines and your land through “environmental abuse”. They’ve spent a decade priming the masses against anything over zero toxic levels. You breathe, you are an offender, a felon.
    For reference, read the papers that go against your confirmation bias.
    For action, hold your representatives accountable. Demand they defund the unconstitutional agencies. Repeal, abolish the unconstitutional 17th amendment.
    Your representatives are supposed to represent you, not the government.

  • Shaks got it. Permits would be great if life, market , and everyone was ideological. Not the case. I see permits as haters who just want their hand in my pocket cause they can’t or won’t see life as a privilege, and make sacrifices and choices_risks of all the kind folk around here. I understand everyone is trying to put food on their plate as well as their loved ones. But come on. Its hard to put in place policy in order to stop the bad apples, but it seems everyone colludes to get their way and justifies. What an american first world joke. You got earn it. No easy way. Always will be bad apples, try and be a good one. 🙂

  • Thanks kym. You are the best!

  • cannabiscomplianceservice.com is accepting a few more clients on the Mendocino Coast from Westport-Laytonville to Navarro. Get legal or as legal as you can Today! We have creative ways to assist farmers in the Coastal Zone.

    Use us or someone else- Farmers have until December 31. 2017 to start the path to legalization or wait until 2020- if more permits are issued.

  • How about adding “Cover your damn greenhouses so the lights don’t shine brighter than the moon and stars”? P.S. They sell them at Dazey’s.

    • Boy Howdy! The night hills look like a Martian invasion. And the decibel level of the generators rumble all night long. I remember the quiet dark…just a memory now. The “big shots” have no idea what they have destroyed, and only their big shiny trucks have value. So very sad.

  • Amen to that. Sick of these ballers that have been doing hu dress of plants and now glowing up the hillside. So annoying. Enforcement where are you now? Lame lame lame. Responsible growers still grow small and don’t need to sign up to feel good about themselves. Snake oil.

  • dyingsmallfarmer

    We can thank ol Kiah for going directly to the water board and telling them “you need to regulate or the pot growers will kill the watershed” now where are we ass hat? He’s killing the small farmers while leaving the door wide open for corporations. Go back to Sacramento to live with rest of the slime Hezekiah.

  • Just your periodic reminder that in the valley and Sierra-Cascade foothills, thousands of existing cannabis producers have no pathway to licensing because their jurisdiction has banned commercial activity.

  • Still Discriminative Against Farmers

    Equal justice for cannabis farmers! Treat it like every other crop an don’t discriminate against small farmers, Cannabis or Grapes or Corn!

    • But it is not grown like many of these crops, right? I realize there are many farms that have solid practices and are not taking a toll on the environment, but there are many to do, right?

  • This coward was scared so he sold out his community to the suits and corporations. What a piece of shit. Now he wears his suit and spends his time hob- knobbing in Sacramento talking like he’s an authority on Humboldt while cutting deals with the people coming to clean us all out. Fuck you Hezekiah! You did nothing for us but speed up the poverty. You’re an idiot- boy but they are patting you on the head while you are too stupid to comprehend what you’ve done. TRAITOR

  • Maybe you shouldn’t be part of megagrows, like this a hole. Maybe, when you are executive director of Mattole Restoration Council, like this a hole, you shouldn’t lecture the rest of us on the benefits of thousand plant grows on a ridge top. Maybe, when you are a marijuana industrialist hypocrite douche, like Hezekiah Allen, you should shut the fuck up, and not tell the rest of us how to stay safe.

  • Damn ol Hezy boy!! Shits gotta sting a little nah?

  • It is highly amusing to observe the rationalizations above. Fact is, no matter what you are doing in the “cannabis business” you will be exposed to random acts of piracy, random effects of the vagaries of labor and weather fluctuations, and the random application of law enforcement.
    Marijuana farming needs to be conducted in an area more suitable for agriculture, a simple fact. Until we see the departure of the “family farmers” and their appurtenant drug culture, living conditions in Humboldt and in Southern Humboldt will fail to improve. The 11th hour application of “permits” and enforcement, is just a last ditch effort by the broke County to scrape income from your formerly illegal operations.
    Until Cannabis is grown by sober businessmen, on farmland that has appropriate water and soil conditions, in an area with competent security, there will be a mess in Humboldt. You “family farmers” would do well to relocate to a more appropriate environment now, before the forces of competition render your land and homes and lifestyles absolutely unsupportable.

    Good luck in your future endeavors.

  • Some neighborhoods don’t want MJ, legal or otherwise. These residential neighboods have gone to great legal expense to have Codes, covenants and restrictions CC&R’s. in place. Many done years ago restricting commercial business. These legal docs were included in escrows. Just because you paid too much money, applied for a legal grow permit doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Keep marijuana where it belongs, not in neighborhoods.

  • Veterans friend

    So glad I have a loophole that allows me to grow my medicine without concern for a permit or a worry.
    It’s called “small really is beautiful”
    If the law comes to my house, they will smile, thank me for my co operation, and go away.

  • Hezekiah is a leader in a challenging position. He puts himself on the firing line (certainly taking fire in above comments!) to help create changes he sees as necessary (and many of them are).
    Yet, whether he has the deeper interests of the ‘grower’ community at heart, or he is somewhat blinded to the larger goal of “compliance” is at issue regarding his, and his organizations position on water rights.
    Rumor has it that Hezekiah has advised grower / landowners to accept the CA Water Board’s position that ‘all water is jurisdictional’, which causes landowners to lose their RIGHTS to their water. Some water is not jurisdictional (meaning, the state can not tell landowners what to do with that water). The distinction between jurisdictional and non is enshrined in the document that has governed CA water rights since the late 1960’s, called Porter Cologne.
    So, while he does good work, like most ‘leaders’ I suggest that you don’t just depend on what they advise. Check around. Consult attorneys. DON’T GIVE UP YOUR RIGHTS or those of the land you now own!

    • Not a leader, a fucking hypocrite. A rich douche industrialist second gen p.o.s. No credibility, unless you want to grow tens of thousands of plants, and destroy a watershed. Then, he’s your bttch.

    • Why fix what wasn’t broke? It’s broke bc of people like him

  • CartOnTopOfHorse

    So much self qualifying misinformation givers on here, like “potting soil farmers” and must grow in agriculture areas Humboldt not good.. Yes marijuana grows in a medium, you only need to bring in soil once. Yes, flat land, power, water and labor are relevant, but for greenhouse and outdoor the cent per gram will crunch just fine here. Dried unprocessed flower can be taken to be trimmed in town/populated areas. If one were looking to grow fields of swag the valley would be the best option, but for smokable flower a lot of places are viable including the emerald triangle.
    Those who bring up Salinas… most information about there is coming from the local Monterey news outlets and people like Steve De Angelo are shilling and advertising how good it is there. After they all invested tons of money. Looking at how much the Monterey local/county has to gain of course they will try to get the media puppets on board with the whole idea. It seems as though there the ones worried about competition. The only thing that will destroy the emerald triangles chances is environmental/water access issues. Beyond that, well see on the price where and when the market settles is yet to be determined.

  • CartOnTopOfHorse

    Environment/water are important, didn’t mean in that way. Just in regard to its effect on the cannabis industries progression in the area. All the light/noise pollution should be handled with proper setups and infrastructures along with water storage/irrigation improvements. Many parcels are unfit to be developed, especially in regard to what people are trying to squeeze out of them. Maybe a case by case approach to land development would have been best from from the start, but as you know how would they have handled that with all the pre existing situations.

  • He Ruined It For All of Us

    Puke. Can’t believe you “farmers” buy into this guy. Tell me again how these regulations are working for you? Be sure to pay your dues to the EGA and the Emerald Co-op.

    Hey fat guy in a little coat, your childhood “story” is worn out.

  • Triniboldticino

    There’s one in every jurisdiction where it has been legalized and is pending outcome to “how its done.” They get a haircut (although not always), go to Goodwill for a suit, and sell out to the high roller money backers to manipulate things for their “clients.” The current legislative proposal in another jurisdiction, by Kiah’s clone, is to require at least $600,000.00 to “qualify” as a “commercial, for-profit recreational grower.” Like I have said before, it will all come crashing down when multinational Corporate Cannabis takes over. Prices on the “gray” market will go through the floor, prices in the “storefronts” will go through the roof, and Corporate Cannabis will be spending millions funding law enforcement to imprison anyone that tries to compete with them outside “their” law. Plan. Really. Plan.

  • One thing you growers can do is have respect for the people that live here. The roads in this area are not race tracks and forest service roads are not usually maintained. I would rather turn in Joe racer than have to keep yelling at him to slow down. This also applies to anyone making deliveries to your places!

  • !!! WARNING!!!
    MARINA AT THE KETTENPOM STORE IN ZENIA WILL SERVE YOU WITH LEGAL DOCUMENTS!!!! FACT!!!

  • huffing and puffing

    Because erradication efforts are just sooooo effective.

  • The final raid season?
    You just went full [edit]! It never ceases to amaze me how stupid small town folks really are, it will,never stop
    This isnt just going away. Illegal,grows are here to,stay, and the county has to shape up and actually catch up with the mess they created out,of greed!

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