Humboldt Marijuana Entrepreneur Pled Guilty to ‘possessing marijuana for the purposes of sale while utilizing workers under the age of 21’
Press release from the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office:
A commercial marijuana entrepreneur operating out of southern Humboldt County was convicted by plea yesterday afternoon in the Mendocino County Superior Court of possessing marijuana for the purposes of sale while utilizing workers under the age of 21 years, a misdemeanor.
Karl Michael Witt, age 46, of Redway, executive director of Eden Farms Cooperative, Inc., plead no contest to conduct prohibited by the revamped marijuana laws ushered in by Proposition 64. He was arrested back on December 7, 2017 by the California Highway Patrol in Mendocino County.
Pursuant to a negotiated disposition entered into by Witt, his attorney, and District Attorney Eyster, a disposition subsequently also approved by the court, Witt was placed on a grant of court probation for a period of 36 months.
The terms of Witt’s probation include: (1) his serving 14 days in the county jail with credit for 14 days already served; (2) 100 hours of community service; (3) restitution to law enforcement in the amount of $18,700 (term satisfied); (4) a 4th Amendment waiver (search clause); (5) possession of all marijuana by Witt is prohibited unless and until he has a valid state license and a valid Humboldt County permit; (6) no direct or indirect participation in and/or sponsorship of the Emerald Cup shall be allowed during the period of probation; (7) no volunteer workers or employees under the age of 21 years shall be involved with Eden Farms or at any other marijuana venture in which Witt is involved; (8) Witt shall pay court-ordered fines and fees, which include a $2,000 donation by Witt to the local non-profit which monitors community service, Mendo Lake Alternative Service (term satisfied); and (9) finally he is required to obey all laws.
As recently reported, fewer than one percent of the state’s estimated 68,120 cannabis cultivators have obtained the necessary licensing to be involved in the commercial marijuana trade. While still early in the new regulatory process, District Attorney Eyster noted that the marijuana black market remains alive and well in Mendocino County and elsewhere, despite an ongoing effort by local and state officials to shine a light on, gain control of, and regulate the local marijuana trade from seed to consumption.
As Witt discovered the hard way, Proposition 64 and the “new” marijuana laws make crystal clear that employing underage individuals in any commercial marijuana business can be expected to result in arrest and prosecution.