State provides more details on SoHum cannabis bust with county permits but revoked state licenses

In the latest episode of Humboldt Last Week

Recently there was a marijuana bust in SoHum where the growers apparently had county permits but no state license. This was along Little Buck Mountain Road east of Garberville including almost a dozen-thousand plants, over two tons of processed bud, guns, and alleged environmental violations. The news caused many to ask: What actions were taken to give these farmers a chance to become compliant before the bust occurred?

I heard back from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. In summary, they stated while the farmers initially claimed a well was the source of their water, in May the state learned a pond was their water source. The state then looked into whether the farmers were in process of permitting the pond. The farmers were not and were also allegedly violating a cleanup and abatement order from the water board. The farmers then got a notice in June that they had 30 days to permit the pond, or else. They didn’t, and the farmers apparently then proceeded to keep growing cannabis after getting a bunch of licenses suspended. That’s what they say led to the big bust on October 21.

Full statement from the California Department of Food and Agriculture:

On October 21, 2020, a cannabis farmer located on Little Buck Mountain Road in Humboldt County who previously had been licensed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for commercial cannabis cultivation was served with a search warrant by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team. The farmer had indicated in the cannabis cultivation license application submitted to CDFA that a well would be the sole source of water used to irrigate the cannabis. A CDFA compliance inspection conducted on May 5, 2020, revealed that a pond was the main source of water used for cannabis cultivation, not the well indicated in the license application. When CDFA staff followed-up with the California State Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to determine the permit status of the pond, they learned the licensee was not in the process of getting the permits required to use the pond for cannabis irrigation and was also in violation of a Cleanup and Abatement Order that had been issued last year by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

As a follow-up to the CDFA inspection, the licensee received a Notice of Violation for each of the three licensed premises on June 22, 2020, stating the pond could not be used for cannabis irrigation until a permit was received and provided 30 days for the licensee to submit the permit. The licensee did not comply with this directive within the 30 days provided, nor did the licensee comply once the three provisional cannabis cultivation licenses that were in effect as of July 23, 2020, were suspended. The three provisional cannabis cultivation licenses issued by CDFA were then revoked on August 26, 2020, for the violations noticed in the June 2020 violation notices and the July 2020 suspension notices.

Previously: MARIJUANA ENFORCEMENT TEAM OPERATION ON LITTLE BUCK MOUNTAIN ROAD YESTERDAY

Episode Description: 

An interview with Trevor Dunn of Mr. Bungle, a major honor for a local teacher, Tom Brady praises a former Arcatan, Guy Fieri somehow made political news, Taj Mahal is helping Del Norte, prescribed burns, a thumbs down from the ACLU, more details from the state about an interesting recent cannabis bust in SoHum, and more.

Humboldt Last Week is Humboldt County’s news podcast, brought to you in part by Dylan Cimbura-Hernandez LMFTBelle Starr ClothingNorth Coast Co-op, Bongo Boy StudioPhotography by Shi, NCJ, RHBB, and KJNY. Also, enjoy our new-music show Humboldt Fresh Finds 🎵 Saturdays 7-8 PM here.

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27 comments

  • Blah blah blah! So the county and state knowingly allowed them to pull off 2 or 3 massive dep crops but came and took the late October harvest. Some fines that will be counted off as CODB ( cost of doing business). These guys took the agencies for a ride and are laughing their asses off. And somebody will plant this same scene next year. All of the infrastructure is there. But nobody will fully get “legal” there because then they would have to pay all the fines that just got attached to the property. See how “legalization” works?

    • Uh, oh. Forever illegal?

      Newsom ain’t gonna like that. ‘Course he holds the cards(permits) and can manage something. Something’s wrong here.

      We were sold for the mere price of a vote, “legalization”. Now, nobody’s sure what that even means. For example on this one-

      State says, “You’re criminals cause you got a pond that actually has water.”
      County says, nothing, crickets, shuffle papers again. Add extra fees.
      Hardworking taxpayers say, “You government types are crazy.”

    • They had seemingly most of those deps sitting there and took.. 4700 processed units. These guys are most definitely not laughing their asses off. It’s actually odd they would have so much, now that I think about it. Were they saving it for the white market? Once they were licensed and then sell it as their brand? Cause, I can’t imagine they couldn’t have moved it this summer with the market so crazy. That’s 6-8 million. Very odd indeed

      • McKinleyville sherriff office allowed two officers to get paid off my land lord robbing me. Denied me access to the legal system. I have all documents I called William Barr and the deputy US attorney. They killed my animals. Seems like the mafia runs through the local police. Maybe it did some good. It was a hate crime.

        • Sounds interesting. Also sounds like total bullshit. Got any proof? What did Billy Barr say when you got him on the phone? Was it the dep US attorney that killed your animals or?

          Man, if you only knew of a local news reporter/blog who would probably be interested in helping you get this story out to the people!

    • Ya they waited so they could take all they’re bud that was processed. And the full terms. Who took who for ride.

  • Sounds like they put a lot of effort to go legal and they couldn’t jump through the last hoop because of that last stretch of “red tape” …
    .I’ve seen this movie before

    • The plants in that pic are not legal. Plants that size require a METRC tag on each plant, not some tags along the fence line. This is another “we are going legal, but want to milk the black market as long as we can” grows.

    • They didn’t have a water source. This is defeating many many farms. The state and county are racing around to try to keep up. They can’t. Never have. Never will …….oh wait now that it’s legal they will get on top of this just like this. I bet that next year nothing is growing on this property

  • Economics 101 – The traditional market is blowed up right now for the triangles finely grown weed. Either legal needs to start paying proper prices per unit or we’ll continue to beat ya on the streets until corporate learns. Those losses though and all that investor money they have lost and they still are begging investors for more, lol. It is our plant, repeal the Federal law, fuck legal!

  • Well just wait till the end of next year. All county permits that have not completed there compliance agreement and made final permits will no longer work to get a state license come 2021. This means we have 13 months left to finish all your compliance agreements and get issued a final permit or your whole weed op will end up like this one.

  • All too familiar. Ponds are the best water storage and generally the most environmentally responsible way to irrigate, but the State Water Board has “special”rules relating only to marijuana. A permit for a water well is easier to obtain from the SWB seemingly because very few people in the hills have access to ground water.
    Creating a pond for MJ irrigation is not allowed, but utilizing a pond constructed before 2016 IS allowed.
    Meanwhile gRAPE growers can suck rivers and streams dry in the growing season and in the winter for “frost protection”, construct off stream ponds and use massive water bladders. They are also allowed to raze huge swaths of Oak woodlands and fumigate the soil with Methyl Bromide to kill every bit of Oak root to “protect” their Booze from Oak Fungus aka Armillaria Mellia, which is native to California Oak woodlands and can infect grapevines

  • If dope growers grew tomatoes they would be $2000 a lb

  • I heard (ya I know) it was the county that was dragging its feet in issuing the permit for the pond, and ford him self told the permit holder he was fine because he was in the process.

  • One day in 2016 the water board, F&G and CDF showed up at my doorstep in lower Salmon Creek. They stated that they had seen my pond in Google Earth and that it was constructed illegally.
    I said that is strange, since the State of Calif. built and paid for it using funds from CFIP(Calif. Forest Improvement Program) in the late 1960’s.
    Of course, they had never heard of that program.
    They spent 2 days looking at the pond and came up with nothing. These guys came all the from Sacramento for nothing.
    One would think that they would have done some research, which would have saved them a trip.
    Or, they could have called me first and I would have sent them the paper work.
    Just as they were leaving, they saw a fish jump. They asked what type of fish were in there.
    I told them Large Mouth Black Bass, Blue Gills and a few Channel Cats. They stated that the fish were illegal. I said that is strange, as the State planted them. They were crushed when I showed them the paper work.
    It is lucky that we still had all the paper work. My Father told us when the pond was being built, that sometime in the future the State would probably come after us and he was right.
    We also planted over 250,000 trees under CFIP.
    By the way, my pond was built to hold 13 acre feet of water.

    • Third World County

      I love the story of the head of Fish and Wildlife wanting to remove a pond in Whitehorn and a hydrologist had to explain to them that removing the pond would stop a year round stream from flowing drying up the creek and killing their precious salmon. The pond slows the water pushing it into the ground during the rainy season. Ponds recharge groundwater and wells deplete groundwater. Groundwater keeps our streams flowing during the summer. Calfire can dip into ponds for fire and wells can run a garden hose or two not much flow for a fire. These agencies are not protecting the environment by removing ponds and water storage, they are endangering the communities that rely on large water storage for safety wildlife and groundwater recharge.

    • That’s a great story hooktender.what a complete waiste of tax money to come up for 2days for nothing.make america great again&have the agencies go do something at the border or something.its like DEA doing raids & there being a copy for the tow driver on the bottom of there dept.of interior inventory sheet&signing last name two different ways.MAGA

  • A “DOZEN THOUSAND” plants?…..that sounds like a lot..

  • This is his karma if y’all worked on this farm you will know why but it’s sad because you know he will pay off the fines and re do it next year.. they been telling him to get pound covered up years and years I’m surprised it took this long to bust him.. I guess all those interview his was doing about taxation on cananbias didn’t help..

  • We live in a wildfire zone. Ponds are a great method to store water, but it seems if you’re a cannabis farmer, they want you to pay to jump through hoops to maintain them. So they revoked permits, cited environmental violations, and came in hot and heavy with their convoy. They destroyed all the cannabis and commandeered a tractor to dig a hole and filled it with several layers of cannabis soaked down with water and covered in dirt. Then they took the tractor and ran it over all the garden beds, hoops and all. Then they ran the tractor over all the totes and left bootprints on lids they jumped up and down on. Let’s see….farmer is dinged for “illegal” pond and environmental violations. HCSO comes in and digs another hole, fills it with pot, water and dirt and leaves an even bigger environmental mess of plastic from their agro eradication operation. They basically dug another pond and polluted it with cannabis, dirt and plastic. What a system!

  • It won’t be long and the corporations will finish taking over, then all the rules we have to try to follow won’t mean nothing, they will be able to take all the water they need and won’t have all the rules we do. We will be standing in the soup lines

  • It doesn’t matter! You can all talk about legal, not legal, its its all a big fat joke! We are vetted and grandfathered into the state of California and the MCSD didn’t care! 2 years in a row they came, said they didn’t care about our licenses and took and destroyed Everything!!!
    Whatever wasn’t bagged up and ready for them to steal, they wood chipped the rest!
    We are now taking 14 deputies to Federal court!
    We took our priority licenses, walked away from Mendocino and all the Fires, and were gonna fire up our licenses where no one can just come up and do whatever it is they want!

  • This is exactly what prop 64 was designed to do !
    It will wipe out anybody except the CannaFascist$ and Corporate GreedWeed !
    Idiot ConsumerBot$ voted for the Corporate $ponsored Cartel $ystem…
    this isn’t the legalized marijuana that we fantasized about in the 70s !!!

  • Why couldn’t they just fine him? Tell him he can’t grow next year? They allowed him to start the season then pulled the permit half way through. What did they think he would do? Cut his own crop? Basically he got a 5 million dollar fine. Ridiculous!!!!

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