Local Business Owner Josh Sweet Agrees to Pay $1.75 Million for Cannabis Environmental Violations

Press release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

A Humboldt County Superior Court judge approved a settlement that requires a cannabis cultivator to pay $1.75 million for building and diverting water from illegal onstream reservoirs without first obtaining permits required by the California Water Boards and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

The settlement, which was reached after a lengthy investigation, resolves violations by Joshua Sweet and his companies, The Hills LLC and Shadow Light Ranch LLC, that include: the owner’s destruction of wetland habitat and stream channels; conversion of oak woodland to grow cannabis; and failure to work with the State Water Resources Control Board, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and CDFW to satisfy permitting requirements.

If Sweet completes restoration of the damaged property by 2026, $1 million of the penalty will be suspended. This work includes the removal of three unauthorized reservoirs and the rehabilitation of stream channels and damaged wetlands.

“It is critical for all cannabis cultivators to be environmentally responsible and protect California’s water supply and water quality,” said Taro Murano, program manager for the State Water Board’s Division of Water Rights cannabis enforcement section. “Sweet chose to operate his business while ignoring regulations designed to protect the environment. He must now remediate the environmental damage he caused and pay a significant penalty. No one should get a business advantage by ignoring the law and harming the environment.”

“This case represents years of hard work by dedicated staff to remediate damage to streambed channels, wetland habitat and oak woodlands,” said Nathaniel Arnold, acting chief of law enforcement for CDFW. “The settlement also speaks volumes to the egregious nature of this case and should send a strong message to those working outside of state regulations to cultivate cannabis. Our natural resources deserve to be respected.”

According to the settlement, Sweet must pay $500,000 to the Division of Water Rights, $175,000 to the North Coast Water Board, and $75,000 to CDFW over five years. Additionally, he is required to obtain all the necessary permits, cease unauthorized water diversions and use of water, restrict future property development and comply with all applicable regulations.

More information on cannabis enforcement is available on the State Water Board and CDFW websites.

The State Water Board’s mission is to preserve, enhance and restore the quality of California’s water resources and drinking water for the protection of the environment, public health and all beneficial uses, and to ensure proper water allocation for present and future generations.

CDFW’s mission is to manage California’s diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and their use and enjoyment by the public.

The North Coast region stretches from the Oregon border to Marin County and is characterized by remote wilderness and towering redwoods. The area accounts for 12% of the state’s land area and 35% of its freshwater runoff. Timber harvesting, agriculture, recreation and tourism are mainstays of the local economy.

See Sweet’s opinion of the regulatory agencies here: ‘We’re in Crisis Mode’: Collapsing Cannabis Industry Guts Garberville Businesses; Local Leaders Look to Tourism as a Saving Grace–Scroll down about halfway or search his name.

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BudD
Member
Bud
1 month ago

Looks nice. I think they should just call the ponds ‘wetlands’ and not worry about it…

Dam Gov
Guest
Dam Gov
1 month ago

So it’s illegal to have cracks in your dam…???

BudD
Member
Bud
1 month ago
Reply to  Dam Gov

The cracks are a result of the underlying soil having ‘2:1’ clays that shrink (and crack) when dry, and swell back up when moist. The photo is evidence of absolutely nothing other than the underlying soil mineralogy…

Crack Kills
Guest
Crack Kills
1 month ago
Reply to  Bud

Exactly! Maybe there’s other Crack we (they) should be worrying about…!

Meh
Guest
Meh
1 month ago

Were the ponds put in after obtaining a cannabis permit or are they older and should have been grandfather claused in? Looks like a nice pond, I don’t understand the issue.

BudD
Member
Bud
1 month ago
Reply to  Meh

I think the issue is that the enviro-fascist industrial complex did not get their money…

c u 2morrowD
Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Meh

where the water for this pond coming from ?

Meh
Guest
Meh
1 month ago
Reply to  c u 2morrow

The rain falling and a class 3 stream.

Redwood Dan
Guest
Redwood Dan
1 month ago

Is this the guy that sprayed the homeless with the garden hose in front of flavors?

Not Sweet enough
Guest
Not Sweet enough
1 month ago
Reply to  Redwood Dan

Redwood Dan, yes it is! Sounds like he’s going to be lucky to have a home when they get done with him. Josh, thought he was “something.” Now they should go after him for buying up the town with illegal gains, and find him for every building being empty! What about those 33 lbs. of hash he got caught with a few years back? Gosh, I hope that’s coming for him too!

Last edited 1 month ago
furies
Guest
furies
1 month ago

so “sweet” to see this nasty person is getting some karma…he was so flagrant with his grobro shit

I am a robot
Guest
I am a robot
1 month ago

Exactly.
Thank you for reminding those who forgot that.

BudD
Member
Bud
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Voice

That might be the most uninformative thing I have ever read…

I like stars
Guest
I like stars
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Voice

I couldn’t make myself read the whole thing, but one of those musicians was playing a ukulele.

Ed Voice
Guest
Ed Voice
1 month ago
Reply to  I like stars

I know what you mean, it was written by Nichole Norris.

Thomas Road Oldie But Moldie
Guest
Thomas Road Oldie But Moldie
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Voice

What does her writing it say to you Ed?

Ed Voice
Guest
Ed Voice
1 month ago

It says it was written by Shakti aka Nichole Norris, is there a problem officer?

The Real Guest
Guest
The Real Guest
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Voice

Ed,

[Edit]

Redwood Dan
Guest
Redwood Dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Voice

Don’t be crass, Ed. Whether you agree with her or not, she bust her ass researching, reporting and writing. With the way you present yourself on here, people could take below the belt shots at you all day long too.

Tangled Massocells
Guest
Tangled Massocells
1 month ago
Reply to  Kym Kemp

“It’s over”. When your community figures that out, maybe they will stop going after each other! Until then, people will not put their names out because it is too dangerous! Besides, it is YOUR “online publication”. You can make a rule that everyone must use their “verified” real name. What’s stopping you?

Ed Voice
Guest
Ed Voice
1 month ago
Reply to  Redwood Dan

Crass? What do you mean by “could”. Its funny that over a year ago I posted about Mr. Sweets troubles with crimes against the environment, no one wanted to make any comments and now that it has come to fruition, people want to defend him or make him into a saint…

Cat Herder
Guest
Cat Herder
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Voice

You named a subscriber, and major contributor to Sohum’s “Outlaw Agenda”, and the room went silent? Of course it did.
So now all the other wanna-be outlaws that skirt the rules, and regs are going to rush to his defense, as they hope the same will be done for them by their fellow comrades, when they too also inevitably get caught.
Although it has a snowballs chance in hell of passing if Sohum has anything to say about it, I’ll be voting yes on Measure A. The herd in Sohum needs to be thinned out a lot more.

Lucipher
Guest
Lucipher
1 month ago
Reply to  Cat Herder

If you vote yes on Measure A, you’ll help make more people revert back to the outlaw culture you detest. Your logic is as flawed as your hate.

Cat Herder
Guest
Cat Herder
1 month ago
Reply to  Lucipher

Now a days “Outlaw Culture” in Sohum just looks like a group of habitual criminals, and nothing like the group of non-conformists from the past who rebelled by simply not participating.

Jesus was a rebel outlaw, even he still paid the tax, respected the laws of the land, and submitted to government authority.

Sorry, not today Satan.

Redwood Dan
Guest
Redwood Dan
30 days ago
Reply to  Cat Herder

I think the SoHum “outlaw culture” now a days is the couple hundred meth/fentanyl junkies squatting on private property, selling/using drugs, and trashing the environment.

Redwood Dan
Guest
Redwood Dan
29 days ago
Reply to  Cat Herder

Pretty sure the only existing “outlaw culture “in SoHum is the hundreds of fentanyl/meth junkies using/ selling it all while squatting on private property and thrashing the land with garbage.

Redwood Dan
Guest
Redwood Dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Voice

Yes, crass… it means ignorant, stupid, obtuse, unrefined, etc…. I was referring to your snide comments about Shakti’s writing, not Josh. I know he’s the guy who sprayed the homeless with the hose, but instead of calling him a bunch of bad names I just posed the question to remind people of his character. I believe I posed the same question last year too. I also don’t agree with the way he has treated his tenants in the buildings in Garberville either. If you have a cannabis permit, you shouldn’t be undertaking large terraforming projects while thumbing your nose at the authorities and regulations. As much as I wanted to, Fish and Wildlife isn’t a bear I was ready to poke. I paid nearly $12,000 in red tape in order to replace a culvert pipe that only cost me $250 for the actual pipe. Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission, but that’s not the way it works with those guys. His $1.7 million fine is proof of that.

The Real Guest
Guest
The Real Guest
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Voice

Yes.

Your link was not his first rodeo…

Going for Gold
Guest
Going for Gold
1 month ago
Reply to  Redwood Dan

Yea He’s a fucking idiot!! Sorry Kym..

D'Tucker Jebs
Member
1 month ago

I noticed that the lat sentence in the press release about the “mainstays of the local economy” forgot to mention marijuana.
Marijuana is a huge pert of the local economy and, at least until recently, brought in more money than all the other mentioned industries combined.

Me
Guest
Me
1 month ago
Reply to  D'Tucker Jebs

But at what cost??? Water diversion, illegal dumping, diesel spills, noise and light pollution for neighbors, illegal use of pesticides, assholes driving their growdozers and running people off the road, murders…….

Farmer
Guest
Farmer
1 month ago
Reply to  Me

This kind of exemplifies the two permitting process one for the rich (a founding member of the visitors bureau down in so hum) and us peasants. I mean it’s pretty ballsy to continue to divert water. Most small farmers I know are converting to rain catchment. Even he could have converted that into a catchment pond. Farm within your carrying capacity and work towards increasing the groundwater holding capacity. Like I said on the last cannabis news post. The pay to play approach to legalization was a mistake. County got greedy and permitted people with the most $ while good land stewards were barred from entering the market

Redwood Dan
Guest
Redwood Dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Farmer

Not to mention the different rules for cannabis farmers vs everyone else who uses water.
The cattle upstream from me can piss in, shit in and trample/erode the banks of the 6 or so headland class III watercourses, but god forbid I have a dry shed within 100 feet of one.

And these guys only get fined 50 bucks each for taking water.
https://amp.sacbee.com/news/investigations/article268432332.html

Farmer
Guest
Farmer
1 month ago
Reply to  Redwood Dan

The hypocrisy is beyond reason. The ranchers in Kneeland have overland watering systems that continue to divert flow throughout the year. Not to mention the creeks are foul during the summer. Giardia and coliform is rampant. And yet they want us to vote to stop other people from using water … because cannabis? It’s pretty ridiculous…I asked the water board what my responsibility would be if I converted to chickens and veg….there would be none. Like zero reporting at all.

Last edited 1 month ago
Farce
Guest
Farce
1 month ago
Reply to  Farmer

This was a state policy put in effect by Newsom’s state cannabis committee. It was bullshit from the beginning and it was a water grab by the state. I agree w/ you that it is wrong. It pissed me off and I tried warning everybody about it before we voted for that fake corporate-based “legalization”. (Nobody wanted to read the proposition and they wanted to dream about rainbow unicorns instead). But it doesn’t have much to do w/ Measure A…

Anon
Guest
Anon
1 month ago
Reply to  Redwood Dan

Yep. Cattle afford the landowner carte blanche use and abuse of water and waterways. No regs against free roaming cows defecating/pissing and fouling creeks and springs with erosion, not to mention 300 gallons per day – per cow diversion from springs and creeks is allowed year round!!

Because beef and dairy.

Name*
Guest
Name*
1 month ago
Reply to  Anon

I’ve yet to see marijuana plants running loose around Garberville, hwy 101, or CR. A pot plant never trampled anyone in the Arcata bottoms.

BudD
Member
Bud
1 month ago
Reply to  Anon

Cattle are a high quality source of food that utilise otherwise indigestible (to human) biomass, and help the environment by maintaining grasslands and controlling fuel loads.

Weed is a recreational drug that enables criminal gangs and cartels to prey on society…

Al L Ivesmatr
Guest
Al L Ivesmatr
1 month ago
Reply to  Bud

It’s pretty damn simple to keep cattle out of the inlets snd outlets of culverts, but seemingly, that is a hard thing to accomplish for many ranchers. 3 t posts and some form of fencing. Why, who knows, it isn’t a cost thing. Also, keeping their cattle off seasonal dirt roads during the wet period so a billion little hoof print ponds are not created on the prism, causing their use to be delayed for months longer during the early dry season. Also, keeping them out of flowing creek and river channels like the Little River and pissing/pooping in them. I believe the solution to pollution is dilution, but cmon. Just some simple solutions would go a long way….Other than that, I am all for farmers and their cattle, lamb, pig, and goats. They certainly are not causing climate change.

JustaKidd
Guest
JustaKidd
1 month ago
Reply to  Bud

Weed is a source of income that feeds families & sends highschool graduates to college.
Or well, it used to be that. Now weed is just worthless & a waste of time.
We all were lucky to have it as a cottage industry for as long as we did.
This area is completely devoid of oppeerunity now that the value has been ruined forever.

D'Tucker Jebs
Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Me

I wasn’t getting into the pros and cons.
Merely pointing out the omission.

JustaKidd
Guest
JustaKidd
1 month ago
Reply to  Me

Everything you listed was well worth the benefits it brought to our local economy. Besides more growers were clean, careful & conscientious about their methods than were as you described.
Lots of kids owe their college educations to mom & dads hard work, sweat & tears as growers so that their young could have the opportunity to do something better with their lives, even though they grew up in a highly repressed & opportunity deprived area.

Thatguyinarcata
Guest
Thatguyinarcata
1 month ago
Reply to  JustaKidd

Don’t bother them with windows to reality.

We’re supposed to pretend that cannabis introduced ecological harm to the emerald triangle

Tangled Massocells
Guest
Tangled Massocells
1 month ago
Reply to  D'Tucker Jebs

Yeah, so did the Gold Rush in 1848…

D'Tucker Jebs
Member
1 month ago

Yep. And it helped to kickstart the state.
Just like the Cannabis industry made this a very prosperous area for a few decades.

Tangled Massocells
Guest
Tangled Massocells
1 month ago
Reply to  D'Tucker Jebs

The gold is probably still in circulation. The Green Rush went up in smoke.

Antisemantic
Guest
Antisemantic
1 month ago

Passing measure A would be bad for josh. Vote no on A

The Real Guest
Guest
The Real Guest
1 month ago
Reply to  Antisemantic

Passing Measure A would be good for people like Josh Sweet.

Vote NO on Measure A.

Last edited 1 month ago
Albus Dumbledore
Member
Albus Dumbledore
1 month ago
Reply to  The Real Guest

Lying won’t help your cause.

The Real Guest
Guest
The Real Guest
1 month ago

Your cause doing the lying is precisely what got this initiative on the ballot in the first place, Brian.

Actually telling the truth is what won’t help your cause, Percival Wulfric.

Last edited 1 month ago
Farmer
Guest
Farmer
1 month ago
Reply to  The Real Guest

Yes, I think it’s fair to say Measure A will make permits skyrocket in price. It will essentially bar any new cultivators from entering the market. This sucks because they just changed the regulations to make it possible for regular people to have small farms on smaller parcels. And it completely will encourage people to guerilla grow on public lands because no black market grower is going to do it where they can be abated…..

Tracy FranklinD
Member
Tracy Franklin
1 month ago
Reply to  The Real Guest

Vote YES on Measure A it will keep in check people like Josh Sweet, founding board member of the Southern Humboldt Business and Visitors Bureau.
Boycott the Southern Humboldt Business and Visitors Bureau.

The Real Guest
Guest
The Real Guest
1 month ago
Reply to  Tracy Franklin

Vote NO on Measure A.

Clearly there are already provisions in place to keep people like Josh Sweet in check, as this article attests to.

Measure A is therefore misguided, redundant, and unnecessary.

Like Josh Sweet, Measure A will do far more harm than good.

Tracy FranklinD
Member
Tracy Franklin
1 month ago
Reply to  The Real Guest

No arguments here: Like Josh Sweet, Measure A will do far more harm than good.
People should petition the Board of Supervisors to stop funding the Southern Humboldt Business and Visitors Bureau with county money. They get around $60,000.00 a year. I wonder where that money goes????

PenskeD
Member
Penske
1 month ago
Reply to  Tracy Franklin

[Edit]

Last edited 1 month ago
Farmer
Guest
Farmer
1 month ago
Reply to  Penske

It’s so hard to watch the proponents speak out loud at events after knowing personally what they are capable of. They literally lie about everything. Is so frustrating. And knowing that they are backed by one of the largest land holders in Kneeland. People who own 1000s of acres whose cows have literally eroded the hillsides and denuded the oak forests for over a century.

Farce
Guest
Farce
1 month ago
Reply to  Farmer

I like Measure A in that it will put a cap on the number of permits in the county. It will not allow one entity to buy up and combine permits. It will not allow expansion of existing large farms. These will make Humboldt County unattractive to corporate investment and I like that. Also it will require annual inspections, which the county has not been doing on their favored farms. I won’t argue more or say anything disrespectful because I like what you’ve been saying. I have friends who were forced/abated into getting permits and I agree with much of what you have said about small farms’ uphill fight against corporate mega-farms. You have my ear and my respect…I’d like to hear more how Measure A would specifically hurt the small farms because at this point I think the large farms and HCGA are just drumming up the fear for the small guys because they- the big guys- are scared…

SanPas
Guest
SanPas
1 month ago
Reply to  Farce

Section CC-P13 of the initiative would require farmers to be located on “category 4” roads, which hundreds of existing farmers are not; local engineers estimate the cost of these upgrades at $200,000-$250,000 per mile, a cost which is only accessible for the largest of farms.
As another critical example, Measure A restricts “expansion” but defines this term so broadly as to include “any increase in the number or size of any structure used in connection with cultivation.” The result is that small, working farms would be prevented from adding new and improved structures to their farm, many of which would double as both environmental improvements and structures that retain on-farm value for craft, high-quality products. Examples include building a new drying shed, nursery room, clone room, ADA-compliant bathroom, employee housing, water storage, or solar infrastructure.
Measure A would interrupt the environmental improvements that these farms are required to make under regulation – including improvements related to roads, power sources, building improvements, fire resilience, culvert replacements and forest stewardship – and remove incentives for environmental improvements on rural properties.

Farce
Guest
Farce
1 month ago
Reply to  SanPas

Thanks for your response. You have given me pause to consider these 2 things- class 4 roads and reasonable improvements that may slightly increase footprint…

Thatguyinarcata
Guest
Thatguyinarcata
1 month ago
Reply to  Farce

Have you not read measure A? The only people that have a chance of surviving is implementation are the largest and best financed existing grows.

And if history is any guide, those people and their financiers will find a legal structure that allows them to scoop up the defunct farms as needed for expansion

Redwood Dan
Guest
Redwood Dan
29 days ago
Reply to  Farce

There are already caps on permits, there is a certain allotment in each watershed. Measure A would lower the cap numbers, and I’m not sure what analysis or data that they could point to that would justify the number they want the cat to be set at. Is it an arbitrary number, or are there facts to substantiate it? Or their mind is it just less is better?

R. Hutson
Guest
R. Hutson
1 month ago
Reply to  Tracy Franklin

You suggest lobbying the county to further alienate the south county business owners? That seems like a counter-productive, and spiteful suggestion.

Tangled Massocells
Guest
Tangled Massocells
1 month ago
Reply to  Tracy Franklin

Watch what you say! I was making a comment about the money and it was pulled. Granted, it could have been Bud’s reply at fault(lol). Anyway, back when the “Back to the Landers” brought civilization to SoHum and Julia Butterfly sat in her tree bringing the pervasive environmental awareness to the area that exists today… that was the time of illegal (now referred to as undocumented) marijuana growing. Also known as the “Good ole days”. Eventually, it brought helicopters and raids. Along came something called LLC’s (maybe why my comment was pulled)? Back in the “Good ole days”, LLC was synonymous with “Laundering Lotsa Cash” at least it was to the Feds! You see LLC does have another name and there were special lawyers that could tell you how that works . Use it to get you outta trouble (maybe). The Feds and the State didn’t like NOT getting their fair share of TAXES (think Al Capone) so California, being Progressive, made marijuana legal. There was one problem… getting those back unpaid taxes from the “Good ole days” is a pain in the ass cause you gotta follow the money. That involves bank records, special lawyers, etc. etc. An easier way to get the $$$ and maintain the pervasive environmental concerns of the area is through fines on infractions like what this Dam Story is about. No Bank records to come up with in court and besides you can see the infractions from a satellite. “Look – that’s not supposed to be there, wasn’t there before. Isn’t that a dam? It “might” have cracks or – gasp – a stream diversion. Send out Fish and Wildlife!

JustaKidd
Guest
JustaKidd
1 month ago

Back in tbe good ole days were way way before Julia Butterfly was even born. You must be awfully young if you think that was the time of the back to the land movement.

Thatguyinarcata
Guest
Thatguyinarcata
1 month ago
Reply to  JustaKidd

When were the “good Ole days”?

Julia Butterfly was born in ’74.

Tangled Massocells
Guest
Tangled Massocells
1 month ago
Reply to  JustaKidd

Take it easy. It was satire. Civilization (?) was in SoHum before the 1960’s or whatever date you are thinking? As far as the tree sitting… some people seemed to be in tune with the environment long before Julia. They didn’t have the luxury of the press spotlight on them because it was inconsistent with their lifestyle. Where is/are Julia, Cherney, and Judi now? I’m not young. When did that happen?

Captain Obvious
Guest
Captain Obvious
1 month ago

Bari is dead, Cherney is rich off a settlement, making bad music in Shelter Cove. Hill…? Haven’t heard. Mardi Gras?

Thatguyinarcata
Guest
Thatguyinarcata
1 month ago
Reply to  Tracy Franklin

How would measure A have changed this series of events?

Water
Member
Water
30 days ago

Yes, because Measure A requires yearly inspections for permit renewal.

Ed Voice
Guest
Ed Voice
1 month ago

The Southern Humboldt Business and Visitors Bureau must be proud and distinguished to have such a respected Founding Board Member as Josh Sweet on their Board. It must add a badge of honor to their members and partners, who we all know love and respect the environment and diverse eco systems in Southern Humboldt. Congratulations Josh, on your insight and activism with the natural stewardship of the land…  

https://shbvb.org/about

Tracy FranklinD
Member
Tracy Franklin
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Voice

Well said Ed.

I like stars
Guest
I like stars
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Voice

Both of his grows are, of course members/partners in the shbvb. I’m sure he only sells through the legal market. It would be interesting if they made him account for the source of the money (like they sometimes do for bail).

Also, whoever wrote the text for that website is quite the wordsmith.

Ed Voice
Guest
Ed Voice
1 month ago
Reply to  I like stars

I don’t know about being a wordsmith, more like a spin doctor and her name is LAURA LASSETER

Last edited 1 month ago
Curiouser
Guest
Curiouser
1 month ago
Reply to  I like stars

“Both of his grows … ” 🤣

Name*
Guest
Name*
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Voice

Sweet may be a jerk, but we may want to be cautious celebrating his misfortune in dealing with the Water Board and CDFW.

“cultivator to pay $1.75 million for building and diverting water from illegal onstream reservoirs without first obtaining permits required by the California Water Boards and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).”
” …WITHOUT FIRST OBTAINING PERMITS”

“According to the settlement, Sweet must pay $500,000 to the Division of Water Rights, $175,000 to the North Coast Water Board, and $75,000 to CDFW”
That is what this is about. It’s extortion. It might be fun when it’s someone you don’t like, but this is extortion based on his ATTEMPTS TO PERMIT A LEGAL CROP. All ponds are not treated equal. I bet there are stock ponds all over the place that are ignored because, well, cannabis.
I have a pond I happened to put in before cannabis, and I did not claim to use for irrigation , because after 15 years or so ponds suck for irrigation. If I use the water on weed, all hell breaks loose. If I don’t, nobody cares. Same pond.
Sweet removing the ponds will result in more disturbance. The ponds might help with water table recharge, and slowed runoff if left alone. His punishment conditions are punitive not practical.
Ponds are encouraged and even funded by CDFW. Isn’t there a huge pond in Mendo that got grant money for some big boy grower just like Sweet? Ponds are cheaper in the short term for massive water storage, but most of those are gonna be algae swamps for summer water in a few years.
These ponds would likely have been engineered, built and maintained the same way whether or not Mr. Unpopular paid permit fees.
Extortion.

Farce
Guest
Farce
1 month ago
Reply to  Name*

Well said. They are sucking up his money in an extortion scheme. And what wonderful things do they do with that money? Hmm…more paperwork, more donuts, pay raises, more bullshit for them and nothing for us…typical government overstepping and extorting, rinse and repeat to somebody else. (Disclaimer: I am not supporting Josh Sweet either!)

JustaKidd
Guest
JustaKidd
1 month ago
Reply to  Name*

Dude you don’t know how to grow or how to treat your pond water apparently. We use water from a pond that is over 50 years old & is green as can be all summer. The plants love love love it.

Name*
Guest
Name*
1 month ago
Reply to  JustaKidd

Get over yourself. Yeah, yeah. Sure keep spare filters handy. Ponds also leak and evaporate.
There are other factors than just “not being able to grow”. Like 100 year old surface withdrawals. In my case it was easier to get a LSSA for that, than a retroactive grading permit for the pond that has been there. See, no weed: pond ok. Weed watered: pond bad.
I went with tanks for storage because the grow isn’t that big, and I can move and sell them if I remove the devil weed from my portfolio. No algae or evaporation, and they’re a little quicker in an emergency than the pond with fire fittings. The pond is still there for a helicopter Bambi bucket.

Redwood Dan
Guest
Redwood Dan
29 days ago
Reply to  Name*

Did the county make you get a retroactive grading permit for your pond? They’re making us get one even though the water in the pond is just for the animals and fire prevention. We don’t use it for Cannabis.

furies
Guest
furies
1 month ago

I’m a kinda shocked that an asshole is getting some ‘feedback’…I almost have faith…in ?? justice? nah…

Entering a world of pain
Guest
Entering a world of pain
1 month ago

Damn, cracks. Damn…

Kicking Bull
Guest
Kicking Bull
1 month ago
Farce
Guest
Farce
1 month ago

Can’t choose a side here since I haven’t seen these ponds. But I don’t like or trust anybody on either side. Those agencies are dishonorable dollar-chasers…but then so is Josh!

Name*
Guest
Name*
1 month ago
Reply to  Farce

Of all agencies the Water Boards are the hardest to celebrate. Their incompetence is staggering, and their mistakes are usually identified by you receiving a huge fine out of the blue. Their fees have doubled over the short time weed has been “legal” with out explanation, or them doing any actual work.
Out of the blue I got a $3,000 fine for not reporting a water withdrawal that was a duplicate. The duplicate filing happened because CalCannabis, now the DCC wouldn’t let your application continue without a waterboard pop up, even though I had filed with them first; because the State wasn’t ready for two years after “legalization”. Then the $3k fine was the first time I realized there was a duplicate( same applicant, same address, same Lat-longs, same photos).
The Waterboard was unable to remove the application themselves! The applicant had to run the digital labyrinth and feel comfortable pushing the “Revoke” button. Meanwhile instead of guiding me through the process the skinny-jeaner on the phone was trying to play GOTCHA, alleging I was missing a Domestic Withdraw permit. He started lecturing me on my attitude, and “You people, up there” when I pointed out that was unhelpful, and not why I called, and any domestic withdrawals would be reported once they did basic Kindergarten level outreach to EVERYONE in CA who needed to report, not just someone with a weed plant.

Ed Voice
Guest
Ed Voice
1 month ago
Reply to  Name*

Hey, nothing out of the blue here! Sweet has know since 2017 about the troubles he has today, read on here:

https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoast/board_info/board_meetings/06_2020/pdf/6/200522_SMU_dp_Shadow%20Light%20Ranch%20AEOSR.pdf

The Real Guest
Guest
The Real Guest
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Voice

Say what…???

Cat Herder
Guest
Cat Herder
1 month ago

Josh was long over due for an ego check.

PenskeD
Member
Penske
1 month ago

Josh may have made a mistake on this one, but he has only tried to improve Garberville. He is a product if his environment, born and raised in the industry. He is being made an example of here, and we all know there are far worse players out there not answering to their crimes and mistakes. I have known Josh for 30 years and he isn’t some crook, just a person who came up in the culture and industry he was brought up in. Like many others we know too…everyone was here to make money.

Cat Herder
Guest
Cat Herder
1 month ago
Reply to  Penske

I agree, his ego is a product of his environment, like many others we know in Sohum.. who’s days are also numbered.

Farmer
Guest
Farmer
1 month ago
Reply to  Penske

Yeah, it’s hard not to see this as pushback from the water board after the visitors bureau released their support of no on A. The people working for that agency are unprofessional and make it very obvious how much they hate cannabis. They could have issued a warning. I wonder if they even notified him that he was diverting. Was the pond in existence before he purchased the property? Or was the work done later? The press release just came out, but I bet the attorneys are just getting started

Curiouser
Guest
Curiouser
1 month ago
Reply to  Farmer

Josh Sweet has documented diversion violations for this property dating back nearly a decade …

Farmer
Guest
Farmer
1 month ago
Reply to  Curiouser

Yeah the press release stated that no one should be able to ignore regulations to get an unfair advantage in a market. I agree with that. I also think that the regulations are punitive and that these agencies still are treating cannabis cultivation the same as when it was illegal. No other agricultural crop is regulated so harshly. So I have mixed feelings. I want to know if he put in the pond himself or was he fined for something that happened prior to his ownership. I had to abandon my Nursery project because of grading a logging company did decades before. I was told I needed to get engineer and regrade in entire thing. When I abandoned my project nothing had to be remediated or done. Same with my farm when I asked the water board what my responsibility would be if I converted to Veggies and expanded to an acre what I would have to do…the answer was nothing I wouldnt even have to report. Even with a footprint of 4x what I was using and a significant increase in water use. I was told I was even able to use the well onsite which was not accepted for cannabis irrigation

Last edited 1 month ago
Farce
Guest
Farce
1 month ago
Reply to  Farmer

Yes it’s crazy and punitive what they do. Ponds and grading that were done 60 years ago- not for weed- and are working just fine get abated and heavily fined by the agencies. And if you would like to use them for a permitted weed grow then Look Out!- They will be all over you. Our government representatives have allowed us to be wiped out of existence by these agencies and then Humboldt County Planning Dept. with their very expensive satellite program provided the death punch. Worst county in the country to grow weed anymore….

Name*
Guest
Name*
1 month ago
Reply to  Curiouser

The Waterboard had the lamest outreach if their mission was to quantify water use in California. It wasn’t. They wanted to dress up like cops, and exert power granted because weed is BAD.
Was it around 2013 I heard a KMUD news segment with a WaterBoard rep saying you had to start self reporting domestic withdraws? It is not mandatory to listen to the KMUD news. I waited for a letter in the mail. Nothing. Other agencies can pull this off. DMV can get ahold of you if they want. There’s a lot of cars and drivers in Cali.
My property has been developed with the same water sources since the ’20s. It was on the County records as a water provider. Somehow the WaterBoard still hasn’t been able to reach out with a simple letter.
If they wanted to understand rural water use: look up each well documented Special District that supplies water. Easy, each County has it. We’re talking the Garberville/Redway, Shelter Cove, HBMWD, EBMUD, etc. Eliminate any address within those districts. Everybody else in the State with an address is using a well or poly pipe.
Boom. That should have earned me a six figure consultation fee.

Last edited 1 month ago
Anon
Guest
Anon
1 month ago
Reply to  Name*

*self reporting* is the key word(s).

It’s call a Statement of Diversion.

Waterboard can levy fines if they find out you haven’t filed one, and in fact filing (and annual reporting) protects your water rights.

No fee to file.

Name*
Guest
Name*
1 month ago
Reply to  Anon

I’m getting two annual bills, each about $750, plus a bill for “wastewater discharge”. You get a bill because it rains basically. Filing initially might be free, but filing results in an annual bill. It’s like: sure it’s free to WALK INTO a restaurant!

Farce
Guest
Farce
1 month ago
Reply to  Anon

Filing is basically declaring your water source. Then they know your well or spring coordinates and will bill you annually to use that source of water that is on your own land. What makes you think it secures your water rights? I may be suspicious of the government (due to 50 years of observation) but I would think that once you have supplied them with the coordinates of the water source on your land that at some point in the future they will pass more regulations that in effect give THEM the right to that water source…on your land. I don’t and would not trust them…Hide your springs. Hide your wells. Tell nobody. Water is life…

Ed Voice
Guest
Ed Voice
1 month ago
Reply to  Penske

Wow, what a false equivalency. I guess Josh Sweet never learned the difference between right and wrong, according to your analogy of “born and raised in the industry” in the same foot steps of Chuck Studebaker and Jesse Jeffries?

The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree…

Last edited 1 month ago
furies
Guest
furies
1 month ago
Reply to  Penske

I wasn’t.

And that was always my problem socially in SoHum.

Yup
Guest
Yup
1 month ago

For 30 years I’ve wondered when anyone would see this guys true colors. One of the most entitled rudest guys I’ve run into out here. Puts on a show for those he wants to impress, the rest have been experiencing his abuse for decades. Thought his 💩 didn’t stink. I wonder who he pissed off in these different agencies? Honey gets you more flies than vinegar, which I’m sure vinegar is all he chose to throw at others. LMFAO. Get what you deserve.

THC
Member
THC
1 month ago

I wonder when the waterboard and Fish and Wildlife are gonna start going after all these Mini landfills in almost every creek valley around the area? Seems to me like garbage, heroin needles and human feces is doing more harm to our watersheds than a couple of Ponds.. I wonder how much garbage and refuse was just washed down the river with this high water, off all the local riverbars that have now become homeless encampments?

Name*
Guest
Name*
1 month ago
Reply to  THC

Who do you issue the fine to!?

Misguided
Guest
Misguided
30 days ago
Reply to  THC

Where are these encampments? I live on a half milenofnsouthfork and drive by several miles of it every day and don’t see any encampments..m

Logan
Guest
Logan
1 month ago

History Lesson. About a decade ago, local environmental organizations started a robust campaign asking farmers to start storing water and stop using surface waters for irrigation. A lot of the environmentally minded and rooted in their land farmers built water storage structures like this pond, but the permitting system from the Water Board and CDFW had not fully built out their permitting systems to review the location of the pond. Many people built their ponds in natural depressions in the earth, which later CDFW or the Water Board said were “wetlands” or in Class 3 watercourses. There is a lot of retroactive permitting and even removal ponds going on in the hills as part of this experiment in compliance and state licensing. Some of you are looking at this as evidence of why “we need Measure A,” but I see it entirely the opposite–this is evidence that the state agencies are ALREADY working to protect water and wildlife resources. Measure A is written, not by a state natural resource agency based on science, but a veterinarian, a sociologist, and a San Francisco attorney.

Rio Anderson
Member
Rio Anderson
1 month ago

This forum is disheartening for me to hear. Josh has put a huge amount of effort and money into the efforts of revitalizing Garberville. To troll him and judge him when hes been through this permitting hell is really disheartening. Those agencies havent played fairly and I dont see much effort in this community to actually invest and work towards a sustainable future…Your going to lose good poeple if you continture to blindly judge without understanding things….TOXIC…The values that build community are: Love, Service, Allignment of Joy with work, empathy, and understanging. SoHum is failing on many fronts. Get it together and work harder – TOGETHER!

furies
Guest
furies
1 month ago
Reply to  Rio Anderson

your friend was an asshole to WAY WAY WAY too many in town, Rio

I hope he gets what he deserves in every way

I hope your sister got out in time-sorry to hear of your mom’s death

Rio
Guest
Rio
1 month ago
Reply to  furies

Pathetic you don’t use your real name Easy to judge from a blind spot!

furies
Guest
furies
1 month ago
Reply to  Rio

I have employment concerns…just as I did when working retail in Gar****ville.
The power diff is very real yo.

Kicking Bull
Guest
Kicking Bull
1 month ago
Reply to  Rio Anderson

Appreciate your words, the sentiment was sorely lacking at the 2019 (?) “Community in Crisis” meeting. A community in which 10% can afford a seat at the table while 90% survive off the scraps can create a bit of dissonance. Was a time here even the homeless folks had a couple hundred bucks. Many well-heeled all but welcomed these exploitive punitive bureaucracies into their pockets.

A spiritually-centered self-sustaining breakaway-civilization would be built on joy empathy and understanding.

Tracy FranklinD
Member
Tracy Franklin
1 month ago
Reply to  Rio Anderson

Rio, Josh has treated so many people in our community with disrespect. Business have gone under as a direct result of the high rents he charged them. He’s not a team player. He doesn’t treat people fairly. He acts as if he is better than everyone. Combine that with the nasty, toxic temperment of Laura Lassetter, Southern Humboldt Business and Visitors Bureau, and you have an organization that is tearing apart the very fabric of our community that truly good people are working to try and uplift and preserve. Those two are not that.

Ed Voice
Guest
Ed Voice
1 month ago
Reply to  Rio Anderson

Get use to it Rio, unfiltered truth. You are lucky Kym took down my post about you, as a Board member at GSD and how you treat the public, without anyone to hold your feet to the fire…

#californiathrasherbird🤘
Guest
#californiathrasherbird🤘
1 month ago

You have to pay to play if you can’t pay you can’t play but if it don’t make dollars it don’t make cents most people would just drill a well what the hell?!

willow creeker
Member
1 month ago

This is an excessive fine for missing a permit to withdraw water. The crack that is photographed for evidence of a 1.75 MILLION dollar fine is laughable. We all live in a slipping moving landscape. No comment on this guys character; don’t know him, it doesn’t matter. We should all be worried about an excessive regulatory fine, by a state water board. Everyone should be able to agree, this is bullshit.

Trout Fisher
Guest
Trout Fisher
1 month ago

Those are serious violations. He should know better. Oak woodland will take a few hundred years to regenerate. Wetlands are endangered everywhere.

DanD
Member
Dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Trout Fisher

I find it amazing that the North Coast Water Quality can be so vicious to the pot grower, but if you want to destroy a coastal wetland, for an idiot level weeding program, go forth with vigor,

they do not give a damn.

Lanphere_Dunes
Last edited 1 month ago
Thebigdeal
Guest
Thebigdeal
1 month ago
Reply to  Trout Fisher

Your wrong

Jimi
Member
Jimi
1 month ago

Another dirtbag using up whatever he can get his grubby little hands upon.

Observer
Guest
Observer
1 month ago

I dont know Josh. But I’m familiar with this site.. it appears his biggest transgression is personality…dont know, don’t care…whats more important?

Wetlands have to the most abused rule ever, next to “waters of the state”. CDFW and WQ are hell bent on “restoring” damp grassy spots in earthflow melange terrain that have exactly 0 value to the beneficial uses (mankind withstanding) of water they claim they are protecting. We are not talking about bogs, fens, or lagoons, you know… “wetlands”. They are using shallow soil seeps as a cudgel to run around wasting millions of dollars creating all manor of soil disturbance and wasted carbon for what? An on-stream pond on a major watercourse is one thing. But upland ponds with maybee a class 3 above, are GOOD for a landscape we know is going to get hotter and dryer. They catch sediment. Most of these features create habitat that was not there prior – for red legged frogs etc, and are used by all sorts of animals. What uses damp grass on a hillside again? So stupid.

BudD
Member
Bud
1 month ago

This thread is awesome! The Humboldt dope industry has always acted as if they were one big happy community trying to get by doing their own thing, conscious living and avoiding ‘the man.’ All the while lying, cheating and ripping each other off. What we are seeing here is that the real dope industry isn’t any different than the drug business on any big city street corner, everyone stabbing each other in the back by any means necessary to scrape their way to the top. Dang, now I feel like rewatching ‘The Wire’…

Kicking Bull
Guest
Kicking Bull
1 month ago
Reply to  Bud

That was not the SoHum I experienced. My small grow afforded me the opportunity to volunteer all over town; Healy, Mateel, AA, HACHR.. Same for most everyone I associated with. We had our grows, which afforded our side projects and creative pursuits, and ALL volunteered all over town. Volunteering was the cultural norm. Some were greedy, many were not. Those that were not were largely left out of the prohibitive permitting process, or otherwise repelled by involvement with a virtue burying bureaucracy.

The Wire explores how the system crushes the individual. The system serves to further the system; the good cops are buried by the police dep’t, the good journalists are buried by the paper, the good teachers buried by the school. A community built by volunteers is a far cry from a virtue burying bureaucracy- which now rules..

Last edited 1 month ago
BudD
Member
Bud
1 month ago
Reply to  Kicking Bull

So as an enlightened community oriented small time grower who knew the ins and outs and who was who, were you ever ripped off?

Totally agree about The Wire, (in my opinion the greatest TV show of all time) the whole premise of the show mirrored life in that the system benefits the system. Not the individual, not what’s right, only that which empowers the system. Which is why I always said ‘bullshit’ when people said legalisation was this great panacea and it would be all butterflies and unicorns if weed was only legalised. If socialism has taught us anything, it is that the government is only there to help itself. But back to The Wire; I think it was a fairly accurate portrayal of the illegal drug business, where friends and allies are fluid, and anyone will turn on anyone else in a heartbeat if they can gain from it. Agricultural communities are not like that, except dope growing which we can see from this thread is exactly like that…

Moshe Doshan
Guest
Moshe Doshan
1 month ago
Reply to  Bud

Actually most people in sohum treat each other pretty decently. It’s a small town where word gets around quick if you screw somebody over.

If you knew anything about drug dealing you would know your chance of getting ripped off or murdered in the weed industry is a tiny fraction compared to someone who deals hard drugs in the city.

I’m not gonna make any comments about Josh but I’ve seen much worse comments when other people get busted.

BudD
Member
Bud
1 month ago
Reply to  Moshe Doshan

I have never known anyone in the Humboldt weed business that didn’t get ripped off, and personally know one person who was murdered.

I think it is exactly like in the city…

Kicking Bull
Guest
Kicking Bull
30 days ago
Reply to  Bud

Must not know many CEO’s..
Or politicians..

BudD
Member
Bud
30 days ago
Reply to  Kicking Bull

No, I don’t.

Are you saying they drug dealers who don’t get ripped off?

Kicking Bull
Guest
Kicking Bull
30 days ago
Reply to  Bud

merck, moderna, mallinckrodt..

Yes I’ve been ripped off (could really use those dues right about now!) but it was the exception and not the rule.

What I’m saying is (back to The Wire) the cops steal, the politicians steal, the longshoremen steal, the dope boys steal, the newspapermen steal, the teachers steal: Stats, stories, or cash= same difference to the same end, ie. personal advancement. The individuals with personally cultivated convictions are consistently killed off by the unconscious collective, inc those in the dope game; Omar, Prop Joe, Bodie, Stringer, Blind Butchie… and all the local “mom and pops”

“A Man Must Have A Code”
and “Conscious do Cost”

What I’m saying is the entire economy is fraudulent.

“Americans are a stupid people by and large, we’ll pretty much believe anything we’re told” and “The bigger the lie, the more they believe”

“But I’m just a humble motherfucker with a big ass dick… “

Re. The agricultural community, check out that movie Big Chicken (or something) by Morgan Spurlock. Even the most honest of tradespeople are robbed to enrich the richer, to bail out bankers and fund the bomb makers.

The link above is a lecture by Manly P Hall on money and its meaning/less/ness..

Last edited 30 days ago
BudD
Member
Bud
30 days ago
Reply to  Kicking Bull

I don’t think Prop Joe or Stringer had convictions. They acted like they did, but would flip in a heartbeat if it was to their advantage. I think it was just an image they tried to cultivate. Omar, Bodie and Butchie, although horrible people, did in fact live by a code. I would add to that, although a really really horrible person, Chris, lived by a code.
As far as society and commerce go, the problem has never been tradespeople. If you go back to the beginnings of recorded history, civilisations were established around centers of trade. Traders by all accounts lived by a code. People stuck to the code because if you didn’t, no one would trade with you. Government always came in after the fact, and generally the first laws enacted were the already established trading rules. Over time government got larger, more powerful, more regulatory, raised taxes, and eventually society collapsed, and a trade centre would pop up somewhere else to replace it. That scenario has repeated itself over and over for several thousand years.
Arguably, that is what is happening to California right now. In my lifetime taxes have more than doubled, services and infrastructure have declined, the size and scope of government has exploded, businesses and people with money are fleeing by the tens of thousands -to other centers of trade.
But back to dope growers; I have been involved in agriculture one way or another for my entire life, and I can honestly say that by in large farmers and ranchers live by a code, and they don’t cheat each other. If they did, there would be legal repercussions and no one would trade with them. Big companies will cheat each other (or you or me or anyone else). The way they cheat is to use the government to their advantage. They have teams of lawyers and they use the system to do things no one else can do to make money. Illegal pot farming (small time like you describe) is seriously disadvantaged. There is no legal recourse to cheating. So although you might have a group of people living by a code, you can’t really talk about it to the community at large. You are isolated (to avoid arrest), so someone can cheat and still keep right on doing business. There is such a huge opportunity to cheat that even if members of the growers are not cheating, someone will show up just to take advantage of the opportunity. Unless you are willing to kill someone, that would send a message, but most hippy types are not going to do that. So you can have an idyllic tight little grower community for a little while, but it is doomed to fail. However, that microcosm does not extend to the entire society which is operating on a different set of parameters.

Wow, that was long winded…

Kicking Bull
Guest
Kicking Bull
30 days ago
Reply to  Bud

Agreed. (post-Atlantean civilization) Your introduction aligns almost exactly with that Manly P Hall lecture intro. (I tend to trust those that’ve seen outside Plato’s Cave; we speak the same language.) And yes, government is totally bloated and thoroughly corrupted.

And re. the old weed scene, well it was wonderful while it lasted! The last vestige of the American Wild West.

Long Story Short:

https://youtu.be/wXcZKRHnMVA?si=JC7DOqbQHktLPhQn

Well save Jeckyll Island and the symbolic doler for another time 😊

furies
Guest
furies
30 days ago
Reply to  Moshe Doshan

You obviously never worked retail in G******ville

Keven sharp
Guest
Keven sharp
1 month ago

He should’ve got jail time also

Scant Evidence
Guest
Scant Evidence
1 month ago

The wealthy pay fines to accumulate more wealth . welcome to exactly how corporate America works .

Cassandra Odom
Guest
Cassandra Odom
1 month ago

Hell yeah, remove all the loser marijuana growers ruining the environment. Take them down one at a time…doesn’t matter as long as they all disappear. We don’t need losers drug dealers ruining the environment to get ahead. Be legit about it.

Name*
Guest
Name*
1 month ago
Reply to  Cassandra Odom

You base your statement on an assumption that growing weed “ruins the environment” Universally, and without exception. Can you back that up with evidence or even anecdotal experience?

“remove all the loser marijuana growers ruining the environment. Take them down one at a time…doesn’t matter as long as they all disappear”

It comes off like your existence is ecologically unassailable. It begs the questions: what do you do for a living? What do you eat, and do you know where, and how it’s grown? Describe how a gallon of water from maybe the Mad river, or Hetch Hetchy is more goody than a gallon of water that falls as rain on my own property.

furies
Guest
furies
30 days ago
Reply to  Name*

Your denial is sad

Name*
Guest
Name*
30 days ago
Reply to  furies

By the same standard, growing melons, arugula, beans, whatever; I’m ruining the environment then also. For an even lower standard of living.
I’m pointing out you get get punished for declaring the use of a tiny portion of water that falls on your property RELATIVE to the cheap ass water for export almonds that might fall in the watersheds of the Pit, Sacramento, or McCloud behind Shasta Dam, for instance.

Water
Member
Water
30 days ago

But, but…ALL the bad players have left. They just packed up and left after legalization. Only the most responsible ones remain. That’s what the growers association says, and they never lie, do they? That bust on Table Bluff was a permitted operation. So was this one. And there are more like them.

Pond guru
Guest
Pond guru
30 days ago

Show us a dam ID northern California that doesn’t have small cracks like that. Clay expands and contracts with the season.

Local Resident
Guest
Local Resident
30 days ago

Insane. Sorry for this guy

Annie straub
Guest
Annie straub
28 days ago

When are they going to arrest Nicholas and Megan Siaosi?