An estimated 100,000 marijuana plants are expected to be eradicated this week at an enormous, multi-farm bust in remote Northern California — the heart of the famed Emerald Triangle.
Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies — with no federal involvement — began serving search warrants Monday in a remote area at the intersection of the three counties.
Dozens of deputies are staging a four or five-day operation in what is being called the largest raid in a decade.
The Times-Standard reports:
“The sources said the marijuana grows are not Mexican cartel operations but from local growers who have been growing for years. Beyond the sheer size of the grows, prompting the raid is evidence of massive water theft and other environmental violations, the sources said. For that reason the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was assisting deputies.”
The raid targeted some very prominent members of the community, including public members of lobbying groups and marijuana PACs like the California Cannabis Voice.
Emerald Grower’s Association director Hezekiah Allen decried the actions in an online statement: “Today, this type of activity is ever more concerning because so many of our community members have courageously stepped forward and publicly proclaimed themselves as farmers. They are seeking regulation, seeking collaboration with government agencies and research institutions. These farmers who have stepped forward are keys to solutions.”
California is the largest domestic producer of cannabis in the U.S., which consumes about 2,500-5,000 metric tons of the crop each year.
An estimated 40,000 pot farms may exist in California, a legislative analysis finds. Efforts to regulate the 19 year-old medical cannabis industry in California are pending in the Senate this year. A ballot proposal to tax and regulate legal cannabis in California is expected next year.