Community,Although enforcement of unregulated cultivation will seemingly shake down below the identical set of legal guidelines as final 12 months, this weblog is meant to supply an up to date overview of the problems in play this season. To be clear on the outset, it’s prone to be ugly.

First “abatement letters” will seemingly proceed to be the first avenue for enforcement this season. Notably, whereas one can mitigate the likelihood of neighbor complaints by being neighbor, the abatement letters extra typically come up from the use of intensive satellite surveillance, typically imperfectly.

Second, we will anticipate the National Guard to return to assist numerous native job forces, which frequently embody the Sheriff, brokers from the Department of Fish and Wildlife and from the State and Regional Water Boards, and often flanked by native Code officers. As with the previous few seasons, the raids will seemingly proceed to concentrate on particular watersheds and work their approach out utilizing highly effective satellite tv for pc imagery.


Any of the companies concerned in a raid can and infrequently will institute their very own “case,” which means one raid can lead to a number of “cases.” For instance, the property proprietor or onsite employee could find yourself with a legal case, a DFW case, a Water Board case, and an area Code case.

Keep in thoughts {that a} “case” will be opened by simply mailing or even posting abatement-related notices. Thus, whereas raids are undeniably scary, this new tackle ye’ olde multi-agency raid often leads to the identical or related penalties as with abatement letters, i.e. the property will likely be thrown into environmental compliance and code compliance (“red tagging”), a course of which requires engineers, biologists and different environmental consultants, typically with prices within the a number of tens of hundreds.

It is vital to notice that environmental and code circumstances are usually thought-about “administrative,” versus legal, which is why I put the phrase “case” in quotes right here. Administrative circumstances are sometimes formulaic, as fines or penalties are sometimes withheld till the federal government can assess whether or not a property proprietor is keen to return into compliance. The process is a bit totally different for every company, so right here’s a snapshot:

  • DFW/Water Boards: The environmental companies will typically EACH open a separate “case,” which means there are three separate companies coordinating numerous points of the compliance (along with native companies). The environmental companies often maintain off on imposing charges till they’ve decided whether or not the property proprietor goes to “get in compliance” or not. The course of of satiating three environmental companies will be expensive and time consuming, however they’re additionally licensed to impose astronomical penalties for noncompliance, so getting in compliance is usually the least costly various.
  • County Code Officers: Code officers will often “red tag” or “cite” the property for constructing and associated violations of the native code. Counties are licensed to instantly impose charges below a brand new state statute (Govt. Code 53069.4) that I mentioned in final 12 months’s enforcement weblog HERE, although many jurisdictions correctly don’t and permit 3-10 days for an preliminary assertion of compliance. Instead, most jurisdictions ship “warning letters” that threaten huge fines if somebody doesn’t come into compliance inside the time interval.

The unhappy consequence of the present code-related enforcement regime is that it penalizes small household farms whereas permitting those that are extra risk-tolerant to sport the system by treating fines as a mere “cost of doing business.” This inequitable software of the identical set of enforcement guidelines is the first purpose Sarah and I selected to discontinue our administrative protection apply presently. Please try Part 2 of this 2-part blog series for extra about that call. 

  • Local Sheriffs: Sheriff’s deputies consider the scenario for potential submitting of a misdemeanor/felony case, and will likely be asking questions referring to gross sales, interstate delivery, and so forth. Remember the collective/cooperative regulation is DEAD, which means the first protection for unregulated legacy farmers will likely be private use, a protection not accessible to demonstrably industrial unregulated grows. 
  • National Guard: The National Guard will seemingly be current this 12 months, providing military-grade surveillance, helicopters, and associated assist. Keep in thoughts the National Guard is the one navy power allowed to enact war-like response on our nation’s personal residents, and so they have been most not too long ago deployed to squelch protestors’ First Amendment rights. I’m not certain if these points will bleed over into hashish, however I do imagine the unprecedented use of the National Guard in the previous few years is notable and regarding.


As the legal guidelines that assist this new type of raid are of their infancy, there may be little authorized precedent, which means we will anticipate vital litigation the place unregulated hashish cultivation intersects with particular person liberties. Although we’re sure to see recent and thrilling authorized defenses to those sorts of circumstances, most folk don’t wish to be a check case. It is pricey, cumbersome, and is oftentimes a shedding battle.

As all the time, outside/sungrower household farms will take the brunt of seasonal enforcement measures as a result of they’re motionless, their lives inextricably linked to the earth on which their farms sit, typically for multiple technology. Enforcing on legacy farms is especially troublesome in mild of the state’s three-year eligibility prohibition for anybody who will get cited for unregulated industrial hashish exercise. While I’ve heard tales that the governor and several other legacy-producing Counties are creating numerous grant applications to assist carry legacy farms into the regulated fold, these applications gained’t be in impact throughout this rising season.

We are grateful so many commerce and coverage organizations have made “access to the market” a major coverage goal as a result of the penalties for unregulated actions are heavy and ever-increasing. If you wish to see change in these guidelines, please assist your native commerce and coverage organizations on this vital work. Here’s just a few of our favourite:

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