Cannabis Advocates, Cultivators Fear Retaliation For Referendum
|Some plants were untouched, most cut at base.|
Boulder Creek CA Aug 15, 2015 Around 9 am yesterday, armed and uniformed agents of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office served warrants and conducted raids on at least a dozen small size cannabis cultivation operations on private property just outside the town of Boulder Creek. The raids began at a home south of Bear Creek,and continued at various properties throughout the area until around 5pm. The total number of warrants served is unknown at the moment. The combined number of plants destroyed is in the thousands
No arrests have been reported but the town, and the wider cannabis community has been abuzz with shared stories and speculation.
Around two dozen personnel with a small fleet of vehicles went from house to house, serving warrants, searching property and cutting plants. Many of the growers have been in business for years, have model operations and produce award winning, high quality products.
The economic damage was still being assessed, plants were weeks from harvest, but most estimates were in the millions of dollars.
“This will hurt a lot of families.” said one long time Boulder Creek resident who has some property under cultivation. “Some of the smaller growers are really crop to crop. They won’t be able to live here anymore, they’ll have trouble with mortgage payments or paying off bills.”
There was a mix of fear and anger in the voices of many who met at a local coffee house Fri morning. Representatives of many of the local political and business organizations which have become active in the wake of the Board of Supervisors shifting policies on cultivation in the county were on hand to hear first hand accounts and consider legal strategies.
In one of the more unusual accounts one land owner successfully saved his crop by telling the officer that he would name him personally in a civil suit if he were to destroy his plants. Another grower said that he was offered a deal: if he agreed to go and cut some plants and carry them up the hill they would let him keep some others.
According to some the commanding officer seemed confused about what ordinance or law was being enforced, telling some they were allowed only a 10 x 10 sq ft garden - and then cutting everything outside a 10 x 10 and leaving one plot. In other cases growers were allowed to say which plants they wanted to keep. Often a few plants were left untouched, in plain sight.
This is a developing story and we will do our best to keep up. We have reached out to the Sheriff’s office and Supervisor McPherson for comment.