San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials seized and destroyed more than 76,000 marijuana plants at a massive grow operation in Lucerne Valley that they said was masquerading as a hemp cultivation site.
The seizure occurred May 13 after personnel from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) and other county departments inspected the outdoor grow.
Authorities said the 40-acre site in the 35700 block of Granite Road consisted of 199 greenhouses and about 25 travel trailers with workers living in them. Sewage from the trailers was reportedly being dumped into nearby buried containers.
MET members said they received “numerous complaints about the location, and through investigation, the site was alleging itself to be a hemp cultivation.”
Personnel with the county Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures, however, reported the site had never been issued a county permit to cultivate hemp and had submitted a “dubious application for a nursery stock license to the California Department of Food and Agriculture,” according to the sheriff’s department.
Hemp is a form of the Cannabis sativa plant that can be made into a variety of items.
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, authorized the commercial production of hemp after a prohibition of several decades, and removed it and hemp seeds from being classified as a controlled substance.
But in order to be defined as hemp, the bill says a plant must have a THC concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.
Published: May 23, 2021
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