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June 14, 2021

Multiple agencies bust unlicensed cannabis cultivators in South Monterey County

Similar enforcement actions will continue throughout the year

SALINAS VALLEY — Last month the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office’s Bureau of Investigations, in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and other state and local agencies, conducted cannabis enforcement operations targeting unlicensed cannabis cultivators in South Monterey County.

In total, these operations resulted in the eradication and destruction of about 5 tons of illegal cannabis during the month of May. Similar enforcement actions will continue throughout the year.

In California, cannabis cultivation for personal and recreational use is legal; however, cultivating over six plants is presumed to be for business purposes and, therefore, requires a state and local cultivation license.

“Cultivation over this limit without the requisite licenses violates both criminal and civil laws, and may result in a felony conviction, substantial fines and fees, and civil liability,” the District Attorney’s Office stated in a news release.

The illegal cannabis seized during last month’s enforcement actions underwent laboratory screening and testing and was found to contain harmful pesticides and dangerous heavy metals. In contrast, legal cannabis product undergoes significant laboratory testing and screening to ensure product safety for the public.

Among other things, legal cannabis is screened for THC levels as well as the presence of heavy metals, pesticides and other dangerous chemicals. Investigation into these illegal operations is active and ongoing.

“The District Attorney’s Office is committed to ensuring a level playing field in Monterey County’s licensed cannabis industry by eliminating unfair and unlicensed business practices. Additionally, it is committed to protecting public health and safety by eradicating harmful cannabis products before they enter the illegal market,” the DA’s Office stated.

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