MONTEREY COUNTY – On February 25, 2021, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office announced that the Office’s Cannabis Enforcement Unit entered into a stipulated civil judgment with William Peck of Aromas, for cultivating cannabis cuttings or “clones,” without the required state and local licenses and permits. The judgment requires Peck to pay a total of $166,000 to resolve these violations, including $115,000 in civil penalties and forfeiting $51,000 in cash that was seized from Peck’s residence during the execution of a search warrant. Additionally, the stipulated judgment includes an injunction prohibiting Peck from illegally cultivating any cannabis plants in the future.
On August 5, 2020, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant on Peck’s property, revealing numerous hoop-houses containing “mother plants,” used to create cannabis “clones.” These clones can then be used to grow new cannabis plants. In total, 4,000 rooted cannabis clones were seized and eradicated from Peck’s property. Further investigation revealed that Peck was engaged in the cultivating clones for the purpose of selling them to outside cultivators throughout California.
In California, cultivating more than six cannabis plants, including clones, requires a state license and numerous local permits, and Peck did not possess any of the requisite authorizations. Peck cooperated with law enforcement throughout the entirety of the investigation of this matter.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife investigated this incident with the assistance of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office and investigators from the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office.
“Those cultivating cannabis illegally in California are quickly learning that they are competing unfairly with licensed operations, breaking the law, and will be held accountable,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “State and local law enforcement departments are teaming up, serving search warrants, making arrests and following through with civil and criminal proceedings.”