On August 11th, 2022

Massive Illegal Cannabis Operation Discovered in Northern Monterey County

“California law enforcement is working to eliminate illegal cannabis operations in an effort to protect consumers, product safety, businesses that operate legally, and our environment. “ – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona

MONTEREY COUNTY – On August 11, 2022, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office that its Bureau of Investigations, in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Monterey County Department of Public Works, and other state and local agencies (“Monterey County Cannabis Enforcement Unit”), discovered a massive illegal cannabis operation in Northern Monterey County.   The enforcement team found and destroyed more than14,000 illegal cannabis plants and more than 15 tons of processed cannabis.

According to the DA’s Office, the illegal operation was hidden on a berry farm in an unincorporated area of Salinas, with nearly 300 hoop houses.  Berries were planted along the perimeter of the hoop houses to conceal the true nature of the operation.   The investigation is ongoing.

According to the DA’s Office, the licensed cannabis industry in Monterey County is currently experiencing economic hardship caused in part by a substantial decrease in the market value of processed cannabis.  One contributing factor to this decrease is the supply of cannabis products that the illegal industry brings to the market.  Unlike legal cannabis, these illicit products are not tested for consumer safety, they are not taxed for public revenues, and they are generally processed using illegal labor practices.  Additionally, the illegal pesticides used at illegal cultivations are generally extremely destructive to the environment.


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