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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cops Called to Marijuana Garden Robbery Seize Crop; Growers Could Be Arrested

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 3:29 PM

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Forgive marijuana growers if they're not yet prepared to participate fully in society. The same society asking cannabis cultivators to pay taxes and apply for permits has been locking them up for 40 years -- and tearing down their gardens when they call police to assist.

A trio of Santa Clara County growers who called police to report a robbery won't likely be contacting authorities again.

Unknown thieves tied up two growers at gunpoint in Morgan Hill last

Thursday, but fled when the third grower returned to the crop.

The growers called police, who thus far have done more damage to the "victims" than to the suspects: Cops tore down the growers' 120 marijuana plants, and if the District Attorney chooses to press charges, police will be back to serve the "victims" with arrest warrants, the Gilroy Dispatch reports.

As for the assailants? They're still at large. No suspects were identified, as of Tuesday afternoon.

The growers, who were also not identified, reported three Hispanic men breaking into their garden at 7:15 a.m. last Thursday. They ranged in ages from 22 to 45, and drove three separate vehicles.



When two of the growers confronted the intruders, the robbers pulled out handguns and proceeded to tie the growers up and help themselves to a couple of the plants, the newspaper reported. They fled when the third grower returned home. Police spent several hours that afternoon taking down the garden.

Sheriff's investigators said the growers' garden was "out of compliance" with state law, but would not say how. State law says that individual growers can have up to six mature or 12 immature marijuana plants -- but gardens can be much bigger if growers are cultivating on someone else's behalf.

For example, one grower could be feasibly legal with 120 plants if they had, on-site, paperwork -- or physicians' recommendations to use medical marijuana -- from 12 other people.

What's more, the limits on possession outlined in 2003's Senate Bill 420, which was meant to give clarification to the murky legality of 1996's Proposition 215, were struck down by the California Supreme Court in a 2010 decision.

The situation is a tricky one for police to handle. Often, growers who lose a garden to police are not charged or exonerated in court, when they produce paperwork that proves that their grow was indeed legal. If this happens in this case, and the alleged thieves are not caught, look for growers to never call police again, or worse -- take justice into their own hands.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Bio:
Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.

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