MENDOCINO CO., 6/04/17 — They say a stitch in time saves nine, but these people are betting on a sign — to save them jail time.
"Raid season,” kicked off last week with several eradications in the inland county (read the background in this article), and cultivators who have not submitted their applications for county cultivation permits have found themselves in a predicament. Some large number of people in the county are dutifully filling out paperwork to get on the right side of the law, but until then their status is uncertain and vague.
In a statement released Friday by the Mendocino County’s Executive Office (read more here), potential applicants were informed that the only way get protection against raids is to submit an application, have it reviewed by Ag Department staff, pay the appropriate fees (about $2,000 to start) and then submit the application for processing. Those who might be still figuring out how to fill out those applications? Good luck!
Last year, anyone participating in the sheriff’s cultivation permit program was asked to post a large banner with their permit number that could be visible by helicopters surveying overhead. This year, permit applicants are told to have all the appropriate paperwork prepared. But what about everyone else? Some local farmers are getting creative. This week, this photo came across the Mendo Voice instagram feed from local sign shop in Fort Bragg, Braggadoon Fine Art and Design, with the tags #tistheseason, #gardensafety, and #compliance:
The complete text reads:
LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS
THIS CULTIVATION SITE IS IN
THE PROCESS OF APPLYING
FOR A PERMIT WITH MENDOCINO COUNTY
PRIOR TO TAKING ANY ACTION
OR MAKING A DECISION TO DESTROY
MEDICAL CANNABIS PLANTS,
PLEASE CONTACT CULTIVATOR'S ATTORNEY:
(insert attorney name and contact info here)
We contacted Braggadoon to get a few more details. Braggadoon’s Kiersten Hanna told us the signs had first been ordered by a few local cultivators, whose attorneys recommended posting something similar. On Saturday, Hanna said the shop had printed about ten, but had been receiving requests for additional orders since they posted the photo on social media.
Reports from the raids last week indicate farms in both Redwood Valley and Potter Valley received visits from the sheriff’s department’s cannabis eradication team, and it’s been confirmed one farm that participated in last year’s permitting program had hundreds of plants chopped down. The farmers’ attorney, Hannah Nelson, said she had instructed her farmer clients last year to post signage detailing their permit status, which included her phone number. This farm was in the process of filling out this year’s permit, and reportedly requested the sheriff’s deputies contact their attorney, but we’ve heard this did not happen prior to the eradication of 300 - 500 plants. Honestly, though, we don’t know what would have happened even if the attorney was called — right now the lastest word from the county is that cultivators must have an application into the Ag Department, which provides some protection from nuisance and abatement codes before the application is approved.
Kate Maxwell [email protected]
Adrian Fernandez Baumann contributed jokes to this article. If you've got jokes for days and want to share, email: [email protected]