Energy-Sucking Ariel Way Grow House Typical Of New Trend – July 25, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

 

2268 Ariel Way. Google Maps photo

Kevin L. Hoover

Eye Editor

WINDSONG – Even as Arcata moves to put a measure that would tax electricity-guzzling grow houses on the ballot, Arcata police continue to unplug them from the groaning grid.

APD officers served a search warrant at 2268 Ariel Way in the Windsong subdivision Wednesday morning, July 25. There, police say, officers located an indoor marijuana growing operation. The grow consisted of nearly 800 growing marijuana plants utilizing 10 1,000 watt grow lights.

APD said the home was consuming nearly 5,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month – nearly 1,000 percent above the 500 kilowatt hours used by an average California home.

About 10 pounds of processed marijuana and one pound of concentrated cannabis were also found in the home.

Kathleen Marie Richardson, 32, of Arcata, was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Jail on the following charges:

• 11358 Health & Safety (H&S) – Cultivation of Marijuana

• 11359 H&S – Possession of Marijuana for Sale

• 11366.5 H&S – Maintaining a Residence for Manufacture

• 11357(a) H&S- Possession of Concentrated Cannabis

As is usually the case after discovery of a residential house transformed into a commercial cannabis-growing and manufacturing operation, City of Arcata building inspectors found numerous building code violations which necessitated immediate disconnection of electrical service. Arcata Fire Protection District Investigators also responded to the scene to assess potential fire hazards.

2268 Ariel Way is owned by Ronald and Diana Erickson of San Francisco.

Det. Sgt. Todd Dokkweiler said that the bust is typical of an emerging trend, in which cannabis arrests in the midwest yield information leading back to local cannabis operations.

The information that led to last week’s arrest was developed from a cannabis-transportation arrest in Nebraska several months ago, Dokkweiler said. Other recent Arcata-area arrests trace back to drug interdiction in Utah and Nevada.

The dynamics of the cannabis market are driving the trend, Dokkweiler said. With the local market glutted and prices dropping, more growers are compelled to move their goods out of state.

Law enforcement officials along central transportation corridors are well aware of the drug traffic. Special police entities, such as Illinois’ State’s Attorney’s Felony Enforcement unit – known as “SAFE” – have been set up to target transporters.

Any investigative leads that result from the interdiction arrests are pipelined back to local agencies for further development. In this case, Dokkweiler said. it was months “by the time we got to that house on the list.”

APD’s lengthy list of possible grow houses continues to be compiled from multiple sources, Dokkweiler said, including the usual dog walkers and neighbors.

If you suspect illegal drug activity in your neighborhood, please contact the Arcata Police Department at (707) 822-2428 or leave a tip on the Arcata Police Department’s Crime Tip Line at (707) 825-2587.

Juice-use tax

On July, 11, the City Council voted to adopt Resolution 112-52, placing the Excessive Residential Electricity Use Tax Measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The measure would place a 45 percent tax on residences that use three times as much electricity as average households.

According to a City staff report, Arcata has 9,500 residential electricity customers, and 633 households exceed 600 percent of baseline use.

This use – believed attributable to  illegal residential cannabis cultivation – consumed a whopping 6.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity. between 2000 and 2006, Arcata’s electricity use increased 24 percent while statewide, consumption remained more or less constant.

The City’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan is striving to reduce to 20 percent of year 2000-level emissions by the year 2020.

Should it pass, the tax could net more than $1 million per year in tax revenue, though that figure is expected to decline because of the tax disincentive for excessive electricity use.

That disincentive, plus helping to achieve the greenhouse gas goals and helping “align the City of Arcata with emerging California energy policy,” are the stated goals of the tax.

PG&E estimates that it would cost $650,000 to implement the tax.

 

City of Arcata

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SEARCH WARRANT SERVED ON WINDSONG HOME

Officers from the Arcata Police Department served a search warrant at a residence in the 2200 block of Ariel Way on Wednesday morning.

Officers located an indoor marijuana growing operation at the residence. The operation consisted of nearly 800 growing marijuana plants utilizing 10 1,000 watt grow lights.

Kathleen Marie Richardson

The home was consuming nearly 5,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month, which is nearly 1,000 percent above the 500 kilowatt hours used by an average California home.

Approximately 10 pounds of processed marijuana and one pound of concentrated cannabis were also found in the home.
Kathleen Marie Richardson, 32, of Arcata was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Jail on the following charges:

Officers load out bags of cannabis evidence. APD photo

11358 Health & Safety (H&S)- Cultivation of Marijuana

11359 H&S- Possession of Marijuana for Sale

11366.5 H&S- Maintaining a Residence for Manufacture

APD’s evidence van, stuffed with pot plants. APD photo

11357(a) H&S- Possession of Concentrated Cannabis

City of Arcata building inspectors discovered numerous building code violations at the residence which necessitated the immediate disconnection of electrical service. Arcata Fire Protection District Investigators also responded to the scene to assess potential fire hazards.

If you suspect illegal drug activity in your neighborhood, please contact the Arcata Police Department at (707) 822-2428 or leave a tip on the Arcata Police Department’s Crime Tip Line at (707)825-2587.

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14 Responses to “Energy-Sucking Ariel Way Grow House Typical Of New Trend – July 25, 2012”

  1. Anonymous

    We could help solve the housing crisis by forcing forfeiture of property used in the production of drug/grow houses. Imagine how many houses would be coming back on the market, with real people choosing to live in them.

    #63914
  2. Katie Mae

    This economy would FAIL up here if it wasn't for the growers. Everyone hates on people for what they do up here, but if they didn't do what they do….this place would be a ghost town.

    #63915
  3. Anonymous

    Correction. We would have fewer restaurants if we didn't have growers (and less crime). HSU is the economic engine of this county, make no mistake. If Garberville had fewer residents, no big loss.

    #63918
  4. The economy of Humboldt county would tank without these growers. The University is a false economy that could not sustain the depth of services that now exist. Regulate and tax.

    #63926
  5. How do you know "real people" would end up renting or buying those places? They might well be occupied again by more growers.

    #63927
  6. It might help if people understood the law, and that the "local ordinances" were/ are illegal, unconstitutional amendment to a STATEWIDE law.

    Landmark Ruling: People v Kelly Decision.
    (2010): The Supreme Court held that the quantities are legal as a safe harbor for state ID cardholders but are unconstitutional as a limit on a qualified patient's legal defense. It also noted that the state ID card system is constitutional and collectives operating under Health and Safety Code 11362.775 are lawful throughout the state.

    Bergen Decision:
    (2008) determined that qualified patients making edibles, hash and kief are clearly legal but using butane to make hash oil is chemical extraction that is not covered by the medical use statutes — although the oil product is legal.

    Chakos Decision:
    "Nowhere in this record do we find any substantial evidence that the arresting officer had any expertise in differentiating citizens who possess marijuana lawfully for their own consumption, as distinct from possessing unlawfully with intent to sell."

    Colvin Decision:
    the Second Appellate District, Division Three rejected prosecutors' claim that all collective members must participate in cultivation. The court reversed the conviction of William Frank Colvin, who was convicted for transportation after being denied a medical marijuana defense under SB 420 (HSC 11362.775) because he was not engaged in the cultivation process. The court specifically re-affirmed the legitimacy of dispensaries in this situation.

    Kha Decision:
    Appellate Court: Local police must return medical marijuana to patients if found to be lawful under state law, regardless of federal law. Click here to view as a PDF (120k). "Mindful as we are of the general supremacy of federal law, we are unable to discern any justification for the City or its police department to disregard the trial court’s order to return Kha’s marijuana. The order is fully consistent with state law respecting the possession of medical marijuana, and for all the reasons discussed, we do not believe the federal drug laws supersede or preempt Kha’s right to the return of his property. That right has its origins in the CUA and MMP, but it is grounded, at bottom, on fairness principles embodied in the due process clause. Those principles require the return of Kha’s property."

    Los Angeles v AMCC Collective, :
    Second Appelate District, Division One ruled that Los Angeles County's "complete ban" on medical marijuana is "preempted" by state law and, therefore, void. "[T]he repeated use of the term 'dispensary' throughout [Health and Safety Code section 11362.768] and the reference in subdivision (e) to a 'storefront or mobile retail outlet' make it abundantly clear that the medical marijuana collectives authorized by section 11362.775 are permitted by state law to perform a dispensary function." The AMCC further held that, "[Los Angeles] County's total, per se nuisance ban against medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicts the Legislature's intent," and called that contradiction "direct, patent, obvious, and palpable."
    (sounds to me like the "ban" on local collectives).

    Spark Decision:
    Juries and judges do not get to "second guess" a doctor's approval, condition need not be determined to be "serious" for a valid approval.

    Windus Decision:
    Doctor's approval is not an annual requirement and can be good for years; doctor's dosage is advisory and does not restrict patient from having a "reasonable" amount, even if less than what a patient has.
    (Well, there goes the "expired" recommendation excuse).

    I could go on for another hour but I think you get the point…

    #63928
  7. Mark, what is your legal training?

    #63929
  8. Kev,
    No formal legal training, I am not a lawyer, but as someone that wants to hold public office crafting laws, I have made it an informal hobby to study that law ( as you know I helped the city craft the pedicab ordinance). I was considering attending school next semester to study criminal justice if I can secure the financial aid.
    Anyone can find these rulings. They are citeable appellate rulings.

    Also, I am not advocating for industrial size grows in residential housing, I am more saying that people (commenters) think the law says one thing while it CLEARLY says another and there are CLEAR court rulings that uninformed readers should be aware of.

    That is all.

    #63930
  9. I think the verbiage is BS. I can think of many other businesses who have HPS floodlamps running, in some locations 24-7, in and outside their locations. Their energy sucking practice is not being questioned.

    #63931
  10. From the " Press Democrat".
    While the state of California allows the use of medicinal marijuana and the cultivation of the plant, the federal government still classifies marijuana as an illegal drug. Because of this, public safety officials have realized that regulating marijuana cultivation is not currently possible.

    Petaluma firefighters responded Saturday to a fire at an eastside home that officials say stemmed from faulty electrical wiring to an indoor pot garden. To prevent such fires, which have become more prevalent in recent years, the police and fire departments last year began jointly developing a safety ordinance aimed at regulating indoor medical marijuana growing operations, but ran into conflicts with federal law that prohibits growing marijuana at all.

    “The ordinance was put aside because we realized that we cannot have an official fire ordinance that contradicts federal law,” Petaluma Fire Marshal Cary Fergus said. “So we had to stop working on it.

    #63932
  11. As a matter of fact, I have read about a ton of local search warrant issued based on smell… Patently illegal in California as the CA Supreme court ruled " to smell it is not the same as to see it" .
    I even heard a sherries deputy, Sgt. Hilsop I believe, say on 106.3 yesterday that most warrants for indoor cultivation were based on smell alone…give me a freaking break already… These people are supposed to " know the law"…
    http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2011/10/appeal_court_rejects_marijuana_search_based_on_sme.php

    #63935
  12. Thalon, That is in part because the businesses are not committing felonies, and in the process turning residential homes into factories. You may have a point though – maybe there should be limits on excessive energy use by legal businesses as well.

    #63936

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