Yolo DA Enforces New Cannabis Laws

West Sacramento Warehouse Owner Enjoined from Leasing to Illegal Growers While Other Landlords and Cultivators Admit Liability, Pay Penalties

Press Release

Woodland, CA – January 8, 2018 – Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced today that on January 4, 2018, Yolo County Superior Court Judge Sonia Cortés issued a preliminary injunction against multiple defendants, including the landlord of a warehouse in West Sacramento. This is one of many cannabis related investigations and prosecutions now under way. The judicial order prohibits the defendants from violating West Sacramento and Yolo County cannabis laws and other related unlawful conduct. The District Attorney moved for the injunction against the illegal cannabis growers and the landlords who harbored their operation.

On February 10, 2017, the defendant, Wang Brothers Investments, LLC, leased their warehouse to co-defendants who grew over 11,000 plants, the largest known amount of illegal indoor cannabis plants grown in Yolo County for 2017. Senior code enforcement officers from the West Sacramento Community Development Department discovered the illegal operation during a routine inspection on June 5, 2017. The illegal cultivators fled the location of the illegal grow when inspectors arrived.

Officers from the Yolo County Narcotic Enforcement Team were then called and began their investigation finding that the landlord defendants were receiving over $24,000 a month for rent as well as an additional amount of $30,000 a month for electricity from the cultivator defendants. With the assistance of the landlords, the cultivators made unpermitted warehouse improvements in order to enable the illegal cultivation to proceed. The illegal cannabis found, valued at over $17,000,000, was destroyed.

Cultivation of commercial cannabis in West Sacramento and throughout Yolo County requires city or county permits issued to the cultivators under strict conditions.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig stated, “Under present state law, cities and counties decide whether or not to allow commercial cannabis cultivation within their jurisdictions and, if so, under what conditions. When those conditions are not met, violators will be subject to civil and criminal prosecution.”

In another recent illegal cannabis cultivation prosecution, The People vs. Telly, the District Attorney’s Office filed suit against a property owner and his tenant who were cultivating cannabis in the County without a County cannabis permit. On December 20, 2017, Judge Cortés ordered both the owner and his tenant to pay $190,000 in costs and penalties, after the parties reached an agreement on this and other terms through a stipulation.

The District Attorney’s Consumer Fraud and Environmental Protection Division works with multiple state and local agencies whose responsibility is to establish a level playing field for legal cannabis operators in the emerging lawful cannabis industry by bringing enforcement actions against those illegal operators that risk human and environmental harms through their ill-gotten gains and unfair business practices.

While some government resources are dedicated to determining the existence of illegal cannabis activities, the public’s attention to this issue is critical. Should you come across illegal cannabis activities in Yolo County, the Yolo County District Attorney urges you to contact the Yolo County Cannabis Task Force by using the online complaint form available at http://www.yolocounty.org/community-services/cannabis-3398 or by calling the California Cannabis Hotline at 1-833-WeedTip.