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1,600 plants seized at unlicensed cannabis facility

September 5, 2018 GMT

NEEDLES — City of Needles Code Enforcement with assistance from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station shut down an illegal marijuana cultivation operation on Aug. 31.

“At 8:30 a.m. we executed an inspection warrant that we received based on a reason to believe that there was an illegal cannabis cultivation in north Needles,” said Rick Daniels, city manager.

Daniels stated that when they went into the building code enforcement and the sheriff’s department fount about 1,600 marijuana plants on the property.

“This wasn’t just some guy growing six plants in his basement, this was a large commercial operation,” said Daniels. “If this operation would have been legal it would’ve been probably the second or third largest grow facility in the city.”

According to Daniels, it is still under investigation to determine if the illegal marijuana cultivation was a standalone operation or if it was aligned with a drug cartel or a gang.

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“Success of the regulated cannabis industry relies on spotting the illegal back market cannabis cultivations,” said Daniels. “Since they’re not regulated they don’t undergo testing which measures the potency strength, the use of herbicides or pesticides and more.”

“Illegal marijuana cultivations undermine the legitimacy of those businesses that are playing by the rules and go through the public hearing process,” continued Daniels. “There’s a system that the voters and council put in place and everyone has to comply with it. Every one of the legal cannabis cultivators in the city goes through an extensive FBI background check to receive a permit.”

“We are not going to be tolerant of illegal cannabis cultivation operations in the city,” said Daniels.