Northern California Rental House Busted For Illegal Grow Operation

California Rental House Busted For Illegal Grow Operation
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Contributor: Ken Carmen

California has always been a marijuana mecca. That pretty much goes without saying. For decades, this coastal state has not only been full of cannabis-loving citizens, but the unbeatable climate that is only found in Northern California, allows this wonderful state of ours to produce some of the best cannabis strains in the entire world. And that is a claim that can be made confidently, without any iota of hyperbole.

With all this going for California, longtime residents knew that it was just a matter of time before the state finally legalized recreational use. To be fair, it always felt legal in this state, but obviously this vital piece of legislation all but โ€œsealed the dealโ€ so to speak.

When medicinal use of marijuana passed years prior, there were only a handful of places to procure some doctor prescribed buds. Which made sense. There wasnโ€™t a whole lot of people taking that extra step to get an official recommendation from their physician in order to legal buy, grow, and smoke herb. Many just didnโ€™t feel the need to. Basically, if you knew somebody who went through all those legal hoops, you essentially were able to smoke those high-quality, lab-tested buds anyway.

However, with that being widely considered โ€œnormalโ€ by most accounts, that led to an increase in black market cannabis sales. These criminals would get their hands on clones to grow themselves, or they would simply undercut dispensaries who were going about it in the legal (extremely taxed) route that the government approved. In short, these dispensaries were forced to compete with the street – and anything that sets up a war between legit and illegal is never going to have positive outcomes.

This, along with a litany of research and campaigning, led to the passing of recreational marijuana in California. Gone were the days of unjust stigma and judgement just because somebody likes to fire up a bowl every now and then. The route of the government, and cannabis enthusiasts alike, was to normalize this incredibly beneficial herb. I mean, if damaging, actually addictive, super lethal things such as opioids and alcohol were not only deemed legal, but sold on every street corner – so should marijuana.

Seemingly overnight, each block in San Francisco, and the greater Bay Area, as a whole, has enjoyed an influx of properly regulated, well-stocked dispensaries and cannabis clubs. Thereโ€™s no โ€œbehemothโ€ or โ€œmega-storeโ€ in this burgeoning industry. At least, not yet, anyway. Which means, for the time being, competition amongst cannabis clubs is, essentially, alive and well. This is the way things should be – for every industry – if Iโ€™m being honest.

With this route in place, the level of corruption would supposedly dwindle down to nothing over a short course of time. Needing to โ€œplay by the rulesโ€ so to speak, none of these reputable establishments would dare risk losing their licenses for the chance at a heightened profit. In turn, that effectively forces their hands to be more competitive with their counterparts. Such can be done through the cultivation of their own buds, at a cheaper price. Or, they could work with their suppliers on providing a higher quality product to their loyal customer base at a fraction of the cost. Obviously, these arenโ€™t the only two ways to go about getting an upper hand on the competition in a legal way, but they are some of the more legit ways of going about it.

With the passing of medicinal and recreational use in the state of California, one would assume that the black market for marijuana would have been eliminated by now. But that is not even close to the case. Marijuana, and the cannabis industry as a whole, is immensely profitable. It has been that way for decades now. The main thing customers always look for is quality at an affordable price.

Which is where the black market comes in.

They will price check certain dispensaries and strains, procure their own clones or seeds, and proceed to undercut these legal establishments by flooding the streets and neighborhoods with product at a fraction of the price. However, just because these strains and buds are cheaper – doesnโ€™t necessarily mean they are better. Even more than that, they will more than likely hurt whoever smokes it.

That is precisely what happened with all of these Vitamin E tainted vape cartridges recently. All of those were black market items that should have never seen the light of day – but the black market producers behind them couldnโ€™t help but try to profit off folks who unknowingly put straight-up poison into their bodies – solely because they thought they were saving a few bucks. Itโ€™s sad, really.

But it doesnโ€™t always have to involve tainted vape cartridges (obviously). In fact, recently, an entire illegal grow house was exposed in Fremont after the local fire department was called to handle a blaze that had started due to poor electrical wiring that was put in place by a tenant who had used a fraudulent alias to secure the rental home in the first place.

Anjali and Anil, the owners of the house and the folks who rented to this alleged gang grower, refused to give out their last names to reporters. They were beyond distraught to hear about what happened to their house. When they first rented to the suspect, who is still at large, they didnโ€™t suspect anything fishy whatsoever. Which is probably due to the fake identity he went under to secure the lease.

Northern California Rental House Busted For Illegal Grow Operation

When questioned about their initial reactions and feelings about this suspect, Anjali remarked on the first time he visited the house. Anjali said, โ€œHe came to see the house with small kids. He was holding a baby and kids and he told us that he [was] recently divorced.โ€

The two were completely blindsided by the news of the house they raised their children in. Mainly because they had just checked out the property earlier that year to see if everything was alright. Speaking on their inspection, Anjali remarked, โ€œHouse was spotless. It was furnished, obviously I donโ€™t know if he was living there at that time, but it was spotless, it was so clean.โ€ Such a statement could most certainly not be said about the condition of the house after the local authorities arrived on the scene.

The suspect in question (again, still on the loose) made a whole lot of changes to the interior of the house to help create and, subsequently, protect his massive illegal grow operation. And he was the furthest thing from professional in doing so.

In order to house and maintain his nearly 1,200 plants, he had punched multiple holes in the ceilings and walls in order to make room for shoddy ventilation systems and irrigation tubes. Multiple areas of the house were covered in scattered and frayed clumps of wiring. Which, in the end, was the main source of the fire that unearthed this whole ordeal.

Reports from the Fremont fire dispatch at the time of the blaze said, โ€œFire 97 working a structure fire. Theyโ€™re requesting us Code 3. Thereโ€™s an illegal gas line thatโ€™s been hooked up and they say itโ€™s a possible grow house there.โ€ The house, essentially, is ruined. Contractors and inspectors are assuming the entire structure will have to be leveled, due to the potential ongoing water and mold damage that is likely festering in the walls.

Speaking on the surprising amount of black market cannabis that is still running rampant, even in a post-legalization era, the Chancellor at Oaksterdam University, Dale Skye Jones, commented, โ€œAs long as there is an illegal market, you will have bootleggers.โ€ Adding, โ€œYouโ€™re paying all the taxes and the bills and the five people down the street are paying none of that and dropping prices, and so you are competing with the illicit market and it is just simply unfair across the board.โ€

We couldnโ€™t have said it better ourselves.

Spread the love