Marijuana is a year-round headline

Be it pot shops, busts, garden eradications, court cases or city and county ordinances, the subject of marijuana held the lead in headlines during 2010.

On Jan. 16, Ken and Kathy Prather, operators of Tehama Herbal Collections, were issued the first of many daily citations from the city for operating the dispensary without a proper business permit.

From that point on, the Prather saga of headlines included a court case on the citations, which the Prathers lost and resulted in them having to shut down their collective.

In the meantime, Ken Prather ran for City Council – finishing last in a six-candidate field — and Tehama Herbal Collections was raided by the Tehama Interagency Drug Enforcement task force on Sept. 7.

Task force agents also served search warrants at the Prather’s home on Walnut Street and a house and

property they own in Rancho Tehama. During the raids, agents seized financial documents, processed marijuana and plants, cash, and computers. The case is still under investigation.

Jason Labonte, one of the original operators of Tehama Herbal Collective, was arrested in April and charged with three felony counts of transportation of marijuana.

When law enforcement served a search warrant at Labonte’s home in Los Molinos, the reportedly seized a stolen semi-automatic pistol, 237 marijuana plants, approximately 30 pounds of processed marijuana and evidence of hash-oil manufacturing. The case is still in court.

Both the Corning City Council and Tehama County Board of Supervisors adopted ordinances regulating where and how much pot medical marijuana recommend holders and their caregivers or cooperatives could grow.

Adoption of the Tehama County ordinance led to a class action lawsuit filed in Tehama County Superior Court in June by attorneys David Nick and Editte Lerman on behalf of 10 plaintiffs who reside in the county. According to court documents, the plaintiffs claim the ordinance makes it impossible for them legally to exercise their Proposition 215 right to cultivate medical marijuana for themselves.

The case in ongoing and a ruling is yet to be made.

Other marijuana headlines included the first ever “World Hemp Expo” to be held in the county. The event was organized by Donna Will and Jerry Doran, and held in May on Riverside Avenue. Hundreds of people from all over the world attended the three day expo, which featured a special “section 215,” camping, eating (be careful of the brownies), live music, and vendor booths.

Several pot garden raids also made headlines, and large busts of people illegally in possession of marijuana.

In one case, TIDE agents reportedly seized $2.3 million worth of marijuana and 21 arrests were made in Tehama County over a two week period, involving raids on seven different locations.

In September, the state Department of Justice made a raid on a home on Donnovan Avenue in Corning, where they reportedly located 700 pounds of processed marijuana and $22,468 in cash in a bedroom.

The case reportedly had connections to a large-scale marijuana cultivation and distribution organization that spans the state from Los Angeles to Tehama County, according to the Department of Justice.

During the year, the Tehama County Sheriff’s Department Marijuana Eradication Team eradicated 15 illegal marijuana gardens and approximately 147,088 plants, during which time they made 11 arrests, confiscated five firearms and seized about 1,783 pounds of processed marijuana.

via : Corning Observer

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