Santa Clara Law Enforcement Bust Marijuana Grow Operation (CA Health and Safety Code 11358)

Although there have been big changes nationwide in the past few years when it comes to the question of marijuana, it is important to note that there are still a large number of law enforcement agents who make it their business to eliminate the use, distribution, and growth of the illegal plant. One of these groups is the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department’s “Marijuana Eradication Team.” It’s a strange name, but accurate. Deputies from this particular team were dispatched to a suspected grow site near Alum Rock Park. A raid was carried out in the early morning hours this past Friday and ended in only 1 arrest, though the media has called it a ‘big pot bust.’ 2 other individuals managed to escape the team. There is no word yet on how many plants the ‘large’ grow operation actually consisted of.

Most folks are at least a bit familiar with California’s basic laws concerning the possession, sale, distribution, and growth of marijuana. Simply possessing a small amount of marijuana for personal use could end in a $100 fine, court costs, and no criminal record. However, teams such as the one mentioned above still go after what they consider to be problematic large marijuana growing operations.

Under California’s Health and Safety Code 11358, it is illegal to cultivate marijuana in the state, unless authorized to do so for medicinal purposes. Not only is it unlawful to grow anything but medical marijuana, it is always a felony. This particular section of the law covers growing, planting, processing, drying, or harvesting the plant. If convicted, the individual arrested in Friday’s raid could be looking at severe penalties. For a first conviction, it is possible to spend up to 3 years in county jail. Nonetheless, it is possible to argue for a lesser sentence or no jail time, if you enter into a drug treatment program and are not a violent offender.