MODESTO -- Mendocino County, like a lot of counties in California, has a serious marijuana problem. Commercial growers with ties to organized crime have invaded the Mendocino National Forest, making parts of this beautiful backcountry unsafe for the public.
Federal authorities are responding to this threat, but not to the degree many north state residents would like to see. What is apparent, unfortunately, is the time and resources federal prosecutors are devoting to a legal battle with Mendocino County. As The Sacramento Bee reported Jan. 4, a federal grand jury has subpoenaed all records kept by Mendocino County as part of its program to license medical marijuana growers.
Mendocino County set up this program in 2010 in response to California's medical marijuana law. The program requires growers to accept limits on the number of plants grown, undergo inspections, and install fences and security cameras. In 2010 and 2011, nearly 100 pot farmers were granted county permits to grow as many as 99 plants. An additional 400 were issued those years for growers with fewer than 25 plants.