Northern California

Residents call for action against illegal marijuana grows after deputies’ shooting

After last week’s shooting of two deputies near a marijuana grow in Oregon House, several Yuba County residents asked their Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to take action and declare a state of emergency for illegal pot activities.

“We are in an emergency now,” said Karen Liggett, a Marysville resident. “The officers didn’t need to be shot last week. Pot issues are getting out of control, and we want you guys to please put this into a state of emergency.”

Supervisors took no action because the issue came up during the public forum.

“Additional resources are needed. I think it’s pretty clear,” said Supervisor Randy Fletcher, who is responsible for the foothills region of the county and chairman of the board. “I’d like to direct staff immediately and ask the board to look at our opportunities, and to let staff know that we need to move on this today.”

Supervisor Gary Bradford agreed with Fletcher that additional resources were needed. He said he was interested in hearing Fletcher’s plans to address the subject.

Supervisor Mike Leahy also said steps need to be taken by the county to resolve the issue.

Fletcher left community members with a promise.

“We know there is a problem, and we will be working on that problem,” he said.

More than 50 people attended Tuesday’s board meeting. Many asked supervisors to support the declaration. Most of the 12 speakers were foothills residents.

Dobbins resident Mike Lee said the issue of illegal marijuana grows in the foothills has reached a level that is ‘inconceivable,’ and that he feels under siege in his own home. He said he moved to the foothills in 2005 to retire in his dream home, but what he has seen happen in terms of marijuana cultivation has stripped him and his family of their safety.

“Why is this allowed to happen?” Lee said. “I feel helpless. The county is going down a dark road, but this is a chance to turn it around. We need your help.”

Buck Weckman, who started the citizen-activist group Yuba County Families Against Cannabis Trafficking in 2015, presented an emergency declaration to the board for consideration.

He brought up the fact that Yuba County currently has a declaration regarding tree mortality. In light of last week’s officer-involved shooting, he said the county faces more important issues when it comes to illegal marijuana activities.

He urged the board to make more resources available to local law enforcement to help combat the issue. With agencies like the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office suffering from a lack of patrol deputies, he asked the board to adopt the resolution, which could potentially open up funding sources from the state or federal government, he said.

Olivehurst resident Mary Salvato said she was confident when the board passed its marijuana cultivation ordinance basically banning outdoor grows, but as time has gone by, she has found that the people coming into the county to grow illegally pay no mind to the regulation.

“The sheriff is overburdened already as it is,” Salvato said. “I just hope you guys can do something, and I do think it should be addressed as an emergency. It’s affecting everyone in every sense. This is not bringing what we want to our county.”

One speaker, foothills resident Marcia Cecil, suggested supervisors might be able to provide law enforcement with more resources.

“Take a 1 percent cut across the board for everything,” Cecil said. “They are putting their lives on the line for us. The sheriff’s office needs more money to hire more deputies and need more equipment.”


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