Farmers meet to discuss illegal pot grow issues

June 28, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Farmers say illegal marijuana grows are one of the most pressing issues they are facing.

Dozens of farmers and law enforcement officers gathered to talk about the dangers surrounding grows and what to do if they find one.

Authorities say illegal marijuana grows are becoming more and more apparent here in Fresno County and it is happening on the very land where food grows.

"Believe it or not, this has been a big issue for us probably the last three or four years. There was many of the marijuana grows that historically have been up in the foothills or the national forests have pushed down to the farm land," Ryan Jacobsen CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau.

Dozens of Fresno County farmers met with law enforcement at a forum hosted by the farm bureau to learn more about the budding problem.

"The public is at risk. We get complaints from the neighbors, from farmers, they're afraid to even check their own fields next to these marijuana grows. So the danger is very real," said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.

The forum also armed farmers with knowledge on their land rights. The Fresno County Sheriff's Office says the grows attract criminal activity.

" Just yesterday we got a shotgun, a rifle and a handgun out of a supposed medicinal marijuana grow. Report it. We know right now of over 200 marijuana grows on large multi-acre plots," said Mims

Madeline Melo of Fort Bragg said grows can be deadly. A reality she knows after her husband was shot to death after coming upon a grow on the job.

"I can't (emotional) let Jere's death go. (Crying) for not. Something good has to come out of that. So I'm fighting to make sure other people are not hurt," said Melo.

With marijuana harvest season underway, the sheriff's office says now is time to stop these illegal grows.


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