Tulare County Sheriff's office continues fight against large illegal pot grows

The smell in a Tulare County neighborhood wasn't coming from the nearby dump.

It was the strong aroma of marijuana, and along with the suspicious traffic in the area, neighbors started complaining.

On Thursday, the Tulare County Sheriff's Office and Resource Management Agency acted on those complaints, serving three civil abatement warrants, seizing 1,300 pounds of partially processed pot, and 3,200 plants.

They also found two stolen guns.

Wes Hardin is the co-manager of a legal marijuana operation in Woodlake, Valley Pure dispensary.

He says enforcement efforts like the one near Lindsay increase public safety and access to safe cannabis.

"So when you eradicate untested or unsafe product, it just serves the whole community," Hardin said. "And the second reason is we get to see our tax dollars at work, right? We all agreed to Prop 64 and we all agreed to what percentage of the tax money generated would go to enforcement, education, all these programs that are important to us."

It's been nearly two years since recreational marijuana became legal in California, and Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux says his department continues to deal with black market operations and drug trafficking organizations that grow marijuana illegally, causing a danger to both the environment and the public.

From the foothills to Ivanhoe, the sheriff's office has pulled and destroyed thousands of plants from illegal grows sites in just the past couple of months.

"...for those who are operating illegally and violating the law we must enforce that law for the safety of those in the community," the sheriff said in a statement.

"And it stabilizes the market," Hardin said. "It makes it easier to compete from a business perspective, which is where we all want this to go, right? We all want this to be a legitimate front-page market. So when you eradicate the unstable parts of it, it just again, serves the community as a whole."
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