A former Salinas, California licensed cannabis cultivator has settled with the county District Attorney’s Office for $1.1 million for growing with an expired license, exceeding maximum canopy for their license, and removing plants from the grow site “in the middle of the night,” according to a press release from the Monterey County DA’s Office.
The case against California’s Top Shelf and California’s Top Shelf Family stems from a September 2018 site inspection by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife – due to the farm’s location near a wildlife habitat near the banks of a waterway – which found violations of Fish and Game Code. Upon further inspection, officials found the company’s cannabis license had expired the previous month and that the grow had exceeded their 10,000-square-foot allowance.
Law enforcement officials advised the company to cease operations and not remove any of the plants; however, officers found employees moving the plants to another location in the middle of the night which forced the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Fish and Wildlife to use extra resources to immediately eradicate the operation.
Under the settlement, the company did not admit to any wrongdoing but was ordered to pay $1.1 million in civil penalties and another $100,000 to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and nearly another $100,000 to the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, the Resource Management Agency, and the Fish and Wildlife Department.
The settlement also imposes a permanent injunction on the business owners from cultivating without a license.
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