On New Year’s Day, firefighters in Santa Clarita received a call about a brush fire located in Placerita Canyon, near Sand Canyon Road in Canyon Country. When they arrived, firefighters didn’t see any signs of a fire, but when they went to investigate, they discovered a large marijuana growing operation. Investigators reported that people were seen fleeing the area when firefighters arrived, but everyone was gone by the time law enforcement doubled back to the parking area.
Firefighters later claimed that they didn’t see any signs of a fire, but they did discover what appeared to be a campsite. Soon after, they turned the investigation over to detectives working out of the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station.
If anyone is arrested in connection with the pot growing operation, it is likely that they will be charged with violating California Health and Safety Code 11358 HS, California’s marijuana cultivation law. Under the law, anyone who is suspected of planting, cultivating, drying, harvesting, or processing any amount of marijuana or the marijuana plant can be charged. Those who are able to legally use medical marijuana, or are the primary caregiver of someone legally allowed to use medical marijuana may get a pass.
In order to be charged with violating HS 11358, an individual does not need to be present when the marijuana cultivation is discovered. To be charged, an individual needs only to have participated in some way in the cultivation, own the land the pot is being grown or processed on, or simply know that it’s there.
Cultivating marijuana is a felony in the State of California, and the penalties include 16-months to 3-years in jail. Those who are first-time or second-time offenders, though, may be eligible for drug treatment instead of jail, if the defendant is a non-violent offender and if it is deemed that the marijuana cultivation was for personal-use only.