Hmong farmers in Siskiyou County say they are being singled out as part of an effort by law enforcement to crack down on illegal marijuana operations.
In a report by television station KPIX in San Francisco, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department is pushing back against an explosion of marijuana operations that have taken root in the area over the past several years. Many of the pot farms are being run by Hmong, some who have moved from the Fresno area, law enforcement officials said.
Sheriff County Jon E. Lopey said many of the marijuana farmers are violating the county’s rules for cultivation that allows people to grow 12 medical cannabis plants in an approved indoor structure.
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Siskiyou County has become an attractive place for cultivating marijuana, largely because of affordable land prices.
Lopey told KPIX: “There is also mounting evidence of large-scale, organized crime efforts to finance the numerous illicit grow sites that have been observed or eradicated. The number of plants have typically ranged from 99 illegal plant to a high of 2,985 plants on single parcels.”
During a one-week period earlier this month, law enforcement seized more than 2,558 pounds of illegal cannabis plants and about 2,558 pounds of processed marijuana.
But supporters of the Hmong farmers say they feel the sheriff is singling them out. Mouying Lee told KPIX: “Sheriff Lopey is right here … Hmong are here. How many gardens are legal? So far, have you heard anything about the white (people’s) gardens being raided? No!”