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$790,000 fine for illegal marijuana cultivation in Fairfield – The Vacaville Reporter

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The discovery of two illegal indoor marijuana grows in Fairfield recently cost violators $790,000 in fines thanks to a change in the city’s cannabis regulations.

In the early hours of March 11, police responded to a suspicious incident and possible burglary in the 200 block of Bell Avenue. In the vacant commercial building, officials found major damage to a roller door and a door that was ajar.

A search found multiple rooms containing more than 900 marijuana plants, police said, along with grow lights, illegal and exposed electrical wiring, modified plumbing, ventilation systems and unknown chemicals.

Early the next day, officers responded to the 3000 block of Dover Avenue for a report of an apartment burglary in which gunfire was exchanged. Officers found the front door broken, glass shattered and the door riddled with bullet holes.

Officers subsequently uncovered an illegal indoor grow facility that included more than 600 marijuana plants, firearms, carbon dioxide tanks, grow lights, illegal and exposed electrical wiring, ventilation systems, and unknown chemicals.

Numerous Fairfield agencies, including the Police Special Operations Team, Fire Department, Building Department and Code Enforcement Department, have joined forces to crack down on illegal cultivation.

The city ordinance, which regulates cannabis in private homes, was changed last month to impose an administrative penalty for violators. Fines are now approximately $500 per plant minus the first six plants allowed by law for personal use. Those named have 30 days to pay, officials said, or they could face additional daily fees per plant until the fine is paid.

The changed regulations provide a necessary deterrent to illegal cultivation, said Jeremy Profitt, police support manager, as such cultivation poses a security risk.

Unregulated cultivation significantly increases the risk of violent crime, he advised, citing the Dover Avenue shooting. They also pose fire and safety hazards due to the use of high wattage grow lights, poor electrical wiring, overloaded electrical systems, and more

There are also dangers associated with the dangerous chemicals used in cultivation, which can leach into the soil and, in turn, into water systems, Profitt said.

“Enough is enough in our neighborhoods,” he declared. “We don’t want our communities to have to deal with these security issues.”

He noted that the amended regulations do not interfere with anyone’s right to obtain and use cannabis under state law, or criminalize possession of cannabis.

https://www.thereporter.com/2022/03/18/790k-in-fines-levied-for-illegal-marijuana-grows-in-fairfield/ $790,000 fine for illegal marijuana cultivation in Fairfield – The Vacaville Reporter

Dais Johnston

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