Authorities in Merced County Uproot 200 Acres of Mids Disguised as Hemp

The most recent cannabis related ordinance passed in Merced County, California completely shredded the previous local law that allowed residents to grow up to 12 pot plants outdoors on their own property.

Now, more in line with California’s Prop 64, residents are restricted to just 6 plants each, and in a head scratching failure of logic, they are now only allowed to grow them indoors, with all outdoor cannabis cultivation banned.

Local law enforcement and those in favor of the updated ordinance claim that outdoor cannabis gardens attract crime, and that six healthy plants grown indoors should be able to yield enough bud to satisfy even heavy smokers.

So when a Dos Palos rancher named Chad Crivelli approached the Merced County Sheriff’s office seeking approval for a large-scale hemp crop on the property, ears perked up in the slow-paced cop shop.

At the time, authorities advised Crivelli not to move forward with his hemp dream, claiming that they did not have the resources to monitor or regulate it.

Crivelli got busy anyway, planting out nearly 200 acres with what he says he believes were hemp seeds. Though hemp plants do bear a resemblance to cannabis plants to the untrained eye, it became obvious that Crivelli’s fields were sown with actual marijuana, not hemp.

The sheriff’s office soon had surveillance running on the farm and as the crop began to flourish, they were yanking at least four would-be thieves out of the fields, seizing firearms and allegedly hundreds of pounds of stolen weed, without Crivelli ever knowing.

On Monday of this week the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with federal agents from the DEA, served a federal search warrant on the illegal Central Valley grow op and what they found was pretty remarkable.

A sea of mids, as far as the eye could see, consisting of roughly 540,000 cannabis plants blanketing 194 acres of prime farmland.

Once authorities started busting rippers trying to escape the ranch with fresh buds, they took that evidence to a testing lab to determine exactly what Crivelli was growing.

As further evidence that we’re talking about some seriously mid-grade weed here, those test results revealed that Crivelli’s crop was testing out at 8x the legal THC limit of hemp.

photo courtesy of Merced County Sheriff's Office
photo courtesy of Merced County Sheriff's Office

Before you get too excited though, the legal THC limit for hemp plants is just .3%, so multiply that by 8 and you’re still dealing with some bottom of the barrel boof. But, the totals were too high even if the people smoking the stuff were not.

The local sheriff seems relatively sympathetic towards Crivelli who could face criminal cultivation charges, but may have truly been duped into planting the wrong seeds. You can only imagine the satisfaction that the sheriff got nabbing armed thieves trying to rob this illegal cannabis crop, as it only strengthened his prohibitionist stance against outdoor growing.

Whatever Crivelli’s intent really was, it has been chopped down and submitted as evidence of a crime, as well as evidence of the farmer’s high grade naiveté.

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