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Sacramento cracking down on illegal marijuana grow houses

City of Sacramento institutes steeper fines and enforcement to push cannabis cultivation out of residential neighborhoods and toward a legal operation

October 16, 2017

Illegal Marijuana Grow House image 2There are between 800 and 1,000 residential homes in the City of Sacramento that have been converted into sophisticated cultivation operations, as seen at 7500 Collingwood Street today.

This morning, police executed a criminal search warrant at the residence, imposed a penalty of $239,000, arrested two occupants in the home and confiscated nearly 500 plants. 

The City’s Justice for Neighbors program is sending a strong message to illegal cultivators: Get legal. 

“The City has experienced violent and tragic secondary impacts involving home invasion robberies, gun violence, and homicides.  The scale of the illegal grow houses and the fire danger they present to adjacent homes is creating a substantial threat to the health and safety of City neighborhoods,” said Gustavo Martinez, Supervising Deputy City Attorney. 

“The City has provided legal pathways to join the cannabis industry in cultivation, manufacturing, testing and delivery,” said Joe Devlin, manager of the City of Sacramento Office of Cannabis Policy and Enforcement. “We are working as a united front to stop the illegal activities and encourage safe legal access to cannabis.” 

The City is cracking down through all legal means including drug abatement lawsuits, receivership actions, administrative inspection and criminal search warrants, boarding up converted grow houses, cutting off electrical power, and imposing substantial monetary penalties on property owners.  On top of these civil remedies the Police Department is referring criminal cases to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

As of Sept. 28, 2017, it’s illegal to grow more than six plants inside a residential home. Cannabis must be grown indoors and must not generate an odor that can be detected outside the home or by neighbors. 

Growing more than six plants can result in fines up to $500 per plant. Fines can total $100,000+ dollars per house. 

Illegal Marijuana Grow House image 1 Illegal Marijuana Grow House image 3
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Since Sept. 28, 2017, police have executed two criminal search warrants, and destroyed about 1600 plants. About 50 lights and ballasts have been seized, and total administrative penalties of more than $800,000 have been imposed. Some 800 warning letters have been sent to property owners and more than half of those notified have complied and addressed the grow house at their residence.

For more information about the limits and requirements for residential cultivation and the state and local permits required for commercial cannabis cultivation and manufacturing please visit the Cannabis Information website.

About Justice For Neighbors 

The program focuses on fighting the most corrosive social and criminal nuisances that degrade the quality of life in the City’s neighborhoods.  Operating under the “broken windows” theory, JFN’s aim is to identify, prioritize, and address these criminal problems before they grow into more serious offenses that can lead to urban decay in our communities. The JFN team understands that the ability to respond to neighborhood complaints and address criminal problems proactively is critical to improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods.


Linda Tucker, Media & Communications Officer, 916-808-7523, LTucker@cityofsacramento.org