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Benicia Cops Bust Grow House

Police in the Bay Area uncovered more than $3 million in marijuana plants and processed weed in late January.

crime handcuffsLocal police and Solano County sheriff’s deputies raided a home in Benicia Jan. 26, acting on a tip. They found about 30 pounds of processed weed and more than 800 growing cannabis plants, police said.

The case started when Benicia Police Officer Armondo Sanchez was tipped off to alleged drug activity in the neighborhood. The tipster said cannabis farmers were growing plants inside a house and stealing electricity to fuel their garden.

Sanchez then traced the tip to a home on East Second Street in Benicia. Pacific Gas & Electric had evidence electricity was being stolen from the home, police said. People who operate illegal grow houses frequently jury-rig the wiring so they can bypass meters and syphon off large amounts of power.

This can be an effective way to avoid detection by power companies, but it’s a recipe for fire and a hazard to people working in the house – not to mention the neighbors.

marijuana plants growingOnce Sanchez identified the home, he called in the sheriff’s Narcotics Enforcement Team to serve a warrant. Sheriff’s deputies said they didn’t find anyone at the site but uncovered a complex grow system.

Pot plants were found growing throughout the house, police said, with separate rooms set aside for different growth stages. Another room was used to dry the product, police said.

This is a relatively small bust for California, where weed raids have been known to net more than $1 billion worth of marijuana. Unfortunately, it’s still another example of money wasted on the drug war.

It’s not a good thing to have home growers who turn their houses into farms and monkey with the electricity. But we wouldn’t have such problems if weed were legal in the first place.

With state regulation, California could control who grows cannabis, who processes it, who sells it, and who buys it. There would be no more need for dangerous home grows or unregulated pesticides or neighborhood nuisances.

About Matt Brooks

Based in San Francisco, Matt is a journalist who has specialized in marijuana policy for more than five years. He provides regular news coverage on and

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