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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Pot Farmer Finds|Regulations a Bummer

EUREKA, Calif. (CN) - A Humboldt County marijuana farmer found with 99 lbs. of buds and 1,039 plants has been sued - for breaking environmental, fish and game and zoning regulations.

The Humboldt County District Attorney sued Courtney Fleming on Dec. 9, alleging unfair competition and violations of health, labor and environmental laws in his 1.25-acre marijuana farm.

It's not the marijuana - it's the way he did it.

The unfair competition charge stems from Fleming's alleged failure to seek permits.

First, Fleming cleared about 1.25 acres of timberland without a Timberland Conversion Permit or a license to engage in timber operations, according to the complaint in Humboldt County Court.

He built 15 greenhouses and other structures, including drying sheds and residential structures. He set up two 1,028-gallon fuel containers to power a 45 KW generator, a 5-gallon tank for waste oil, 1,700 gallons of liquid fertilizer and four 2,400-gallon water tanks with an electric system to mix water with the fertilizer, the DA says.

Then, allegedly without permits, he pumped water out of the Mad River to water his crops, endangering fish and other living things, and he built a toilet by digging a large hole in the ground, according to the complaint.

He filled a seasonal creek with soil and cut vegetation and pushed materials cleared off the property, into creeks, without following waste discharge requirements, the complaint states.

He had no hazardous materials business plan, nor a permit for the use of red dye diesel and liquid fertilizer, nor a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan for its fuel tanks, according to the complaint.

He failed to get a permit and an Environmental Protection Agency identification number for storing used motor oil, the prosecutor says.

None of his employees were covered by workers' compensation insurance, and no waste permit was pulled for the portable toilets, according to the complaint.

The D.A. seeks a permanent injunction, and a civil penalty of $2,500 for each violation.

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