SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory - High Wind Watch - Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Sheriff lobbies for renewed marijuana 'emergency' declaration in Siskiyou County

Cracking down on illegal marijuana grows throughout Siskiyou County has become a major initiative for the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office.

Posted: Jan 7, 2020 2:59 PM
Updated: Jan 7, 2020 6:15 PM

YREKA, Calif. — Sheriff Jon Lopey spoke at the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday morning, advocating for a renewed declaration of emergency as law enforcement continues to struggle with proliferating illegal marijuana grows.

Though the state of California legalized the use, sale, and growth of cannabis, Siskiyou County has maintained local ordinances that make the commercial cultivation of cannabis — medical or recreational — illegal throughout the county. Residents are allowed to grow indoors only the 6 or 12 plants allotted for individuals for recreational or medical purposes, respectively.

Nonetheless, Siskiyou County remains an incredibly popular spot for large marijuana grow sites — all of them illegal under the county ordinance, with product inevitably bound for black market sale.

"Intelligence is telling us that most of this marijuana is being transported out of state to be sold in other states and other communities. So we're taking it very seriously," Lopey told NewsWatch 12 during a marijuana bust last July.

According to Sheriff Lopey, law enforcement seized and destroyed almost 62,000 marijuana plants in 2019 alone — more than double the amount seized in 2018 — in addition to almost 18,000 pounds of processed marijuana. The value of those plants, based on "East Coast retail" prices, would have been worth hundreds of millions in dollars.

These black market grow busts have resulted in more than 70 arrests, citations, or pending cases over the past year.

Lopey has long argued that the black market grow sites go hand-in-hand with other dangerous and illegal activities, including use or sale of harder drugs and a harmful level of squalor.


READ: Sheriff's Office identifies two women murdered near Siskiyou County town of Dorris


"A lot of the sites not only do they have illegal marijuana, but there are a lot of quality of life issues," Lopey told NewsWatch 12 in July. "I haven't seen the illicit drug use and addiction this bad since I first got into law enforcement in the '70s."

Siskiyou County has been under a local state of emergency for illegal marijuana every year since 2017, but pleas to have the Governor's Office make a similar declaration have fallen on deaf ears for just as long.

With Tuesday's meeting, the County is once again asking Governor Newsom to follow its lead. With an official state of emergency declaration from the Governor, Siskiyou County would become eligible for additional public safety resources and funding — helping them recover from what they call an "ongoing disaster."

"It's no different than a raging forest fire," Lopey said on Tuesday. "The marijuana is creating overwhelming and catastrophic health-related issues, social issues . . . certainly it's straining the justice system, because crime is associated with it, and it's a big danger to our environment."

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, at least, signalled its total agreement with Sheriff Lopey's assessment, extending the local state of emergency through 2020.

According to the Sheriff's Office, there are still an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 illegal marijuana cultivation sites operating within the county.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 352026

Reported Deaths: 4185
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55306692
Washington38321316
Marion36352445
Clackamas29350304
Lane27309299
Jackson22783304
Deschutes19886124
Umatilla14286144
Linn12617120
Douglas11918241
Josephine9292195
Yamhill8584111
Klamath7765111
Polk719680
Malheur552774
Benton537630
Coos492593
Columbia375743
Jefferson366351
Union316247
Lincoln313338
Wasco282640
Crook277646
Clatsop240729
Baker199228
Tillamook194929
Hood River190137
Morrow183023
Curry178723
Harney110225
Grant98012
Lake89711
Wallowa67312
Gilliam1494
Sherman1463
Wheeler1031
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4825708

Reported Deaths: 70829
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147768626443
Riverside3704095008
San Diego3649124169
San Bernardino3574215597
Orange3234075528
Sacramento1584372283
Fresno1451192063
Santa Clara1450041895
Kern1449141615
Alameda1202831381
San Joaquin1022501721
Ventura1008011165
Contra Costa99612995
Stanislaus856421319
Tulare79513958
San Francisco54220644
San Mateo53970622
Monterey50772583
Solano45898340
Santa Barbara45005522
Merced42047579
Sonoma40822402
Placer39118420
Imperial35794764
Kings32587315
San Luis Obispo29797331
Madera23680281
Butte23649265
Shasta23544341
Santa Cruz20928218
Yolo20240248
Marin17644243
El Dorado17083149
Sutter13847172
Napa12855100
Yuba1000882
Tehama9406107
Humboldt9171108
Nevada909490
Mendocino757686
Lassen749946
San Benito741372
Tuolumne680893
Lake6565104
Amador540364
Siskiyou445842
Glenn433632
Calaveras385180
Del Norte357141
Colusa302818
Inyo203540
Mono16565
Plumas16046
Mariposa130815
Trinity86711
Modoc6758
Unassigned1820
Sierra1810
Alpine1030
Out of CA00
Medford
Partly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 38°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 48°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 38°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 38°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 33°
Winds pick up Tuesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events