Growing marijuana can be a treacherous business. While pot patches are about as common in NoCal as coals are in Newcastle, it’s not quite like producing other cash crops. You don’t see too many people pulling over to pilfer ears of corn by the side of the road in Iowa or wheat in Kansas. But locoweed seems to have a rather more devoted following. A grower has got to keep a close eye on things if he doesn’t want to suffer, um, chronic problems with inventory shrinkage. And that may have been all Dan Garrison was trying to do last October when a Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department officer was called to his home in – wait for it – Weed, California responding to reports of shots fired.
Garrison claimed at the time that he’d been taking incoming rounds from pot rustlers and was just returning fire. But as reported by mtshastanews.com, deputies testified on Thursday that no real evidence of meg marauders was found.
According to (Sgt. Karl) Houtman, when he arrived at the scene at dusk, Garrison’s wife approached him. “She told me that people were shooting at her husband, and that he was shooting back,” said Houtman.
He stated that she pointed out a bullet hole at her home.
“It looked to me like a knothole. There was paint in it,” said Houtman.
Garrison was hit with a felony charge of discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner given that there are plenty of neighbors nearby. Superior Court Judge Donald Langford presided at the hearing.
Langford pointed out that Garrison does not have a criminal record. “This is an interesting case. This is somewhat strange,” said Langford.
He commented, “Any time a firearm is discharged in a residential area, it is a danger to everyone in the neighborhood.”
What the jurist didn’t find at all interesting, apparently, was the fact that Garrison was growing weed in Weed. And yes, it really is still a crime in California. According to the Dona Juanita devotees at canorml.org who really oughta know,
Cultivation of any amount of marijuana is a felony under Health and Safety Code 11358. People who grow for personal use are eligible for diversion under Penal Code 1000 so long as there is no evidence of intent to sell. There are no fixed plant number limits to personal use cultivation.
Since Langford concluded that there wasn’t any evidence that Garrison wasn’t really aiming at anyone in particular, he reduced the charge to a misdemeanor and commented, “There are more questions unanswered than answered.” Ya think, yer honor?
Garrison’s attorney wanted to enter a plea on his client’s behalf (the accused wasn’t present for the hearing, no doubt waiting at home for an urgent Domino’s delivery) and indicated he’d request a sentence of three years of probation for the misdemeanor charge. Judge Langford averred that while it’s awfully nit-picky, he thought the defendant really should be present when the plea is entered and he passes judgement. Stay tuned.