Pubdate: Thu, 05 Apr 2012
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2012 Record Searchlight
Author: Jenny Espino


One of two Weaverville men arrested last week on suspicion of 
operating a large, indoor commercial marijuana growing operations is 
a board member of the Trinity Alps Unified School District.

Reached at his home Wednesday morning, Stephen James Hagen, 58, said 
he was embarrassed by his arrest but insisted his activities were 
"perfectly legal." He said he plans to stay on the school board but, 
on the advice of Supt. Ed Traverso, is taking a leave of absence.

"I was right upfront with the Trinity County sheriff about what I was 
doing, and now it looks like I'm in trouble," Hagen said. "But I am 
not a drug dealer or a pot head."

Trinity County Sheriff's deputies on Friday served a search warrant 
at Hagen's home and found he had converted a shop into a three-room grow house.

Noah Dale Eaker, 30, who was with Hagen, also was detained during the search.

Deputies seized more than 500 marijuana plants and a number of guns. 
They also served a warrant at Eaker's Weaverville home the next day 
and seized more guns and marijuana, Trinity County sheriff's 
spokeswoman Lynn Ward said.

Both men were arrested and were released from the Trinity County jail 
after posting $30,000 bail.

Hagen said he only started to grow marijuana a few months ago. He was 
using the plants to make a tincture that has been alleviating his 
back pain. He said he was not distributing the tincture, which he 
described as medicinal because it does not contain THC.

"You can buy the stuff in a health food store," he said.

Hagen was elected to the school board in 2009. His four-year term 
expires next November.

He also serves on the Shasta-Trinity Regional Occupational Program's board.

"I am an asset to the (school) board," he said. "I have accomplished 
some good things, and I care about the kids."

Traverso said school board members receive no compensation, except 
for mileage when they travel to a conference.
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