Pubdate: Thu, 24 Sep 2015
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2015 Los Angeles Times
Author: Joseph Serna


A Pinoleville Pomo Nation Official Asserts the Cannabis Plants Are 
'Perfectly Legal.'

A Native American tribe's plans to harvest and distribute medical 
marijuana in Ukiah was nipped in the bud this week when Mendocino 
County sheriff 's deputies seized hundreds of plants at two 
properties, officials said Wednesday.

Days after deputies investigating an activated burglar alarm found a 
group of people loading marijuana from the Pinoleville Pomo Nation 
tribal lands into a building about a mile away, investigators 
executed two search warrants and seized hundreds of plants.

Authorities say when they searched a building Tuesday on North State 
Street, about a mile from the tribe's rancheria, they found the 
makings of a honey oil chemical-extraction lab, which could produce a 
highly concentrated form of cannabis. They also found more than 100 
pounds of trimmed and processed marijuana, the sheriff's office said.

Authorities serving a warrant at the 99-acre rancheria down the road 
found 382 marijuana plants and more that had been harvested. No one 
was on either property at the time, so no arrests were made, authorities said.

The discovery came as no surprise to deputies, who had been 
investigating the tribe's lands for months.

"It's just an overzealous sheriff," said Mike Canales, president of 
the tribe's business board, which oversees its economic development. 
"Everything is perfectly legal what we were doing."

According to a statement from the Sheriff 's Office, authorities 
learned the tribe was going to grow marijuana, discussed the tribe's 
plans with its representatives, then began conducting aerial 
surveillance. Over two months, authorities determined about 400 
plants were being grown on the land, the Sheriff's Office said.

Tuesday's crackdown was based on state marijuana cultivation and 
possession laws and a narcotics lab violation, officials said.

In March, The Times interviewed the chief executive of a Kansas-based 
company that claimed to help Native American tribes develop 
for-profit ventures.

FoxBarry President Barry Brautman said that the tribe was "exercising 
its sovereign right" to grow marijuana and that it planned to set 
aside 2.5 acres of land to grow hundreds of plants and house them in 
a 90,000-square-foot greenhouse.

Mendocino County's legal limit is 25 plants per lot.

Last month, the Pinoleville Pomo Nation suspended its activities with 
FoxBarry, Canales said. A visit to the FoxBarry website turns up an 
"under construction" page, and a call to a number listed for the 
company on a cached version of its website directs callers to a 
different company.

A woman who answered the phone at that number said FoxBarry was 
having financial troubles and no longer was a part of that office. 
Brautman did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom