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Judge gives man three months jail, three years probation for illegal cannabis grows

A 71-year-old man was sentenced this week in connection with a large marijuana grow discovered last year at his home in Monterey County. Arthur Bright Jr. received a three-year probation sentence and was ordered to serve 90 days in jail, Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni said Friday.

State Fish and Wildlife officials spotted the illegal grow, consisting of more than 500 plants, from the air in June 2018. A search warrant was executed at Bright’s home on Carmel Valley Road and three separate grows were found.

Bright told authorities he was growing medical marijuana for himself but the cannabis found at the home far exceeded the amount allowed. The operation was drawing water from a stream via gas generator and authorities were concerned because the streams in the area flow into the Arroyo Seco, which in turn feed the Salinas River, a designated critical habitat for Steelhead trout.

Commercial cannabis cultivation is highly regulated, and that includes obtaining permission from the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Board to ensure operations don’t impact ground and surface water. Bright had not enrolled his operation with the Water Quality Board, prosecutors said. Permits are also required if someone intends to divert or obstruct the natural flow of water or alter any streambed. Monterey County requires those growing over six plants, even if approved by a physician, to register with the county. Anyone with questions should visit the Monterey County Cannabis Website.

Anyone aware of an illegal cannabis activity is encouraged to call 1-833-WEED-TIP (1-833-933- 3847).

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