Ask A Cop: My Neighbors Are Growing Marijuana

Have a question for the Sheriff's Office? Let us know.

Is there anything you have ever wanted to know from the police department? Well, this is your chance to ask. 

Patch has always strived to bring its readers all types of information and keep them updated on what is happening in their communities. It is with that in mind that we bring you our newest column, “Ask A Cop.” We will be teaming up with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies from around the county to answer your questions.

Whether you have a question about certain laws and how they might affect you, your family or friends or how to stay safe in certain situations, we want you to ask them. Every week we will run one question and answer. To submit a question, email Shannon.burkey@patch.com.


If you know of someone growing marijuana on their property/in their home, what is the best way to report it? Also, if they are selling it to minors, how do I report it without getting the teens in trouble?


If you know someone growing marijuana on their property either indoors or outdoors the best way to report it would be to contact the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction of that property. For properties in the unincorporated area of Santa Cruz it would be the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office, specifically the Narcotics Enforcement Team. If the subjects in question are selling the marijuana to minors then please tell the law enforcement officer this information along with any additional information.

Currently the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Enforcement Team does all of the marijuana cultivation investigations for the Sheriff’s Office. This is because of the current marijuana laws allowing for medical marijuana. Senate Bill 420, Proposition 215, the Attorney General Guidelines from 2008, the Santa Cruz County Code, and current case law, which is ever-changing regarding medical marijuana, provides us with the laws governing medical marijuana and how it can be cultivated, transported, transferred and consumed legally for personal use. The Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office aggressively investigates marijuana cases found to be outside the laws and guidelines mentioned above. 

— Sgt. Peter Hansen, Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office Narcotic Enforcement Team Sergeant

JustAFrigginPlantThatNeverKilledAnyone August 23, 2012 at 04:00 AM
What's the best way to report a neighbor making beer and selling it to minors?
Jennifer Squires August 23, 2012 at 04:12 AM
What if I make the beer but just drink it myself in the backyard, or maybe on the roof of my house. Will you let me be, justafreggin ... ?
randy August 23, 2012 at 01:59 PM
From Marijuuana to making booze LOL. Well I make all kinds of infused drinks. Berry Brandy, Cherry Brandy, Mango Tango Vodka, Blueberry Vodka, my version of Hot Damn Schnapps, Lemon Vodka, etc. Makes beautiful gifts to my friends. Is that gonna have my neighbors yapping. Who cares. As for Marijuana, I have mixed feelings on this. This has a lot of pros and cons http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/?gclid=CLvdz-7z_bECFWjhQgodoSgA_A A link in that article will take you to this "The United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has agreed to hear oral arguments on Oct. 16, 2012 in a lawsuit challenging the federal government's classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on July 8, 2011 denied an Oct. 9, 2002 petition by the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) to reschedule marijuana, prompting a lawsuit by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a medical marijuana advocacy organization."
Maria Grusauskas August 23, 2012 at 05:37 PM
What's the best way to report a neighbor who is making beer and not sharing it with the neighbors?
David H. Perez August 23, 2012 at 05:53 PM
No need to report them. I would just offer to make the bratwurst and fish and chips if they supply the beer. That should solve the problem.
Cathy P. August 23, 2012 at 05:55 PM
"Get a rope!" ;-))))))
randy August 23, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Maria.. as long as it isn't being sold, there isn't an issue. I share my brew with many friends. Gee, I may have to try making beer. Maybe wine. Branch out a little
Brian bean August 25, 2012 at 04:44 AM
I don't use tobacco or alcohol, I use weed. Which is decriminalized, if you didn't know that? Probably not. Most of you people know NOTHING about this miracle plant and need to research it YOURSELF. If you are 18 and under don't use it. It doesn't kill brain cells, doesn't cause cancer and certainly doesn't make you violent. Would you rather have a bunch of drunks walking around, breaking stuff and being obnoxious or a bunch of weed smokers lying around, laughing and not bothering anyone? Also, if weed makes you so ''worthless'' why is Barack Obama, who was a major pothead, not drunk, the president of our country? It's unbelievable how people actually believe what the government says. Legalize Marijuana and tax it and stop letting these mexican drug cartels get all this money.
Brian Bean August 25, 2012 at 04:51 AM
Alcohol was just proven to be MORE harmful than COCAINE and HEROIN. While Marijuana is equal with CAFFEINE, which young kids drink everyday. Yeahh people, lets keep a medicinal plant with very little harm illegal. Sounds good to me. It's so pathetic.
Brian Bean August 25, 2012 at 05:03 AM
http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/harm-study-puts-drink-ahead-of-cocaine-203800.html Here is the proof. Out of 19 illegal and legal substances tested, Alcohol was the 4th most harmful out of 19 and cannabis (marijuana) was the least harmful out of 19.
Trim The Fat August 26, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Sgt Hansen and his witch hunting crew are a sheer waste of county tax payers money. They look for low hanging fruit, i.e. small scale growers, who whether you want to admit it or not, are significant positive contributors to our local economy, instead of focusing on harder to catch, more criminal elements within our society. Santa Cruz County has a TERRIBLE meth problem, yet the Sheriff's department continues to waste valuable resources targeting marijuana farmers, and we are not talking about the cartels that destroy our forests and pollute our streams, the recent operation in which they visited ten sites and took down 3200 pounds, was a prime example of wasted resources. They had over 7 officers, joy-riding ATV's through the Santa Cruz mountains, harassing local farmers, who in their determination were "egregiously" out of compliance. There wasn't 3,200 pounds of weed, they are counting the stalk, the soil, and every piece they can to justify their waste of money. The reality is, that being compliant is arbitrary, there is a myriad of unclear guidelines to follow, and almost every marijuana grower that is not affiliated with a cartel does their best to stay in compliance. Many have consulted lawyers, and are good citizens who pay their taxes. The county continues to blow money on sending detectives into the sky to spy on tax payers, rather than going after the cartels that are growing on public lands, or targeting criminal gangs. Our schools need money, not these pigs.
april September 01, 2012 at 08:48 PM
we are in a simular situation, although i could care less who he sells to, but it was never disclosed to us that a "grow" was on the same property that we were renting. not only is he growing, he sells, has pitbull running around at night that get into our trash, fight with one dog and tries to mate with the other, has been aggressive with my daughter as well...we told the landlords and they say it's out of their hands! but admitted to knowing about it for yearS! i think it should of been disclosed to us or we wouldnt of moved in 4 months ago at all! my husband is on parole for growing and we do NOT need to be near that! the neighbor is overly aggressive when approached about anything! he even stands on his porch holding a shot gun every time we have company over! I'm tired of calling the sheriff, i'm tired calling the landlord, and i'm tired of dealing with animal control. the landlord is now hassling us about our trash since we chose to do monthly dump runs instead of trash service...yet the neighbor is full of trash and two gardens now! so i feel your pain and hope it goes well...i do know that if he wasnt selling (i hate the traffic and the people he sells to) and kept to himself including his dogs, we wouldnt have beef with him at all...live and let live
Eye B. Tender September 02, 2012 at 06:04 AM
The main reason why pot smokers might tend to try other drugs is that they have to break the law to get their pot. If everybody could just grow it right out in their front yard without worry, there would be no "gateway" from pot. And, here's the kicker: how much money does our perpetually poor mouthing government waste on bothering harmless gentle creative loving well read good citizen pot smokers? Most of these fascist anti pot warriors are also a major BIG GOVERNMENT defenders. Folks, they want big government because they have their own personal greedy reasons to want big government. Fighting the "evil" of pot is just another excuse for crooked politicians to borrow another trillion dollars worth of big government for these types of greedy pigs to swill around in.
19 years old from Atlanta, GA. Wake up for college every morning at 6:45 am, get out of school at 12:15 and work till 6 pm every night. Oh yeah did I forget to mention, I smoke weed everyday. I know it's a tragedy how extremely lethargic and lazy I am. I am such a danger to society! We can't wait for the baby boomers to die off... You all have been so successfully brainwashed you don't even realize it. Thankfully, a new generation is blossoming. One that is opposed to corruption and crooks in office. One that will not back down from its beliefs no matter who the opponent may be. The young people of this nation will reclaim what you all have successfully driven right into the ground. One day, America will be America again. Not the America that Nixon, Obama, Bush, and rosevelt have created. But the same America that Washington, Adams, Franklin, and Jefferson. BECAUSE WE THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF THIS NATION find these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,that we are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is our inalienable right to smoke marijuana because it is a naturally occurring plant. LASSEIZ-FAIRE! GOVERNMENT HANDS OFF
randy September 04, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Esoteric Knowledge September 08, 2012 at 04:30 AM
They should get in trouble?...For what?...For using a naturally occurring plant that was given to them as their birth right by God and Nature and don't obey the children of our society who desire to control others and force everyone to live just like they do because of the irrational hysterical fear of the unknown? No, you are wrong.
Esoteric Knowledge September 08, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Mary Smith, you are not God, nor is the government, none of you have authority of the plant species of this world, nor control over others do define what species interaction is allowed! Nothing about growing or using marijuana is bad or immoral, what is bad and immoral is people controlling other as if they are God, I'm talking about you!
Esoteric Knowledge September 08, 2012 at 04:36 AM
No one can illegalize a plant in the first place, the people taking your birth rights away from you are liars and theives.
Esoteric Knowledge September 08, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Why do we need to go to marijuana last? Why is marijuana not legitimate? Let's go to the dangerous phara drugs last! Growing a plant is not criminal. Taking your God given rights away and violating your civil rights by pretending to have the power to outlaw a naturally occurring species should be criminal.
Esoteric Knowledge September 08, 2012 at 04:44 AM
No Cathy - The substance of your opinion is what is judgemental, shallow and closed minded, it has nothing to do with popularity.
bobby oneill September 10, 2012 at 01:11 PM
If they are not old enough to have the privelages of an adult they cant be expected to undergo the same consequences, as far as societies all over the world go teens have been using alcohol, marijuana , and it has been a "normal" part of life, The more something like this is demonized the more it will "appear" that this person is or could ruin their life, US has the oldest drinking age and the highest number of alcoholics, most european countries teens start drinking around 14 15 and it becomes an integrated part of their life they're able to control and not be excessive with, this is not so often the case is the US, As someone who was recently in college, IM 26 I saw what happened to a lot of people who never drank in highschool when they got to college, they couldnt handle it, had no experience, would get too messed up, make an ass out of them selves, and usually become really excessive. AS for marijuana watch a person drink a bunch of alcohol and watch them smoke pot and see the difference in how they act, how aware they are of themselves, Im not afraid to say marijuana is not wrong, it has been theorized with strong evidence that it is natural human instinct to seek altered states of consciousness, people have been enjoying marijuana successfully and responsible for a long time before the US government spent money demonizing it, spreading lies and falsified info, and using money that could literally feed the world to stop 1 to 3 % of it from coming in, look up the rest
bobby oneill September 10, 2012 at 01:15 PM
only in a state where its a felony for possession of a little pot would it interfere with obtaining student loans, it is a shame, and it is also ignorant for to pair pot and psychedelics in the same category with other drugs
bobby oneill September 10, 2012 at 01:21 PM
This is to mary smith, I couldnt reply on hers, Yes I totally think its ok to smoke pot and drive, and I disagree with drinking and driving, I have been smoking since, 14 I am 26, all through high school and college, I smoked and drive, I did not find it to affect my driving, nor any of my peers driving at all, the one time I shamefully drank and drove at 18 it did affect my driving, by the way I have a clean driving record, and 1 accident in which some1 hit me and ran a stop sign. Interestingly enough, pot being a mild psychedelic many people including myself find themselves more aware and with quicker reaction time on pot. Would you say someone cant drink coffee and drive, thats a drug, a stimulant, it alters consciousness , pot doesnt blur vision, throw off balance, or affect depth perception like alcohol does making there alot less incidences with driving under pot compared to driving under influence of alcohol
bobby oneill September 10, 2012 at 01:29 PM
A dare cop told my friends little cousin pot kills people , lied to and scared the little guy, I believe, like many things that govt "study" contains falsified information and any study that has indicated otherwise has had information primarily withheld from the public, sure pot can have benefits at times when driving, or it could cause distractions, but it could be to the same extent as driving with the radio on a person is more likely to ....... they said LSD caused chromosone damage in 60's leading to deformed babies etc... come to find the amount of damage it caused to ones chromosones was less than that of sugar and caffeine.
bobby oneill September 10, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Your so right , this is what the problem is, the govt and its illegality of this has created those criminals and the criminal aspect of this. Since people have been using, cultivating and enjoying marijuana for thousands of years they are going to continue to do so, it exists and people enjoy, many much more than alcohol due to the ability to maintain control and no hangover, but as long as there is a demand there will be a supply, sure there is a demand for meth but it is manufactured chemically and really does turn people into criminals, as well as physically deteriorate their body, it used to be among our natural instinct to be able to indentify what we could and couldnt consume, the indigenous cultures used, and still do, pot and mushrooms, ahawayska, igobaine, etc. for spiritual and cultural and recreational purposes, unlike something man made, they did not become intoxicated and pass out, but helped develop a deeper understanding of themselves, spirit and their connection to the world they live in and the universe. I bet if there was a pile of meth their instinct wouldn't go for it, ... Dont trust anyone who doesnt, or didnt used to smoke pot and/or listen to bob dylan, also people who dont like dogs
bobby oneill September 10, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I agree 100%, it shouldnt even be opinionated, these are the facts when you look into them, but peoples perceptions have been manipulated by the govt. If they never were told anything about marijuana but it was discovered like 20 years ago and not officially acknowledged , people would have no problem with it. It is all the years of demonizing it and spreading falsified info and stories that has created this fear
Jn October 16, 2012 at 02:40 AM
It's too bad that the children of tomarrow will think they don't have to follow rules because of the children of today. I'm all for the law, and if the law say's no, then it shall be that. There are rules for many reasons. People make their own choices, and if ever the day come where you have made the choice to go against the law, no matter what age, then you shall be punished. One thing always leads to another. If your truly honestly think that pot is a normal everyday thing, you shouldn't have to justify it..... but it just isn't. I know many many people who smoke, and they are the less fortunate of the people I know. Sorry that it be said, but pot smoking has turned into a HUGE "FAD" over the past few years and the people smoking it are the only people wanting it legal.
Joan Koch February 06, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Amen on Jn's comment! In my family, the 3 pot smokers of the family all went on to harder drugs, became the least successful, and struggle every day to get their brain chemistry in the happy levels. What a waste! Why don't you pot smokers get your high from exercise or by volunteering to help the less fortunate. I will bet that most, not all of you, consider yourself "the less fortunate"? Ask yourself, " why is that"? How productive are you really when stoned?
Christopher K Odell February 06, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Joan, That's an extremely ignorant statement. Pot doesn't make people unproductive. People who already have that in their nature could have trouble with anything, weed just got there first. Myself and almost all of my friends enjoy smoking and we are talking about people running successful companies like myself. Guess what we all exercise too, and most of us volunteer time doing cleanups or helping feed the homeless. Take your judgemental trash talk and stuff it.
Steven E. Schieffer July 26, 2013 at 01:18 PM
O.K. folks, I gota toss my two pennies in. I am 61 years old. I am in good health. I have worked from 15 years old on until I retire this year! Yaahoo.I am a viet nam era vet, and a taxpaying son-of-a-gun. I have been a pot smoker from age 15 to now, and I still smoke. I have raised a family, and contributed to society all these years. I guess I am one of those lazy potheads huh? The time has passed when I let any person put down us pot smokers because of some pre-concieved notion that some right wing nutjob has instilled in them. We need to think for ourselves and make informed, intelligent decisions based on fact, not some pundits rant. Thanks folks.


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