A suspected pot-growing Van Nuys homeowner should be thanking the voters of California Sunday after firefighters found a marijuana growing operation as they battled a blaze at the residence.
The owner was issued only a misdemeanor citation when firefighters summoned police as they found 48 pot plants.
But if it hadn’t been for the passage of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, on last November’s ballot, the homeowner could have been facing a felony conviction and years behind bars.
Authorities said they believe the fire started due to overloading of electrical circuits in the process of growing the 48 marijuana plants.
The fire was reported about 11:40 a.m. Saturday in the 6300 block of North Langdon Avenue and was out 15 minutes after firefighters arrived, according to Amy Bastman of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
No injuries were reported.
The fire apparently started in a carport that was attached to a subdivided garage in which firefighters found a suspected marijuana grow, Bastman said.
“They felt the cause of the fire was extensive energy draw overloading the circuits,” said Sgt. Michael Goldberg of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Van Nuys Station.
Narcotics officers responded and seized some 48 marijuana plants, which exceeded the limit of six now allowed by law, Goldberg said.
The owner was cited with a misdemeanor for growing in excess of six plants in a residential area, he said.
“The law has changed dramatically within the last six months,” Goldberg noted. The owner could have faced felony charges before voters legalized marijuana use in November with passage of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act by a margin of about 57 to 43 percent.
In addition to allowing cultivation of up to six marijuana plants, the new law also legalizes possession and use of up to one ounce of pot.
— City News Service
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