A hemp farm converted to a marijuana cultivation site was raided northwest of San Jacinto, where over 30,000 cannabis plants were seized, authorities said Tuesday.
Personnel from the Riverside County Cannabis Regulation Task Force, including District Attorney’s Office investigators, Corona, Hemet and Riverside police officers, as well as sheriffs deputies, conducted the raid at the end of last week in the 18700 block of Bridge Street, near Mystic Lake.
DA’s Office spokesman John Hall said 124 greenhouses on the property were being used to cultivate marijuana, resulting in the confiscation of more than 34,000 plants and 4,600 pounds of processed weed.
No one was arrested. However, the person who had received county permits for hemp cultivation at the site was contacted during a separate search warrant served at a residence in Temecula. That person was not identified, and the investigation is ongoing.
“The plants were removed and seized for destruction,” Hall said.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved a Hemp Activities Ordinance in 2020, establishing guidelines and restrictions for cultivation of the product. More than 100 hemp farms had been authorized throughout the county prior to approval of the ordinance, and most of those were “grandfathered” into the permitting scheme, allowing them to continue to operate for specified periods before requiring new applications to be filed with the county Transportation & Land Management Agency.
The main difference between hemp and unadulterated marijuana is the tetrahydrocannabinol — or THC — content. Hemp leaves have about 0.3% of the compounds contained in cannabis leaves, according to the Office of County Counsel.
Unlike cannabis, hemp is not federally designated as a controlled substance, and production is permitted on Native American lands, under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians began permitting hemp grows near Mountain Center in January 2020.