Preliminary hearing set for controversial Winters marijuana case – Daily Democrat

A case involving cultivation and sales of cannabis surfaced again on Thursday as the Yolo Superior Court scheduled a Dec. 12 preliminary hearing.

After a Sept. 14 raid on their legal growing operation, Winters residents Ted Hicks and Ryan Mears were charged with felony conspiracy to commit sales of marijuana.

In January of this year, defendants Hicks and Mears pleaded not guilty to the charges, claiming they’re legally operated medical cannabis grow was wrongfully destroyed in the raid. Moreover, they contended that their collective, Big Red Farms, had all the proper licensure to grow and disperse marijuana.

The Yolo District Attorney’s Office later claimed that the collective was a front for black market sales, also suggesting Hicks and Mears sought to sell their cannabis for over $1 million.

Defendants face another misdemeanor of cultivating over six cannabis plants on their property. Based on previous figures, Hicks and Mears had planted 1,000 cannabis plants.

The case harbors complexities regarding legal grows and land use — cannabis laws will make room for recreational cannabis in January 2018.

This past January, Sacramento-based attorney Steve Plesser, who represents Hicks and Mears, said that policy change should make for a cut-and-dry defense.

“We think it’s embarrassing that word hasn’t gotten to law enforcement that voters have made this conduct (regarding cultivation) completely legal,” Plesser said previously.

During Thursday’s court appearance, Deputy District Attorney Michael Vroman said prosecutors would be calling on three witnesses, all law enforcement officers, for the December preliminary hearing.

Judge Dan Maguire said he estimated the hearing could take up to six hours, possibly spanning two court dates.

Contact Hans Peter at 530-406-6238.

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