Nearly 1,600 marijuana plants seized from 4 illegal home-based grow operations in California

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. — It may be legal to consume and even cultivate marijuana in California, but there are limits.

Fountain Valley police confirmed Tuesday that they seized more than 1,600 illegal marijuana plants from four rental properties that had been converted into large-scale cultivation operations, The Orange County Register reported.

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According to the Daily Pilot, 2016′s Proposition 64 did, in fact, grant Californians recreational pot usage and greenlit grow operations, but state law limits the number of plants an individual over the age of 18 can possess to six.

While some California cities allow for a designated number of marijuana plants to be grown at a residence for personal use, Fountain Valley does not allow any type of cultivation, and in 2015 banned all cultivation and delivery in the city, the OC Register reported.

Meanwhile, the three people arrested in connection to the cultivation operation are also accused of altering utilities and of felony theft of electrical services, totaling more than half a million dollars. Specifically, police said that they discovered each residence had an electrical bypass in place that allowed for about $134,000 in electrical services to be stolen from Southern California Edison, the Daily Pilot reported.

Fountain Valley Sgt. Robert Cortes told the OC Register that neighbors and landlords tipped investigators off to unusual activity at the four single-family homes, prompting the execution of search warrants on the properties from July to October.

“They pretty much destroy houses. They’ll put holes in the wall to put in vents and things of that nature, so they’ll convert the whole house, every room will be designated for plants. It’s a pretty good amount of damage for the homeowner,” Cortes told the newspaper.

All three suspects arrested are in their 30s, but their identities have not been made public, and there is no indication that the operations were connected, Cortes said, noting that the plant volume per house ranged from 300 to 700.