The Anza Valley is a beautiful and idyllic sparsely populated locale nestled in the Santa Rosa Mountains 40 miles southwest of Palm Springs and 90 miles northeast of San Diego. Long a small agricultural community with an ideal climate and rural location, it has for many years been a mecca for cannabis cultivation. With the advent of Prop. 64, many of the growers there have sought to legitimize their endeavors through inclusion in Riverside County's newly developed commercial cultivation ordinance, but have been thwarted by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
Not letting a murder investigation that had begun in the area on Tuesday evening interfere, approximately 80 search warrants were served on cannabis cultivators on Wednesday, June 5. With a staging area established at the local Hamilton High School in the unincorporated town of Anza, over 600 personnel including deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff's office, Army National Guard, Code Enforcement and Animal Control and other public safety agencies swarmed over the rural area serving warrants, confiscating crops and arresting local residents
Presenting a fascinating history of cannabis cultivation in the Anza Valley and insights into a community divided, Edison Gomez, Jesse Carroll and Jacob Baird from the High Country Growers Association provide a first-hand account of the raid including why it happened, how the raid was conducted, who was affected and the how community is coming together to deal with its aftermath.