Cannabis growers in Calaveras County feel like they have a target on their back. The county planning department released all the names and addresses of growers who applied for a growing permit.
The county went through a rigorous permitting process this summer to allow legal cultivation of medical marijuana. Around a thousand people paid tens of thousands of dollars to apply for permits.
Planning director Peter Maurer says the county had no choice but to release the names.
“It’s called Public Records Act and agencies have to provide records that we have to the public," Maurer said. "We redacted the sensitive information and medical as well as personal identification then released it to the public and the media that requested it.”
The public information was posted in the local newspaper. Many cannabis applicants now fear they will fall victim to theft or an invasion of privacy.
“We were robbed a few days ago. It was actually scary because they had guns and we don’t have weapons,” said cannabis grower Kurt Von Putekammer. This is the first year he’s grown at this remote Calaveras County location. Over the weekend, thieves targeted his harvest.
Von Putekammer managed to recover some of his harvest. He doesn’t know who the thieve are but he thinks the timing of the theft is suspicious. Kurt –
“This isn’t coincidental," Von Putekammer said. "Three days after the names were released we were hit.”
Von Putekammer said he has increased security at his farm. Now full time staff camps at the grow, cameras are hidden in the trees and a he installed a high powered lighting system.
“You know what? A lots of growers feel like we have a target on our backs.” Von Poutekammer said.
Kurt lost 30 plants in the theft. He says that’s about a $40,000. More importantly Kurt feels like he has lost his sense of safety and privacy.
“Permits were supposed to protect us," Von Putekammer said. "I don’t feel protected.”
Calaveras County says the only way to stop the release of these names is to petition through the state. For right now other county’s going through the cannabis cultivation permitting process will have to hand over this information to the public.