Back in April 2020, Apothio sued the County of Kern and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, alleging that in October 2019, state and county law enforcement agents entered its farm fields and ordered the destruction of 500 acres of hemp crops worth approximately $1 billion. Apothio claims the agencies’ search warrant was defective because it included an incorrect description of Apothio’s principal, Trent Jones, the acreage grown, and because it ignored Apothio’s status as a research entity under California law. Most recently, the defendant agencies filed motions to dismiss Apothio’s case is in its entirety because its crops constitute contraband under federal law, and Apothio can not have a property interest in such contraband.
While the civil case commenced, Mr. Jones was then arraigned for criminal misdemeanor charges for the illegal cultivation and sale of marijuana (based on the facts of this case) in October 2020. Based on this development, the defendant agencies filed for a motion to stay discovery (essentially, pause discovery) in the case pending (1) completion of the criminal investigation of Mr. Jones, or (2) at least a decision on the motions to dismiss.
For everyone’s benefit, the Court issued a lengthy opinion breaking down