County officials have determined a former California lieutenant governor was growing hemp on his property in San Luis Obispo County.
Code enforcement officers launched an investigation into the case after they were made aware that "lots of plants that appear to be cannabis" were possibly being grown on Abel Maldonado’s property.
San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building Department Director Trevor Keith says the determination was made after code enforcement staff in coordination with county counsel reviewed documentation regarding the plants and found county code had not been violated.
Maldonado released the following statement Thursday: "I am grateful that this case is closed, and that San Luis Obispo County officially recognizes my legal right to cultivate Industrial Hemp on my ranch in San Luis Obispo County. Furthermore, by resolving this matter so quickly San Luis Obispo County Code Enforcement acknowledges that at no time did Runway Farms or myself ever have an illegal 30-acre cannabis grow on my ranch as reported August 9th by local media outlets. The county staff member who falsely misrepresented that my industrial hemp crop as something other than hemp was 100 percent wrong."
Maldonado added, "I am a strong advocate for Industrial Hemp and all of its many commercial uses. In the near future, I plan to publicly share more about my passion for Industrial Hemp farming."
Maldonado served as a Santa Maria City Councilman and mayor in the 1990s and was later appointed and served as lieutenant Governor of California from 2010 to 2011.