Last Friday, Apothio LLC filed a billion-dollar federal lawsuit accusing Kern County and its Sheriff’s Office of civil rights violations in their seizure of Apothio hemp plants for what the company claims was unscientific testing followed by withholding of information from the public about the plants’ destruction.
- On Oct. 25, the 58-page suit alleges, county deputies destroyed Apothio hemp plants as part of its bulldozing of 500 illegal marijuana grows in the Arvin area. The company is described as an agricultural research organization working with Santa Monica-based Rand Corp., Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest and the Kern Community College District.
- Apothio says it kept Kern’s agricultural commissioner, planning director, and officials from the community college district in the loop on their activities and that none objected to their plans. On Oct. 25, deputies arrived in “full tactical gear” and destroyed plants that Apothio says would have become medicine to treat seizures.
- Named in the suit are Kern County, its Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Donny Youngblood, KCSO Sgt. Joshua Nicholson, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and CDFW Director Charles Bonham.