Calaveras Enterprise

Pot grower guilty of probation violation

Bill Roth Harrison, the 55-year-old Vallecito resident accused of growing more marijuana than local rules allow, was found guilty of probation violation during proceedings Friday in Department 1 of the Calaveras County Superior Court.

Judge John Martin found Harrison guilty of possession of live shotgun shells and of possessing marijuana, both violations of Harrison’s probation.

A criminal trial on charges of cultivation and possession has been postponed until after sentencing on the probation matter.

In January of 2000, Harrison was acquitted by a jury of felony cultivation of marijuana charges, although the panel did find him guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm and he was placed on probation.

The latest charges stem from a September, 2003, armed robbery at Harrison’s growing operation in Vallecito.

He and a friend were held at gunpoint while about a half-dozen thieves ripped up marijuana plants and threw them into a U-Haul truck.

The truck was recovered by authorities and the marijuana confiscated.

That case is still under investigation by the District Attorney’s Office, but it triggered a new inquiry into Harrison’s own operation.

Harrison says he has a doctor’s permit to grow and use marijuana for vertigo and pain under the state’s Proposition 215 law that allows the plant’s use for medical reasons.

But he was ordered to stand trial on charges of cultivating and possession of marijuana for sale after an April 5 preliminary hearing.

Authorities testified at that time that Harrison had more than two dozen plants in addition to processed marijuana totaling about 3.5 pounds.

County guidelines allow an individual to have six growing plants and two pounds of processed marijuana.

Because Harrison already was on felony probation, he was charged with violating the terms of the agreement.

While reading his decision Friday, Martin said there was testimony Harrison previously admitted to selling marijuana to a cannabis club without any evidence he was a primary care-giver for any of its members.

And the marijuana cultivated was an excessive amount, Martin said.

Martin referred Harrison to the county Probation Department for a supplemental report and sentencing on the parole violation is scheduled for 9 a.m. July 18.

Both prosecutor Dana Owens and defense attorney Alison Kaylor said the sentence could have a bearing on how they proceeded with the criminal complaint, and both asked that Harrison’s July 27 trial date be cancelled with a new day to be determined after the probation sentencing.

Contact Craig Koscho at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *