Marijuana Grower Sues Sheriff Over Raid, Pizza Party

( – California marijuana farmer Preston McCormick filed a lawsuit against the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office for an alleged illegal raid back in December 2022. McCormick’s lawsuit contains one accusation that has unsurprisingly caught the attention of the media. His attorneys argue that the officers threw a pizza party at the McCormick farm to celebrate the successful raid, noting that 75 pizza boxes were found on the property.

The lawsuit also details how McCormick carefully researched and verified that he was legally entitled to build his marijuana farm on tribal land. The Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe worked with McCormick on his venture, establishing a Cannabis Control Commission to regulate the industry on the tribal land.

Just one month before the raid, McCormick saw a news report about another marijuana farm on tribal land that was raided by the sheriff’s office. He proactively visited the sheriff’s office to prove that his farm was legally established. Nonetheless, McCormick was awoken by a pre-dawn raid at his farm on December 7, 2022. According to the lawsuit, a full-on SWAT team surrounded McCormick’s home and forced him to come outside and walk backward with his hands up in the air. He was then instructed to lie on the ground and was subsequently arrested. Tribe members told the sheriff’s office that they did not have authorization to make arrests on their land but said that officers told them that “they didn’t know what they were talking about.”

The lawsuit also alleges that the SWAT team destroyed McCormick’s property and marijuana plants during the raid. It also accused the sheriff’s office of seizing $300,000 in cash from a tribal-owned safe. The lawsuit notes that McCormick’s family home was destroyed by fire on January 8, 2023, just one month after the raid. The sheriff’s office previously ordered the electricity and water to be shut off at the property. McCormick requested a jury trial and is seeking $10 million in damages stemming from the raid.

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