Nipomo nursery growing 52,000 marijuana plants

October 18, 2016

Cameras and chain-link fences topped with barbed wire strands protect Clearwater Nursery.


Almost a dozen deputies served a search warrant at the Clearwater Nursery in Nipomo last month and discovered approximately 52,000 marijuana plants worth about $104 million at $2,000 a plant. Nevertheless, nursery staff provided the deputies with the names of their medical marijuana clients, and the deputies left, county officials said.

The Sept. 28 search uncovered the largest marijuana grow known to law enforcement in San Luis Obispo County since a number of out of area growers began setting up local pot enterprises. While the investigation into the former Clearwater Nursery is ongoing, the grower provided many of the same client names seen at other grows, sheriff’s spokesperson Tony Cipolla said in an email.

“There is nothing that prevents people from having prescriptions at multiple locations, and there’s nothing that prevents collectives from purchasing from multiple growers,” Cipolla wrote. “Our understanding is that practice will not be allowed with new state regulations on medicinal marijuana that go into effect in Jan. 2018.”

Even so, in November, Californians will vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults. Proposition 64 also allows the state to develop controls over the cultivation, manufacture and sale of marijuana and local control over where marijuana businesses are permitted.

In Nipomo, greenhouses are plentiful. Historically, they have been filled with floral and nursery crops.

At the Clearwater Nursery, cameras watch visitors as they approach. The nursery is surrounded by tall chain-link fences topped with strands of barbed wire hinting at the valuable crop growing inside the long rows of greenhouses.

The Clearwater Nursery entry warns possible trespassers “don’t try it.”

While some staffers at neighboring nurseries complain about the noxious skunk like smell Clearwater Nursery now emits, others look at the high value of marijuana plants.

In anticipation of Proposition 64 passing, the county is working on a permanent marijuana ordinance. Currently, local officials are split on whether they support large marijuana grows because of the financial benefits or oppose large pot farms because of environmental and crime concerns.

Early next year, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors is slated to vote on a permanent marijuana ordinance.



  1. Russ J says:

    Just legalize it all. Meth, Crack, Smack. Who gives a sh*t anymore? Darwin’s theory of natural selection should be allowed to flourish.

    (8) 18 Total Votes - 13 up - 5 down
    • SLOBIRD says:

      What a screwed up society we have become not to mention the corruption. This is all about money and power and so the corruption is underway.

      Be prepared for increased crime (people need money to buy), increase auto insurance which has already happened in Washington and Colorado States due to the increase in auto accidents, increase burden put on our Law Enforcement personnel (more will be needed) and the medical costs all at the expense of the hardworking taxpayers.

      Enjoy your weed!

      (-4) 14 Total Votes - 5 up - 9 down
  2. CentralcoastRN says:

    The authorities took the names of their medical marijuana clients? Disgusting.

    It is NONE of the police’s business how individual citizens treat their MD verified medical conditions.

    I’m telling you from professional experience, medical marijuana is a LOT better option than the millions of people taking Xanax, Ativan, Valium, and opioids every day and then DRIVING around our roads. People are strung out on methamphetamines and heroin, and Rx drugs are quite a nice gateway.

    Studies are actually showing that marijuana is NOT a gateway drug; In all actuality, tobacco is more likely to be a gateway drug.

    Just leave these growers alone, legalize this already, and tax the crap out of it. People will pay. Just like smokers will pay.

    As a side note, meth labs and marijuana grows are no where NEAR in the same ballpark. Meth labs have a huge potential for fire due to the chemistry and “facilities” required to make it. Honestly, I would rather police resources be used right now for re-training their officers to deal with the mentally ill in our community who go untreated so that officers can keep getting annual raises and sweet benefits.

    (16) 54 Total Votes - 35 up - 19 down
  3. just the facts says:

    Heard big cries from Sacramento politicians about the evils of cigarette smoking. Haven’t heard a word from them about the evils of pot smoking…only about how great its going to be getting all those new taxes! As Alice in Wonderland stated so eloquently: “It gets curiouser and curiouser.”

    (26) 36 Total Votes - 31 up - 5 down
  4. abigchocoholic says:

    52,000 marijuana plants worth about $104 million at $2,000 a plant.
    Bwahaaaaa! Funniest thing I’ve read all day. So you mean to say I can grow 10 weed plants in my backyard and go buy a new car with them? No? Why not?

    In other news, the Budweiser truck drove down Grand Ave through Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach carrying 200 million in beer. (Why not if we’re going to make things up?)

    (25) 45 Total Votes - 35 up - 10 down
  5. Robert1 says:

    Grow baby grow!
    And $104 million is another exaggeration by law enforcement.

    (28) 42 Total Votes - 35 up - 7 down
  6. jimmy_me says:

    Let’s see… a couple of acres of pot. Compare that to a bajillion acres of grapes. Oh, the outrage.

    (33) 57 Total Votes - 45 up - 12 down
  7. demiseofslo says:

    $2000 a plant? Yeah right! That better be some dank sh*t

    (27) 43 Total Votes - 35 up - 8 down
    • Snoid says:

      Based off the cost of everything else here in the self proclaimed most bitchen place on earth, why not?

      (11) 11 Total Votes - 11 up - 0 down
  8. Ben Daho says:

    Nah, shut it down. Who needs tax dollars. And employees working and buying local, and feeding their children?

    (14) 52 Total Votes - 33 up - 19 down
    • Jimreaper says:

      And the majority of the dollars generated will be spent in Mexico.

      (-8) 60 Total Votes - 26 up - 34 down
      • CharlesInCharge says:

        We better stop growing strawberries, grapes or other produce then.

        (18) 42 Total Votes - 30 up - 12 down
      • Vagabond says:

        The price of the land stays in the US, the cost of packaging and transportation, stays in the US the payment for the product goes back to the producer, that money stays in the US.
        The money from black market weed goes to Mexico

        (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
    • sloslo says:

      With that logic, we might as well let people build a giant meth lab in the county, as long as they are paying taxes, buying local, and feeding their children.

      (-8) 54 Total Votes - 23 up - 31 down
      • CharlesInCharge says:

        Not the same, according to the law. But you already know that.

        (11) 25 Total Votes - 18 up - 7 down
      • MrYan says:

        Meth Lab equivalency? Really?

        Meth users 3 days into a binge are capable almost any extreme behavior you can think of.

        Pot smoker’s 3 days into a binge are curled up sleeping in a fetal position surrounded by candy wrapper’s, Funions, and mountain dew cans.

        Yeah they’re equal.

        Meth Lab filled with noxious chemicals, that can explode at any time leaving a wake of pollution.

        Pot grown in these greenhouse—was hard to identify. Use approved fertilizers, etc. from the state, and posses no outward threat to neighborhood from chemical explosions.

        I’ll take the pot farm any day.

        Luckily meth heads are self limiting. Either they get it together and leave it behind or they die. They’re much easier to spot too in society. Pot smoker’s? Good luck figuring out who does and who doesn’t use. Which should be a testament to its banality.

        (20) 36 Total Votes - 28 up - 8 down
      • CentralcoastRN says:

        Meth is made with ephedrine and drano, among other delightful additives available by the “maker”. It’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get.

        Marijuana is a FREAKING PLANT. It is in a more natural state than those grapes we ferment in to wine. THAT FEED FAMILIES.

        Quit watching movies like “reefer madness”. Go youtube tardive dyskinesia. That little side effect happens courtesy of many of our RX meds.

        (10) 24 Total Votes - 17 up - 7 down
        • ccmom says:

          The fact that the two are even being compared shows the ignorance here. What is wrong with people?

          (14) 18 Total Votes - 16 up - 2 down
          • CentralcoastRN says:


            Ignorance is what is wrong with people.

            For those who want to learn more about the effects of meth, there is an informative website:


            (9) 9 Total Votes - 9 up - 0 down
            • ccmom says:

              The argument that meth is equal to MJ is insane. It cannot be compared and it is lunacy that people try to. All the outrage over MJ is laughable when we live in a world where alcohol abuse is glorified especially in our area.

              (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down

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