California marijuana CEO ousted, fined $2.4 million for illegal cultivation

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A former executive of several marijuana businesses in California has been ousted and ordered by a judge to pay $2.4 million in fines for unlicensed cultivation.

According to Salinas TV station KION, now-former CEO Paul King of Monterey County-based California New Wave – a licensed distributor and cultivator – has been found liable for penalties levied against two other marijuana companies he ran in 2018 and 2019.

Those two businesses – Fuji Farms and Hands on Faith Association – were found to have been growing marijuana without the proper permits, according to a press release from the Monterey County District Attorney.

Fuji Farms was fined $375,760 and Hands on Faith was fined $2,038,424.

Fuji Farms did not have any local or state cultivation licenses. Hands on Faith had obtained cultivation licenses, but they expired in 2019.

Yet the companies kept growing and selling cannabis under King’s leadership, the Monterey County district attorney’s office told KION.

King sold at least $1 million worth of illegal marijuana while running the two unlicensed grows, the DA’s office said, by funneling sales through the licensed distributor and cultivator, California New Wave.

The judge in the case ruled that King was personally liable for the Fuji Farms and Hands on Faith fines.

King was removed from leadership by California New Wave and all related companies, the DA’s office said, and the businesses are now operating under new management.

California New Wave agreed to pay $150,000 in “civil penalties,” the DA’s office said.