State and local agencies discovered an unpermitted cannabis operation hidden inside a berry farm in Salinas, Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni announced Thursday. Investigators recovered over 14,000 cannabis plants and over 15 tons of processed cannabis found in 300 hoop houses, which were allegedly concealed by berry bushes. The investigation is still ongoing, prosecutors said.

The legal cannabis industry is facing economic hardship in Monterey County, partially due to the amount of illegal suppliers that can sell unregulated cannabis for cheaper, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Without following proper protocol, some illegal suppliers are overriding consumer safety standards, pesticide policies and public taxes.

“The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office is committed to ensuring fair competition in the licensed cannabis industry. Additionally, it is committed to protecting consumers, laborers, and the environment in Monterey County,” the office said in a press release.

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