Finally, a crackdown on some serious marijuana-related fraud that we have all witnessed in California, especially here in Humboldt County.

Humboldt Indoor Pot Garden Timer Panel

PG&E is ready to go after abusers of its CARE program, and that's a big deal. It's a big deal because CARE fraud by for-profit indoor marijuana growers is just another way grower greed has been screwing the rest of us over for many years.

First, for those who don't know, CARE is PG&E's California Alternate Rates for Energy program, and it was created to provide reduced/discounted energy rates to low-income families and individuals who actually could not otherwise afford to keep the lights and heat running in their homes. Qualifying households get a discount on energy rates of at least 20%, and in many cases that discount is as high as 70%. But PG&E doesn't provide the discounts out of its own pocket. Instead, CARE is subsidized by charging an additional 5% to all non-CARE customers.

So, take from the rich and give to the poor, sounds good, right? Not that we support that type of economic approach, but the concept isn't all bad in this case. The problem is that, while the rest of us are paying ever-increasing rates for our energy use, thousands and thousands of for-profit California pot growers are scamming us by participating in the program to lower the overhead of their illegal businesses. The fraudsters can do this because they do not report their marijuana-related income, and therefor can "prove" to PG&E that they are impoverished enough to take advantage of the discount program.

The problem is so bad, in fact, that the Eureka Times-Standard recently reported that "Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman said that more than 70 percent of the grow houses searched by his department in the past two years have been utilizing the CARE program."

Humboldt Indoor Pot Garden Lights

Which doesn't surprise us at all. Countless growers we have interacted with over the years freely admit to abusing the CARE program, and when questioned as to why they would fraudulently scam PG&E that way, the response generally amounts to "fuck 'em," which further illustrates the level of greed present among so many criminal indoor marijuana growers. We have even witnessed profitable pot farmers abusing other low-income programs like MediCal and CalFresh (food stamps), making thousands of dollars per month in pure black market profit and still stopping by the social services office to pick up their food stamps every two weeks, then using the benefits to buy lobster tails and fine cheeses at Wildberries. Hopefully that scenario is not common, but who knows? If a greedy grower is willing to steal from PG&E and the IRS, then why not also steal from other government programs?

Despite PG&E having little incentive to really crack down on CARE abusers (since they don't actually foot the bill for the program), we sincerely hope they give it a substantial effort. For those growers who follow the rules, pay taxes on their marijuana income, and bear the actual costs of all that expensive electricity they use, keep on truckin' and running your operation in an honorable fashion. For the rest of you, the greedy, tax-evading, douchebag growers degrading our community: Fuck you.

<< Bulk Marijuana Prices Way Down How Much Money Do Pot Growers Make? >>


By kindafan, on Jan 28, 2012 - 5:25
Kinda old news, but its good to see a fresh post on this blog. I always get a kick out of reading the crazy shit this guy says.


By Gladifoundthissite, on Jan 29, 2012 - 19:53
After 25 years in norcal, i have had knowledge of multi-program abuse as described above. I agree with your article.

By The Authors, on Jan 29, 2012 - 21:04
@Gladifoundthissite We would very much love to hear about the types of abuse you have witnessed, either here in the comments or directly via email (we're We have known many abusers in our time, but we have never really spoken with anyone directly about the extent of the problem. Hope we can hear more from you soon!

Actions of the few?

By Kevin, on Apr 29, 2012 - 12:35
Seriously now, blaming a select few of "using and abusing the system" is like making everyone go through airport security because of a "select few" hijacked a couple of planes. This is typical but if you broke down the exact #'s using the program and the % of folks growing and illegally receiving benefits, I am sure it would be such a small # that it would cost more to police than the actual expense.

Let's not forget the human greed factor. What is that? It is simple, people, when given a choice to better their families and themselves usually will do what they can regardless of logic and reason, to push it to make money. Need an example? Why would a couple buy a $600,000 home only making 25K per year? Why would banks lend on such a high risk loan? Why does our Federal government borrow a Trillion dollars every year? Why do people invest in stocks without any real knowledge or stop loss protection if wrong? Answer is simple, the human greed factor.

By Justin, on May 5, 2012 - 17:32
This can't be difficult to police, no need getting political about it. PG&E looks at usage/income and it's obvious who is a grower. Unless PG&E has motives to not police the CARE program?

By Mike, on May 6, 2012 - 11:06
Whoever Illegally grows weed and Uses the C.A.R.E. Program IS AN IDIOT!!! And a CHEAP 1 at that! Your making Great untaxable money as it is why would you Raise a Red Flag on yourself by being cheap! Pay the full bill harder to get caught and your Messing up the Program for PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY NEED IT!

"Henchman Of Justice"

By Jeffrey Lytle, on Dec 2, 2012 - 16:47
Mike is right, stupid is as stupid does.

Anyhow, not to belabor the point of double standards, but CARE in its existence is fraudulant, forcing Peter to pay for Paul. Simply having CARE proves no less than a minimum of two ideas of thought:

1) PGE is over-charging all its customers for massive profits in order to OFFER such a subsidy program to look like a good guy, although not one iota sincere! (public/private quasi communism/socialism)

2) PGE sets higher and higher rates upon those whom don't qualify for CARE so that the subsidized get CARE without eating into massive profits. Look at ALL the HUGE corporations - they've made more profits than ever before during an economic hurricane, wonder why?

Answer --> Consumers don't know mathematics as it relates to real world asset values! For some idiotic reason, Americans THINK they are worth more than they really are, hence the housing sector collapse, stock market collapse, Federal Reserve money launderings, etc....anything with "FAKE VALUES"!

If poor people are poor, then their need for energy should be less, not more (no excuses for wasting energy). If it is only about the basics, then show the data. Further, just think how many CARE customers NOW paid full rates before and were getting ripped-off. See the incentive to retaliate at a later date?

Poor people must be able to play video games and watch television too,and that takes subsidized energy! Maybe instead of the CARE program, the PGE profiteers COULD create a foundation or organization or charity to donate a percentage of their "after tax profits from individual returns" toward for subsidizing poor people's energy needs (which will be more and more of us btw). Afterall, customers should not be forced to subsidize (like Furniture Design Center's $100 donation scheme that only raised the cost $100 just to drop it $100), let it be the sincerity of the individual owners and employees of PGE who donate their money after they get their paychecks, not before (because then they will escape higher taxes that they should pay for due to gaining a percentage of their wealth from thievery due to extortioning high costs that render massive profits unjustifiable even in a "free market system that is rigged"!

To end, enough people say growers are greedy because they don't do this or that. HOJ says, PGE is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy more greedier than a handful of growers on a "State scale"! - HOJ

No, PGE is screwing us

By Logic101, on Jan 13, 2013 - 21:28
The fact remains that having a tiered rated is screwing everyone.

Why does Oregon have a far more logical "time of usage" system?

Here is a simple fact:

If you are not on care, live in Arcata, CA. Use 6 x over the base limit. Plus the effect of Measure I (the 45% additional tax) your electricity bill is near 48 cents /kw hr.

If you live in Portland Oregon, your energy bill is around 4.2 cents /kw hr. (because growers lights are on at nighttime)

If you do that math that is over 90% is savings just by moving to a different city.

Arcata is literally screwing itself.

By tired, on Sep 24, 2013 - 16:01
This has always annoued the shit outta me...u make 10-20 (rounding up&down a little) every few months...yet u gonna screw ur parents, peple u know who are WORKING a 9-5 just to save ur self a bit of money that u can im all for bettering yourself&taking care of your fam but not piggy backing off tax payers&people who actually struggle month to month to make ends meet.This is my big reason for why id vote to make it totally legal&taxable market.

By nv bud, on Oct 20, 2013 - 19:50
Live free - what a joke - more like living on daddy's dime rr

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