California: Cannabis CEO ordered to pay $2.4 million for growing crops without state licenses

KION 546 reports

Header Image: Former California New Wave CEO Paul King. Photo courtesy of Monterey County District Attorney’s Office.

Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni announced today that former California New Wave CEO Paul King will have to pay $2.4 million for growing cannabis without proper state licensing.

The DA’s office obtained a default judgment against Salinas based cannabis businesses Fuji Farms, Inc., and Hands on Faith Association, in association with King. They also entered a stipulated judgment with Salinas based cannabis operation California New Wave, and associated companies for their involvement in this case.

Fuji Farms operated 75,000 square foot outdoor cannabis cultivation between 2018 and 2019. They did not obtain state licenses or local permits to engage in cannabis activity. According to the DA’s office, the company harvested and processed thousands of illegal cannabis plants. King was the CEO and CFO of Fuji Farms during this period.

Hands on Faith is also based in Salinas. Their licenses expired in early 2019. King acquired the company and continued cultivating and engaging in other cannabis activity without renewing the licenses and permits.

King sold over $1 million worth of illegal cannabis grown at Hands on Faith through his licensed business, California New Wave. Investigators learned of the violations in this case while conducting routine regulatory inspections.

All illegal cannabis discovered during these inspections was confiscated and will be destroyed.

The District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit initially filed charges in this case back in 2019.

Fuji Farms was ordered to pay $375,760, and Hands on Faith Association was ordered to pay $2,038,424.20. Paul King is personally liable for the entire judgment based on his role as CEO in the company and his involvement in the day-to-day operations and violations.

The District Attorney’s office stated that California New Wave did oust King as their CEO from all of their associated companies. They are now operating under new management and ownership. California New Wave has agreed to pay $150,000 in civil penalties in part of its negotiated stipulated judgment with the District Attorney’s office.


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