WEED, SISKIYOU COUNTY -- Chronicle outdoors writer Tom Stienstra and his wife were arrested at their Northern California home on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale, and later released with no charges filed pending an investigation, officials said.
Siskiyou County sheriff's spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp said deputies found "a sophisticated marijuana cultivation operation in the barn" at Stienstra's home in Weed, a small town 30 miles south of Yreka, when they searched it March 25.
Authorities seized 60 marijuana plants, 11.1 pounds of processed marijuana, scales, packaging materials and other paraphernalia from the barn and the home, Gravenkamp said.
They also found medical-marijuana recommendation papers for Stienstra, his wife, Stephani Cruickshank, and Cruickshank's son, who also lives at the home, Gravenkamp said.
Stienstra, 55, and Cruickshank, 54, were booked into county jail on suspicion of one felony count each of possession of drugs for sale. Also arrested on suspicion of the same crimes were Henry Warren Lincoln, 32, of Medford, Ore., and Nathan Jacob Koopman, 30, of Gazelle (Siskiyou County).
Stienstra posted $75,000 bail March 26 and was released. His wife and the other two suspects were released Monday after no charges were filed against them.
County Assistant District Attorney Christine Winte said, "The D.A. has decided not to file charges at this time" against any of the suspects.
She said her office intends to have Stienstra in court for a proceeding in the case, but she could not give a date.
"The whole thing is under review," Winte said.
Stienstra's and Cruickshank's lawyers said they were hopeful the matter will go no further.
"All I know is that charges were not filed," said Eric Bergstrom of Yreka, Stienstra's lawyer. "That's very good news."
Chronicle Editor and Executive Vice President Ward Bushee said Stienstra's job has not changed at the paper. Stienstra covers the outdoors for The Chronicle, has a program on radio station KCBS and has published several books on hiking and camping.
"There are no charges filed, and we know very little about the allegations against Tom and hope it is resolved quickly," Bushee said. "In the meantime, we will continue to publish his popular outdoor reports in the Sporting Green."
Read original file in the SF Chronicle. Hey bud, we can't help but notice the felicitous convergence of appropriate names in this copy, such as Bushee, Sporting Green, and Weed. But if there's a medical marijuana prescription involved, the problem may not be too prolonged.