Well-known California outdoor writer Tom Stienstra apparently loves the outdoors so much, he decided to bring a little of the leafy green indoors, though his choice of flora leaves a little to be desired.

Last week, he was busted for marijuana possession at his Weed home (the Underground is trying very hard – very hard – not to comment on the irony of that one) for what Siskiyou County sheriffs are calling a “sophisticated cultivation operation.”

Ooops.

Popular outdoor writer arrested in Weed — Redding Record Searchlight

Popular outdoor writer and author Tom Stienstra has been arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office.

Stienstra, 55, was arrested March 25 after sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant at his home in Weed and found a “sophisticated cultivation operation” in his barn, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp said in an e-mail.

Deputies allegedly found 31 immature marijuana plants, 29 mature marijuana plants and 11 pounds of processed marijuana, Gravenkamp said.

Much of the processed marijuana was packaged, Gravenkamp said. Deputies also found scales, packaging material and other paraphernalia at Stienstra’s barn and inside his home, she said.

Stienstra is an outdoor writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and syndicated newspaper columnist. He is also an author of numerous books on hiking, camping and the outdoors. He has a weekly television show on KBCW/KMAX in Sacramento and a weekly radio program on KCBS in San Francisco.

Stienstra and three others were booked into the Siskiyou County jail in Yreka. Stienstra was released last Friday on $75,000 bail. He continues to write for the San Francisco Chronicle.

I heard murmurings of this a couple days ago, though even I’m surprised by the size of the operation.

Stienstra’s something of an institution in California, though I won’t pretend he’s universally loved by the state’s conservation groups, nor many of the locals.

(Can’t resist: He was busted in Weed. For weed! The universe isn’t entropy, it’s irony.)

If only he’d waited; California is heading towards a November vote which could legalize marijuana use (California: The “Like Dude, Chill” State).

See you at the legal blotter, Tom Chandler.

UPDATE:

The SF Chronicle has published a story, though it (perhaps not surprisingly) seems more supportive of Stienstra than the Redding report:

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.”

As of this writing, there are more than 230 comments below the Chronicle story, some of them frankly hilarious, including:

THAT EXPLAINS why I get the munchies after reading his articles.

That’s one way to plan for the demise of the Chronicle.

Many of the others make me fear for the republic, but newspaper comments have that tendency.