Supervisors in Los Angeles County have voted to increase law enforcement efforts in the wake of a massive, illegal marijuana farm invasion in the high desert. They are now reconsidering their current ban on commercial cultivation.
People have been complaining about large-scale black market farms for months. Some authorities say the boom has led to a range of social problems, including violence, forced labor, water theft, and destruction of wildlife and habitats. In addition, a long-term resident of the community asserts that she feels less safe, as criminals associated with the black market grow to operate with no fear of reprisal, carrying weapons, engaging in shootouts with rivals, and instilling fear in those who wander too close to their farms.
Five supervisors voted to reinstate commercial cannabis production and distribution ban in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles this week. County supervisors also passed a motion that requested county attorneys and state officials to work together to devise a strategy to file civil suits against people stealing water and gain more control of illicit cannabis and unregulated hemp.
“Organized crime is still alive and well in the United States, in California,” said said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “And in wanting to really corner this market,”
Additionally, the motion also gave $250,000 to help the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department further enforce regulations.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva says that the department has allocated $1 million in money and manpower to combat the cultivation of 40% of the illicit grows over the past two months.
Villanueva previously acknowledged in a press conference that growers arrested in a major bust were working to rebuild their farms.
Barger, who represents the five-county district of northern Los Angeles, is quite massive. As a result, said the county commissioner, environmental degradation was just as big a problem as water theft and resident safety.
Growers have used bulldozers to clear areas in the desert, destroyed Joshua trees and other native vegetation, and sprayed toxic pesticides that are harmful to wildlife.
Two dead bear carcasses were recently discovered near marijuana grows. Pesticides are said to have been used to kill animals.
Published: July 31, 2021
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