The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) and State Water Resources Board (SWRCB) announced in a press release on July 1 that it will collectively authorize enforcement teams for the 2022 hemp planting season. This is an annual announcement, as CDFW has also announced its readiness for the 2021 planting season in July last year.
This effort is funded by Suggestion 64 Which enables these government agencies to focus on protecting “priority watersheds, areas with sensitive habitats, and/or threatened or endangered species.” The agencies will work with local counties, state, and federal groups to ensure enforcement is properly handled.
“The environmental impacts of illegal cannabis operations can last for decades and cause irreparable damage to our natural resources,” said CDFW Deputy Director and Head of Law Enforcement David Pace. “Those who do not comply with state laws and ignore the environmental impacts associated with illegal farming practices will be subject to enforcement action.”
California’s waterways, and the wildlife that depend on them, suffer when illegal cannabis is grown, diverting water diversions. Tributary currents are often crucial to providing clear, cool water to larger waterways. press release States. Many sensitive aquatic species such as Southern SalamanderAnd the coastal frogsAnd the Solid And the coho salmon Rely on these tributaries in the late summer months to maintain the water quality and temperatures needed for survival.”
Moreover, the health of these currents directly affects the “physical, biological and chemical influence” of the entire local area, which is home to countless organisms whose habitat must be preserved.
drought in california It has reached a historic low again, making it necessary to protect these waterways. “Compliance with state cannabis regulations is most important in drought conditions when there are limited water supplies and water quality impacts are amplified,” said the state’s Office of Water Resources Control, Office of Enforcement. Director Yvonne West. “I am proud to work with the many individuals in the cannabis community who are dedicated to orderly and environmentally conscientious cultivation. The State Water Authority is committed to taking enforcement action against those who harm our precious water resources.”
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley also provided a statement, addressing the need to enforce illegal cannabis cultivations. “My office is committed to criminal and civil enforcement to protect the environment and public safety,” Dudley said. Environmental damage from cannabis cultivation can be severe and long-term, including exposure to dangerous pesticides, degraded water quality, and injury to wildlife. Furthermore, farmers who violate the law should not have an unfair competitive advantage over legitimate farmers who spend time and resources to stay in compliance. My office will continue to collaborate with our state and local agency partners to ensure compliance with the law.”
Other California counties, such as San BernardinoIt also supports legislation aimed at protecting groundwater as well as eliminating illegal farming. sponsored by the county Assembly Bill 2728 And the Senate Bill 1426, which would impose fines for violations. according to researchersCannabis plants (depending on their stage of growth) can need up to six gallons of water per day during the growing season, which runs from June to October.
At a press conference in May, Society Member Tom Lackey Addressing illegal cannabis growers polluting local water reserves. “To any of those involved in the illegal business grow up: I want you to know there’s a team effort, and we’re after you,” Lucky said. “You come after something very sacred: our community. You come after our desert, and you steal our water. You poison our land, and our palms.”
Outside of the growing season, Los Angeles County has also worked to target illegal growing operations. In July 2021, the Los Angeles County Police Department made one of the largest seizures of illegal cannabis, which was worth $1.2 billion.