California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Thursday announced a new approach to cracking down on illegal cannabis farms after this year’s eradication program seized nearly a million marijuana plants.
In accordance with the broader approach to unlocking illegal growth, the annual Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program initiated under Republican Gov. George Deukmejian in 1983, is being transformed the Permanent Task Force on the Eradication and Prevention of Illicit Cannabis (EPIC).Bonta said as was reported The Orange County Register.
CAMP started “in a very different time, in a different era, in a different moment of the failed war on drugs, and (when) cannabis was still completely illegal,” Bonta said.
This was also confirmed by the Democrat Bonta, who is running for his first full term in the election next month nearly one million seized plants were valued at $1 billion and that the program also confiscated more than 100 tons of processed cannabis, 184 weapons and about 22 tons of materials were used to grow the plantsfor example, dams, water pipelines, and toxic chemicals, including pesticides and fertilizers.
An ongoing problem
Illegal cannabis cultivation in the Sunshine State has been affecting the environment for years. Recently, Introduced by Congressmen Scott Peters (D-CA) and Doug LaMalfa (R-CA). legislation which seeks to combat the use of illegal pesticides and illegal marijuana grown on public land.
The bill is a Act on Targeting and Compensation for Existing Illegal Pollution (TOXIC). made to address and to restore the environmental damage caused by illegal pesticides. According to an official statement From LaMalfa’s office, TOXIC also raises criminal penalties for those who grow cannabis on federal land and use illegal pesticides.
It is important to note that banned pesticides are banned for a reason: they are dangerous. Consumers who consume even small amounts of marijuana treated with these substances can potentially die.
The bill was introduced a few months after a California county sheriff called for a state of emergency more than illegal cannabis grows.
The New Plan
The aim of the new program is to stop the underlying labor crime, environmental crime and the black economy centered around illegal production sites, said Bonta.
He called it “an important change in mindset and mission” adding that it benefits the California legal market.
“The illicit market is outpacing the legal market,” he said. “It is upside down and our goal is to eradicate the illegal market completely.”
The seasonal eradication program typically lasts about three months each summer and now continues through cooperation with other federal, state and local agencies, including the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, DEA, National Park Service, California Dept. Fish and Wildlife, California State Parks and the California National Guard, some of which are also participating in the new task force.
The task force must work together Ministry of Justice prosecutors, of the department Cannabis Control Division and an existing one Tax collection in the underground economy (TRUE ), which was created to bring cases against those behind the illegal growth.
Bonta emphasized further the workers of these farms are often victims of human trafficking“We live alone for months in miserable conditions with no way out. These are not the people who profit from the illegal cannabis industry. They are abused, they are the victims. They are cogs in a much larger and more organized machine.”
80% of the 44 illegal websites found in and around the Land Management Office this year were related to drug-trafficking organizations. Karen Mouritsen, state director of the office.
“Illegal cultivation of marijuana on public lands remains a significant problem in California,” Mouritsen said. “These illegal operations have a devastating impact on our environment and the health and safety of communities and public land users.”
Bonda concluded that even though there are many challenges related to organized crime, this new plan, which involves the work of several agencies throughout the year, should bring results.
Photo: Oleksandrum, Shutterstock and Wikimedia Commons