California Signs Measure to Control Grow-Op Issues
August 14th, 2015
Policy, Top Story
California governor Jerry Brown singed a measure into law that creates steep civil fines for marijuana farms and grow-ops that damage the environment by dumping wastewater and chemicals, removing trees, and killing wild animals, according to LA Times.
The measure was introduced following concerns that the number of illegal growing operations in state parklands and forests has increased since medical marijuana was legalized in 1996. Last year, the state raided nearly 250 illegal marijuana operations and seized more than 15,839 pounds of processed pot. Investigators also found more than 135 dams that diverted five million gallons of water for marijuana growing operations.
The new law would enable lawmakers to issue fines of up to $40,000 for illegally dumping hazardous materials into streams and rivers and fines of up to $10,000 for removing trees or trapping and killing wildlife. With these hefty fines in place, the governments hopes to deter smaller growers that may no longer see the value in taking the risk of illegally growing the drug in public land or using public resources to do so.
The move also comes as California is gearing up for the possibility of the legalization of recreational marijuana in November’s elections. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently told Real Time with Bill Maher that the state would legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adult use in the 2016 general election – a strong prediction from one of the world’s highest ranking politicians, although he has shown considerable support for the drug in the past.
In preparation for legalization, the Lt. Gov. completed an extensive analysis of the legal frameworks implemented by other states and made a number of recommendations to state lawmakers and law enforcement agencies. The report included insights from attorneys, law enforcement, civil rights groups, advocacy groups, and other parties.
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