Invasion of illegal cannabis farms worries L.A. County supervisorsPosted by On


Faced with an invasion of massive, illegal pot farms in California’s high desert, Los Angeles County Supervisors have voted to boost enforcement and reconsider their current ban on commercial marijuana cultivation.

The move Tuesday follows months of complaints from residents and authorities who say the large-scale black market farms have upended life in the desert. Authorities say the boom has led to forced labor, violence, water theft and the destruction of fragile desert habitat and wildlife. Longtime residents say they feel less safe, claiming black-market growers act with impunity by carrying weapons, trading gunfire with rivals and threatening those who wander too close to their farms.

The supervisors voted 5-0 at this week’s meeting to reconsider the ban on commercial cannabis production and distribution in unincorporated L.A. County. Supervisors also approved a motion asking county attorneys and state officials to devise a plan to civilly prosecute water thieves and increase local government controls over illegal cannabis and unregulated hemp.

“Organized crime is still alive and well in the United States, in California and in wanting to really corner this market,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who coauthored one of the motions.

The motion also dedicated $250,000 to further crackdowns by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Over the past two months, the department has spent more than $1 million in manpower and resources to crack down on about 40%…

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Faced with an invasion of massive, illegal pot farms in California’s high desert, Los Angeles County Supervisors have voted to boost enforcement and reconsider their current ban on commercial marijuana cultivation.

The move Tuesday follows months of complaints from residents and authorities who say the large-scale black market farms have upended life in the desert. Authorities say the boom has led to forced labor, violence, water theft and the destruction of fragile desert habitat and wildlife. Longtime residents say they feel less safe, claiming black-market growers act with impunity by carrying weapons, trading gunfire with rivals and threatening those who wander too close to their farms.

The supervisors voted 5-0 at this week’s meeting to reconsider the ban on commercial cannabis production and distribution in unincorporated L.A. County. Supervisors also approved a motion asking county attorneys and state officials to devise a plan to civilly prosecute water thieves and increase local government controls over illegal cannabis and unregulated hemp.

“Organized crime is still alive and well in the United States, in California and in wanting to really corner this market,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who coauthored one of the motions.

The motion also dedicated $250,000 to further crackdowns by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Over the past two months, the department has spent more than $1 million in manpower and resources to crack down on about 40%…



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