wants statewide state of emergency over illegal marijuana grows
Marijuana grow houses shown in a social media video posted by
the Siskiyou County Sheriffs Office
Siskiyou County Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue
wants the state of California to declare a state of
emergency related to the proliferation of illegal marijuana
farms and grow houses in the region.
The northern California county and
several of its southern Oregon counterparts have declared
local state of emergencies in response to the thousands of
illegal grows spread across the expansive region.
LaRue has taken to a social media with
Facebook video showing the impacts of the illegal cannabis
grows. “The problem is the quantity of grows that we’re
faced with is astronomical,” LaRue said in the post.
Some of the grows have links to drug
cartels and organized crime syndicates also involved in
other illegal drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine,
according to local police.
LaRue said the illicit growers steal
and use significant amount of water pointing to images of
full swimming linked to nursery tents full of cannabis
The county estimates there could be as
many as 2,000 grow sites and 5,000 greenhouses just in
California’s northernmost county. Those grows can use as
much as 3 million gallons of water per day in region dealing
with severe drought conditions.
The farms are often staffed with
undocumented and trafficked workers. LaRue said they are
frequently harsh conditions at the illegal grows.
“It’s common for us to find dead
animals on these grow sites,” LaRue said adding that dogs on
the sites appear to be neglected and abused.
Marijuana is legal in California and
Oregon but high taxes and regulatory fees especially in the
Golden State can make legalized weed as much a 40% more
Those cost dynamics and continued pot
prohibitions in other U.S. states and the federal level
helps drive demand for unregulated and illegal marijuana.
Just one bust in late April resulted
in the seizure of more than 17,500 illegal cannabis plants,
5,610 pounds of processed marijuana worth $8 million,
according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office.
The California county said it has
destroyed more than 100,000 illegal cannabis plants so far
this year — up from 39,000 plants for the same period last
year. That is a 156% increase.
The Sheriff’s Office said so far this
year it has also seized $51 million worth of processed pot
from illegal cultivations so far this year up from $42
million a year ago.
LaRue wants Sacramento to declare a
statewide emergency and updated and new laws that penalize
illegal farms for labor exploitation, animal abuse and
A number of the marijuana grows will
approach farmers and land owners and will lease the land for
between $5,000 and $10,000. Property owners can face
environmental fines, code violations and other legal
problems for allowing illicit grows on their land.
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