LOS ANGELES (AP) — A month after two men were arrested at an illicit marijuana farm on public land deep in the Northern California wilderness, authorities are assessing the environmental impact and cleanup costs at the site where trees were clear-cut, waterways were diverted, and the ground was littered with open containers of fertilizer and rodenticide.
A group including U.S. Forest Service rangers, local law enforcement, scientists and conservationists hiked into the so-called trespass grow where nearly 9,000 cannabis plants were illegally cultivated on national forest land in the region known as the Emerald Triangle, for the marijuana that has been produced there for decades.
Authorities allege members of an international drug trafficking ring set up camp at the site as far back as 2015.
When deputies raided the remote clearing in the woods Sept. 9, they found hundreds of pounds of harvested marijuana, thousands of pounds of trash and more than 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) of plastic irrigation piping, according to the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office. They also discovered bottles of carbofuran, a banned neurotoxicant used to kill rodents that also has been linked to the deaths of spotted owls, fish and mountain lions. A quarter-teaspoon can kill a 300-pound (136-kilogram) bear.
The case highlights some of the growing pains California has faced since kicking off broad legal sales in 2018. Its legal marijuana market has grown to more than $3 billion but remains dwarfed by a thriving illegal market, which rakes in nearly $9 billion annually. Limited resources mean officials can’t keep up with all the illegal sites that are remnants of the outlaw era, when much of the pot for the U.S. black market came from the Emerald Triangle.
Experts say illegal sites like the one found in the Shasta Trinity National Forest, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the Oregon line, siphon valuable water, pollute legal downstream grows and funnel potentially tainted cannabis onto the streets.
“These places are toxic garbage dumps. Food containers attract wildlife, and the chemicals kill the animals long after the sites are abandoned,” said Rich McIntyre, director of the Cannabis Removal on Public Lands (CROP) Project, which is dedicated to restoring criminal grow sites on state and federal property in California. “We think there’s a public health time bomb ticking.”
CROP is a coalition of conservation organizations, tribes, elected officials, law enforcement agencies and federal land managers. Also lending its support is the legal cannabis industry, which says it’s being undercut by the criminal market. Officials estimate that up to 70% of California’s illicit pot comes from trespass grows mostly on public land.
“We see illegal grows as undermining the legal cultivators and manufacturers” by reducing tax revenue, said Lindsay Robinson, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, a trade group. “We’re seeing untested and unregulated cannabis flooding the market.”
Black market marijuana is potentially dangerous because traces of the toxic chemicals used at grow sites are often found in the plants, she said.
“If you have an illicit grow upstream from you, and you’re legal, that could end up tainting your product and prevent it from entering the market,” Robinson said.
Every Wednesday, Madame Zoltar responds to your queries and comments in her blog, Dear Madame Zoltar. Are the stars in your favor? What to do with that 401K? Find out by sending your questions and thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction.” Bob Marley
PLEASE BE SURE TO READ OUR DISCLAIMER AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE
This website exists for entertainment purposes only. The reader is responsible for discerning the validity of information posted here, be it fictional or based on real events or people. The content of posts on this site, including but not limited to links to other web sites, are the expressed opinion of the original poster and are in no way representative of or endorsed by the owners or administration of this website. The posts on this website are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or factual information on behalf of the owner or administration of JT Irregulars. This site may contain adult content and if you feel you might be offended by such content, you should log off immediately.
Not all posts on this website are intended as truthful or factual assertion by their authors. Some users of this website are participating in internet role playing, with or without the use of an avatar. NO post on this website should be considered factual information on face value alone. Users are encouraged to USE DISCERNMENT and do their own follow up research while reading and posting on this website. JT Irregulars reserves the right to make changes to, corrections and/or remove entirely at any time posts made on this website without notice. In addition, JT Irregulars disclaims any and all liability for damages incurred directly or indirectly as a result of a post on this website.
This site is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. You should not assume that this site is error-free or that it will be suitable for the particular purpose which you have in mind when using it. In no event shall JT Irregulars be liable for any special, incidental, indirect or consequential damages of any kind, or any damages whatsoever, including, without limitation, those resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether or not advised of the possibility of damage, and on any theory of liability, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of this site or other documents which are referenced by or linked to this site.
Some events depicted in certain posting and threads on this website may be fictitious and any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental. Some other articles may be based on actual events but which in certain cases incidents, characters and timelines have been changed for dramatic purposes. Certain characters may be composites, or entirely fictitious. We do not discriminate against the mentally ill!
Administrators may close an account, remove any post or comment and cancel author accounts as they, alone, deem necessary. You may contact the administration at email@example.com to report inappropriate use or to ask for the removal of specific material. The administration retains the final decision of what content constitutes appropriate use and what content is displayed.
Fair Use Notice: This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Users may make such material available in an effort to advance awareness and understanding of issues relating to civil rights, economics, individual rights, international affairs, liberty, science & technology, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.