California is approaching the six month anniversary of enacting legal adult-use cannabis sales, and Golden State regulators are already raking in millions of dollars in local and state taxes. Tucked away in the dense public forests of California’s northern counties, thousands of black market marijuana cultivators are still shirking local laws and tax collectors, contaminating local waterways, and, now, drawing the intense scrutiny of one U.S. Attorney. In a collaborative effort with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service Director of Law Enforcement and Investigations Tracy Perry, and a number of other researchers and law enforcement officials, Scott will oversee $2.5 million in federal funding to combat the unregulated cannabis cultivation.
“Growing marijuana on federal public lands is, and has always been, illegal, and the destruction it wreaks on the environment must be stopped,” U.S. Attorney Scott said.
“The illegal growth of cannabis is undeniably a major threat to public safety. It is also killing our wildlife, polluting our waters, and destroying our public lands,” Attorney General Becerra said.
To participate in California’s regulated marijuana market, growers must first submit their bud to state-licensed laboratories for strength and safety testing. According to the Integral Ecology Research Center, traces of the pesticide carbofuran were found at 78% of California’s illicit grow sites. Further down the West Coast in California, U.S. Attorney Scott has made it abundantly clear that his goal is not to pursue the state’s permitted ganjapreneurs in any form or fashion. “So for right now, our priorities are to focus on what have been historically our federal law enforcement priorities: interstate trafficking, organized crime, and the federal public lands.”
With the 2018 spring growing season kicking off right now, and California cannabis still fetching a premium in the out-of-state market, U.S. Attorney Scott and his crew of federally-funded law enforcement and forestry officers will no doubt have their hands full.