Much of the worst environmental damage has been done on public lands, with illegal growers having leveled hilltops, bulldozed Joshua trees, and dipped into the water table. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) cannabis enforcement program recently released its year-end numbers for the 2021 calendar year, revealing that 2.6 million illegal weed plants were eradicated and 487,270 pounds were destroyed. The CDFW, which investigates illegal cannabis grows as they pertain to environmental damage, said in its recent report that some of the most serious environmental issues involve unauthorized stream bed alterations with water diversions, habitat destruction, illegal use of pesticides and poaching. “Illegal operators who are trying to bypass the legal system are a threat to California’s fish and wildlife resources and a detriment to those legally cultivating cannabis,” said David Bess, deputy director of the CDFW. Though recent statistics showed that illegal cultivation is moving away from public land to private property, this doesn’t mean that ambitiously large crops of weed have not been discovered by the CDFW’s 68 cannabis enforcement officers and other park rangers. In the spring of 2021, park rangers in Death Valley National Park stumbled across a massive, illegal grow.

Benzinga Staff Writer, The Fresh Toast, 02/07/2022 15:30:00

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