Federal and California officials announced that they are joining forces to go after illegal marijuana grows and to do so are using $2.5 million in federal funds.
U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said he intends to prioritize busting illegal weed rather than going after the world’s largest legal recreational marijuana market, a decision U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has left to the discretion of top federal prosecutors.
“The reality of the situation is there is so much black-market marijuana in California that we could use all of our resources going after just the black market and never get [to recreational marijuana]," he said, reported The Associated Press.
“So for right now, our priorities are to focus on what have been historically been our federal law enforcement priorities: interstate trafficking, organized crime and the federal public lands,” said Scott.
Most of California’s illegally grown weed is destined for Midwestern and Eastern states where it is more profitable.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and others have referred to California’s illegal grows as the new Gold Rush that’s ushering in wealth as well as environmental devastation.
“You’ve got to make it so crime doesn’t pay,” Becerra said.
Meanwhile in northern California
Both local and federal raids are targeting Humboldt County’s Emerald Triangle. Huge busts on cultivation sites have taken place in the past month, despite the fact that California has had legal recreational marijuana since January.
The most recent bust was on May 22, reported CannabisNow, when authorities eradicated 10,609 weed plants growing in six greenhouses near Alderpoint.
A week earlier there was a similar raid in the area.
Growers in the Emerald Triangle complain of onerous regulations, inordinately high taxes, difficulty in securing proper cultivation permits and endless bureaucratic and legal obstacles.
And now the raids.
Local activist Darryl Cherney told a Humboldt County webpage that those applying for state permits are “paying for the bullets for their own firing squad. The homestead has become a business subject to inspection at any given moment. Anyone who signs up for this is in denial about the chance of succeeding. It’s a moving target… Farmers always get the short end of the stick.”