Illegal marijuana

These marijuana plants were seized in Lake Los Angeles during a June 8 joint operation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the US Drug Enforcement Administration against illegal cultivation sites.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger seeks to amend state law to allow for enhanced enforcement against illegal cannabis dispensaries in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and illegal cannabis grows in the Antelope Valley.

Barger submitted a motion to go before the Board of Supervisors today to instruct the relevant county officials and departments to seek six amendments to state law and report back to the Board within 90 days on the status of the legislative efforts.

Barger’s motion seeks to amend the state Health and Safety Code to increase criminal penalties for certain categories of cannabis offenses; amend the state Code of Civil Procedure to authorize an alternative means of service of process for commercial cannabis businesses when their entity status is form unknown; amend the state Water Code to provide standing to county counsel to civilly prosecute and enjoin water theft amend the state Water Code to provide additional enforcement authority for water theft and/or misuse in declared drought emergencies; and amend the state Fish and Game Code to authorize County Counsel to civilly prosecute and enjoin water pollution for cannabis cultivation.

Barger’s motion would also instruct county counsel — in consultation with the director of Consumer and Business Affairs’ Office of Cannabis Management, the sheriff, director of Regional Planning and the Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures — to report back to the Board in 90 days with a proposed administrative nuisance abatement ordinance for unpermitted cannabis activity including illegal dispensaries and cannabis cultivation.

Barger’s motion comes after the largest operation in the history of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department following calls for service and multiple complaints from residents.

On June 8, the Sheriff’s Department and the US Drug Enforcement Administration conducted a joint operation to take down multiple illegal marijuana cultivation sites in Lake Los Angeles. The illegal cultivation site have been linked to human trafficking, murder, and water theft. Armed cartel members stealing water in the middle of the night from farmers and residents has become a common sight, according to authorities.

The operation included more than 400 personnel from multiple LA County Sheriff’s Department bureaus, the National Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and members from the Kern County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County and Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities bulldozed 75 greenhouse grows worth approximately $380 million in infrastructure and product. They made 23 arrests, seized five firearms, and recovered two water trucks.

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