Attorney General Becerra announced that this year’s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, a multijurisdictional task force including DEA and other agencies, made 52 arrests at 254 grow sites across 40 counties.
The Campaign Against Marijuana Planting claims to have eradicated 614,267 illegal marijuana plants on public lands in California this year, half the number taken in 2017. The state’s wildfires were a contributing factor in the drop, Becerra spokeswoman Jennifer Molina said.
Arrestees were “Mexican national drug traffickers who are working for drug cartels,” DEA special agent Karen Flowers said at a press conference with AG Becerra and others.
Noting that Californians voted to legalize cannabis for recreational use, Becerra commented, “If we don’t get a handle on this, the illegal side will take over the legal side, because they are undercutting the competition by doing everything illegally,” including using illegal pesticides and herbicides like carbofuran that contaminate water supplies and kill wildlife.
Cal NORML joined the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project of Humboldt county in suing over CAMP’s tactics in the 1990s, pushing the program towards public lands. Gov. Brown supposedly ended the CAMP program in 2012. Read more about CAMP.
Meanwhile, the federal Domestic Cannabis Eradication / Suppression Program continues to operate, claiming to eradicate 2.5 million plants in California in 2017. And California Congressman Doug LaMalfa has introduced H.R. 7018, the Protecting Lands Against Narcotics Trafficking (PLANT) Act, to “provide resources to help local, state, and federal law enforcement eradicate illegal marijuana grows on public lands, increases fines and penalties for illegally producing marijuana on public lands, and establishes a fund to restore land that has been damaged by illegal cultivation activities paid for through fines imposed on illegal growers.”
It is NORML’s position that the only thing that will ultimately end illegal grows is federal legalization.