The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) said it eradicated 2.6 million pounds of illegally cultivated cannabis plants and 487,270 pounds of flower during its 2021 enforcement operations. The agency indicated it also removed 404 illegal water diversions and removed 32,230 pounds of trash from public lands linked to illicit cannabis cultivation.
David Bess, CDFW deputy director and chief of the Law Enforcement Division, said in a statement that the illegal cannabis grows “are a threat to California’s fish and wildlife resources, and a detriment to those legally cultivating cannabis.” The agency also notes that illegal cannabis enforcement operations led to 1,125 warrants served and 794 firearms seized.
CDFW said that some of the most serious environmental issues involve unauthorized streambed alterations with water diversions, habitat destruction, illegal use of pesticides, and poaching and while the agency does not typically investigate water theft, it does assist county law enforcement in such investigations.
According to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program, illegal cannabis cultivation is moving move away from public land operations to private property. In 2018, illegal cannabis cultivation activity was approximately 80% on public lands and 20% on private property; in 2021 the DOJ CAMP program said that less than 30% of illegal cultivation activity occurred on public lands.
CDFW said that it now has 68 dedicated cannabis enforcement officers who work with the county, state, and federal partners to combat illegal cannabis cultivation activity.
Get daily cannabis business news updates. Subscribe