California Gavin Newsom (D) has directed the creation of the Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce, a multi-agency cross-jurisdictional taskforce of enforcement agencies designed to better coordinate agencies combatting illegal cannabis operations. The taskforce is co-chaired by the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and is coordinated by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) through its Homeland Security Division.
In a press release, Nicole Elliott, director of DCC, said illicit commercial cannabis activity causes “pervasive harm to California communities, the environment, consumers, and legal cannabis businesses.”
The taskforce has been operating since late last summer to work with federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to disrupt the illegal cannabis market in the state.
In addition to the three main agencies, the taskforce is working with 23 other state agencies as partners.
“Large-scale, illicit outdoor cannabis cultivation can be harmful to the environment. Non-compliant cultivation sites can negatively affect wildlife, vegetation, water, soil, and other natural resources when they utilize chemicals, fertilizers, terracing, and even poaching local wild animals,” CDFW said in the release. “Illegal cannabis cultivation results in the chemical contamination and alteration of watersheds, diversion of natural water courses, elimination of native vegetation, wildfire hazards, poaching of wildlife and harmful disposal of garbage, non-biodegradable materials, and human waste.”
“California has an abundance of public lands set aside for conservation, recreational use, and the enjoyment of the people of this state,” CDFW director Charlton H. Bonham said in a statement. “Unfortunately, criminal organizations are impacting these areas by exploiting some of our most pristine public lands and wildlife habitats as grow sites for cannabis.”
The press release notes that the taskforce would also increase “efforts to support entrepreneurs and businesses in the legal cannabis market.”
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