LA County Sheriff’s Department Raises $ 5M to Shut Down Illegal Growers and Pharmacies – Daily News

Los Angeles county officials agreed to spend $ 5 million on Tuesday, October 5, to help illegal cannabis growers in Antelope Valley and pharmacies in unincorporated areas across the county as part of a $ 39.3 billion budget for that Fight fiscal year 2021-22.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger had pushed hard on funding even as community officials tried to close down all new funds for the Sheriff’s Department.

“Illegal cannabis operations continue to threaten the well-being of our residents, water supplies and the environment,” said Barger on Tuesday. “By empowering and equipping our law enforcement partners with the necessary resources, we can better protect our communities.”

About half of the $ 5 million will be used to support the sheriff’s department in efforts to shut down farms that steal water and harm the environment. This includes 10 trucks that are needed for investigations in rough, rural terrain.

Another unit within the department will target illegal pharmacies in unincorporated areas, including Antelope Valley.

The LASD also has a $ 500,000 grant that can be used to fund both efforts.

Barger said that during a 10-day operation this summer, the LASD worked in partnership with local, state and federal partners to seize 16 tons of illegal cannabis plants valued at $ 1.19 billion in Antelope Valley.

According to Barger, 131 were arrested in operation and 180 animals living on arable land were rescued.

In July, Barger unsuccessfully sought support from her colleagues for tougher penalties for commercial cannabis and hemp growers who she said use dangerous pesticides, steal water from hydrants and silence neighbors.

Not only local residents are affected, Barger said in July, noting that unregulated chemicals can harm buyers outside of the LA basin as well.

During a public comment at the July meeting, residents painted a picture of a lawless environment where locals were being challenged at gunpoint and enforcement was next to nonexistent.

“This is not the Wild West. Our taxpaying citizens should stay safe in the fifth district and not be intimidated by antitrust thugs, ”said Joe Randles, Green Valley councilor. “Our groundwater is being contaminated by cultivation chemicals, our water systems are being compromised by theft, our land is being decimated along with the protected Joshua trees. This is an unfolding disaster. “

Chris Minsal, a lifelong resident of North County and president of Pearblossom Rural Town Council, said he wanted to regulate, not ban, commercial cannabis in order to generate tax money for enforcement against illegal operators.

“Never in my life have I seen lawlessness as I experienced last year, where people do what they want because they all know that there is only one, maybe two sheriffs at any one time, one Area the size of. cover the San Fernando Valley, ”Minsal said in July. “It is easy to hide, to threaten people, to take over a city, to ruin the quality of life of its residents.”

Pharmacies are illegal in all unincorporated areas of the county, even if they operate profitably elsewhere.

The district’s ban on marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas has been in place since 2010 and was extended to the cultivation, manufacture, testing and distribution of the drug for non-personal use in 2017.

California voted to legalize cannabis in 2016, and legal recreational sales began in January 2018. The county agreed in July to reconsider its ban.

Comments are closed.