LANCASTER – Senator Scott Wilk was joined Thursday by California Attorney General Rob Bonta on a helicopter tour of the Antelope Valley for a firsthand view of the negative impact of illegal cannabis cultivation sites.
Working to bring more statewide awareness and cooperation to addressing the problem, Wilk and Assemblyman Tom Lackey held a roundtable discussion with the Attorney General where law enforcement, city officials, representatives of water agencies, and the legal cannabis industry expressed their concerns and discussed how best to combat these grows.
“Residents here are facing a unique public safety crisis as a result of large-scale illegal cultivation in our community,” Wilk said. “Not only are our communities less safe, our environment is being poisoned with dangerous chemicals and our limited water is being siphoned away from residents and farmers who are already faced with intense drought restrictions.”
“Last month, I voted for legislation to put some teeth in our fight against these illegal grows. While this legislation is a step in the right direction, the discussion today underscored how much more needs to be done,” Wilk continued.
“Illegal grow sites harm our environment and undermine businesses that do things the right way,” Bonta said. “Together, we’re fighting to stop our waterways from being polluted and pushing back on illegal and unlicensed activity.”
Wilk and Lackey voted in support of Assembly Bill 195, which expands the ability of local officials to go after illegal growers for water theft and water pollution and provides support to the legal cannabis industry through restructuring the cannabis tax code. Law enforcement has eradicated several massive illegal grows in the Antelope Valley, including a raid last summer that resulted in the seizure of more than $1.2 billion worth of cannabis.
“To any of those engaged in illicit cannabis grows, I want you to know we are coming after you,” Lackey said. “You’ve come after our desert and are stealing our water. You’re poisoning our land and enough is enough.”
“We are grateful for today’s discussion and the action that Attorney General Bonta, Senator Wilk, and Assemblymember Lackey are taking on this issue,” said Lancaster Vice Mayor Marvin E. Crist. “Illegal grow operations are raging across our community, harming our law-abiding residents.”
[Information via news release from the office of Senator Scott Wilk.]