In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, January 11, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors implemented an ordinance to fine illicit cannabis operations $30,000 per day. However, another vote is needed to actively integrate the new statute in which the board calls a “largely administrative matter,” according to CBSLA. Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Katheryn Barger co-wrote the motion recommending the new measure, which Barger raved about to crack down on illegal grow operations in Antelope Valley. Barger asserts that these illicit marijuana farming operations have “posed public safety threats to neighbors and increased the risk of wildfires” due to the diminishing and contamination of nearby water supplies with harmful chemicals.
Supervisor Barges also notes that “Illegal grows though, are not just occurring in the open spaces in Antelope Valley.” She says, “Homes are being gutted and being converted to indoor grows to grow hundreds of plants.” Most illicit cultivation operations have lots of cannabis supplies to help them sustain their business production. Barger expressed to CBSLA that “This motion is not about making cannabis illegal.
This motion is about protecting the consumer and the community against the unforeseen impact of illegal cannabis cultivation.” Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the other co-author, says illegal cultivation operations and dispensaries “cause huge public safety and environmental safety concerns.” She mentioned in Tuesday’s meeting, ” includes water theft, damage to our fire hydrants, just stealing water to make this happen.” Supervisor Kuehl continued, “this water is a great loss to our communities that are imminently threatened by wildfires.”
Other board members, such as Supervisor Hilda Solis, revealed that around 30 unlicensed marijuana dispensaries are functioning in unincorporated surrounding areas. Supervisor Janice Hahn expressed that she would like to see permitting options for unlicensed companies and mentioned that the Los Angeles County workgroup responsible for recommending marijuana licensing in the region had completed their work last month.