Saturday , June 22 2024

SB County officials fight back against illegal cannabis growth

San Bernardino County has raised the stakes in its battle against illegal cannabis.

Sheriff Shannon Dicus and members of the board of supervisors are urging state lawmakers to bring back stricter penalties for growing illegal cannabis, according to a statement on the county’s website.

In 2016, California voters approved Prop. 64, which reduced illegal cannabis cultivation from a felony to a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine. Since then, illegal cannabis growth has exploded in desert communities throughout Southern California.

“Illegal cannabis cultivation is having a deep, broad, and devastating impact on citizens in our county,” Dicus wrote in a letter to the state. “Our residents living near these areas are upset, and several have been victims of threats of violence from the cannabis tenders.”

Since the passage of Prop. 64, unauthorized cannabis growth has become “a plague on our local communities,” said Supervisor Paul Cook.

“This unintended consequence of Proposition 64’s criminal penalties must be addressed for the safety and security of San Bernardino County residents,” Cook wrote to the lawmakers in Sacramento. “I fully support Sheriff Dicus’ efforts on this issue, as well as the tough action he has already taken to crack down on illegal cultivation operations.”

Supervisors recently voted unanimously to levy fines of up to $10,000 per day on illegal growers and their property owners, plus criminal fines of up to $10,000 for illicit farms, all effective immediately, according to the statement.

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