Leaders host forum on illegal cannabis grow operations


News Release 

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and Sheriff Alex Villanueva, along with Rep. Mike Garcia, state Sen. Scott Wilk, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, an FBI special agent and a group of subject matter experts from the public and private sectors spoke at a Leona Valley community forum about their efforts to combat illegal cannabis. 

“I want illegal growers to know this: You are not welcome here,” said Barger, whose district covers northern Los Angeles County, including the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys. “I will do all that is within my power to stop illegal cannabis growth operations.”  

According to news release from Barger’s office, hundreds of marijuana farms have appeared since the legalization of cannabis in 2016. This is especially prominent in the Antelope Valley and remote eastern portions of the SCV, where marijuana farms were seen in desert vegetation and in houses that were rented or purchased by growers for the purpose of holding marijuana crops.  

One of the past efforts to combat illegal cannabis happened in October, when the Board of Supervisors approved $4.9 million for the Sheriff’s Department to combat illegal grows in the Antelope Valley and illegal dispensaries in unincorporated areas countywide. In addition, this month, Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Barger introduced a county nuisance abatement ordinance that would impose fines up to $30,000 per day against illegal marijuana dispensaries and illegal marijuana farms 

At the forum on Saturday, Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, said he was thankful for Barger and Villanueva for their efforts to combat the illegal marijuana grows, and added that, “more work remains, and we can’t take our foot off the gas pedal. Eradicating these grows remains a top priority for me and I will continue to do all I can to ensure that we fully combat this problem and keep our community safe.” 

Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, said that successfully combating illegal marijuana will not be a one-person effort. “If we are to be successful in tackling these illegal operations, it is going to take a concerted and coordinated effort by federal, local and state agencies.” 

Lackey, R-Palmdale, reinforced the importance of supporting this effort. “Whether you’re in favor of protecting the environment, protecting public health, or protecting public safety, we must do whatever we can to shut these operations down. Now is the time to act.” 

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