SCSO PR: Sheriff LaRue Calls on Governor Newsom to Establish Illegal Marijuana Cultivation Site Remediation

April 22nd, 2024

Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office FB page

The annual celebration of Earth Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the beauty of the natural world, as well as to consider what efforts we can make to better care for the places we call home. In Siskiyou County especially, we are blessed with breathtaking and diverse landscapes that attract thousands of visitors each year, supports a robust recreational and agricultural economy, and holds cultural and historical significance for many people. And while many residents of Siskiyou County have engaged in vigorous conservation and preservation efforts to keep our landscapes beautiful in perpetuity, the proliferation of illegal marijuana cultivation has significantly undermined these efforts and pose a serious threat to the health of our environment and our communities.

In the course of discovering and eradicating illegal marijuana cultivation operations, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement partners have seen firsthand the blatant disregard of environmental laws, from open trash and sewer pits, to banned pesticides, illegal dumping, and untold quantities of trash scattered across the landscape. The scale of the destruction and contamination at these sites is so extensive that meaningful cleanup efforts are cost prohibitive for the County, and outside financial assistance is necessary. We estimate that cleanup costs will be in the tens of millions of dollars to fully remediate the damage.

At risk is the water table, animals, soil, the health of the individual cultivators, as well as the surrounding agricultural and public lands. Yet, for a state that prides itself on strong environmental protections, the California State legislature and Governor Newsom have remained shockingly silent about the blatant environmental degradation caused by illegal marijuana cultivation.

Therefore, I call on Governor Newsom to establish a remediation fund for the cleanup of illegal marijuana cultivation sites on private lands. Simply stopping illegal marijuana production is not enough. The properties contaminated by those operations need to be rehabilitated, and property owners engaged in this criminal behavior cannot and will not fund such cleanup efforts on their own.

So take action this Earth Day by reaching out to Governor Newsom’s office and the State Legislature and request the establishment of a remediation fund that will support the total cleanup of these illegal marijuana cultivation sites. Together, let’s make Siskiyou County beautiful for generations to come.

Contact Governor Newsom here:

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