California state senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) has sent a letter to Governor Brown requesting that a state of emergency be declared in Siskiyou County due to an alarming number of illegal marijuana grows.Photo courtesy Senator Ted Gaines
Senator Gaines says there are not enough sheriff's deputies in Siskiyou County to deal with the people responsible for the illegal pot grows, so he is hoping the governor will send in California National Guard troops deal with the situation.
Among the complaints the senator says he has received from constituents in Siskiyou County are concerns for public safety and damage to the environment. Gaines says people have gone missing in remote areas of the county, water supplies are being tainted with illegal chemicals used at the grow sites, and the sheriff of the county has even been offered a million dollar bribe to look the other way regarding the grows. That bribe allegedly came from a gang member.
The senator says the people responsible for the illegal pot grows are not interested in the restraints of Proposition 64, which is the California ballot measure approved by that allows for the legalization of recreational cannabis cultivation and commerce.
The full letter sent to the governor is available below.
Dear Governor Brown:
I am writing to urge you to declare a State of Emergency in Siskiyou County to address the public health and public safety consequences resulting from the proliferation of illegal marijuana cultivation in the county.
All laws regarding legal marijuana cultivation are being ignored by individual criminals, crime syndicates and drug cartels, who are treating the public and private lands of Siskiyou County as their own illicit greenhouse, harming citizens, law enforcement personnel, and the agricultural community.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office, despite outstanding leadership, has simply too few officers to effectively police such a vast geographic area on its own and is in desperate need of any and all assistance the state could provide, including deployment of California National Guard personnel to assist them in their mission to stamp out illegal grows.
The illegal grows are also notorious polluters and are doing grave damage to California's environment, with indiscriminate use of toxic pesticides and rodenticides that are not monitored by California's regulatory authorities. This unchecked use of dangerous chemicals is corrupting our soil and water, in addition to poisoning animals in and around the illegal grow sites.
A recent study estimated that illegal grows on National Forest lands statewide (not exclusively Siskiyou County) contain "731,000 pounds of solid fertilizer, 491,000 ounces of concentrated liquid fertilizer and 200,000 ounces of toxic pesticides." The waste is so concentrated that numerous law enforcement personnel have been hospitalized through exposure.
Workers at the illegal grows are also exposed to unhealthy levels of toxic chemicals and may suffer adverse health consequences as a result.
Siskiyou County ranchers are imperiled by the polluted water resulting from illegal grows and are also victimized by marijuana growers' water theft. This illegitimate industry is now threatening a legal industry that has been operating in the area for more than a century.
I recently took a helicopter tour to view illegal marijuana grows in Siskiyou County and was shocked by the scale of the activity. The grows are vast and numerous, and it's indicative of a community that is overrun by unlawful behavior, and of a criminal class that is in complete contempt of the law.
That is both sad and dangerous, and if left unchecked the explosion of illegal grows will continue to exhaust local law enforcement, threaten agriculture, and destroy communities.
The county has suffered under a rapidly accelerating spread of criminal marijuana growing operations. It is incumbent on state government to address this issue that has overwhelmed local government resources. I look forward to your prompt action on this matter.
TED GAINESSenator, 1st District
cc: Major General David S. Baldwin,the Adjunct General of the California Military Department Secretary John Laird, California Resources Agency Secretary Matthew Rodriquez, California Environmental Protection Agency