Category Archives: cannabis

CDFW and State Water Boards to Present at Four Cannabis Permitting Workshops in Northern California

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) are extending outreach to the cannabis cultivating community with presentations at four permitting workshops in northern California.

The presentations are ideally suited for cannabis cultivators, consultants and anyone interested in the topic.

CDFW will address important areas such as how to begin the notification process, Lake and Streambed Alteration agreements, and limiting environmental impacts.

SWRCB will cover policy and permitting, and other important information. Computers will be available for applicants to apply for water rights and water quality permits.

Workshop attendees will have time to talk with agency staff about individual projects. In the coming months, more workshops will be announced throughout the state.

CDFW and SWRCB will present at the following venues:

Wednesday, Jan. 30
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (presentation at 10:30 a.m.)
Sonoma Lab Works
1201 Corporate Center Parkway
Santa Rosa
For more information, please visit: www.scgalliance.com/event/cannabis-cultivation-permitting-open-house/

Wednesday, Feb. 6
5 to 7 p.m. (presentation at 5:30 p.m.)
The Foothills Event Center
400 Idaho Maryland Road
Grass Valley
For more information, please visit: www.nccannabisalliance.org/calendar/water-board-fish-wildlife-water-rights-a-get-legit-workshop-2/

Tuesday, Feb. 26
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (presentation at 10:30 a.m.) – Free
North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
5550 Skyline Blvd. Suite A
Santa Rosa

Thursday, Feb. 28
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (presentation at 10:30 a.m.) – Free
Trinity County Fairgrounds
6000 CA-3
Hayfork

In addition, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will be at the Feb. 26 and 28 workshops. CDFA will provide an overview of the state’s cannabis cultivation licensing program and review the primary requirements for a cannabis farming license. Staff will also be available to answer questions.

CDFW encourages cannabis cultivators to obtain all necessary state licenses and county permits, as well as implement best management practices to reduce environmental impacts. Following these recommended actions can help cultivators avoid common pitfalls that may lead to enforcement actions.

To learn more about CDFW’s role in cannabis cultivation, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/cannabis or email AskCannabis@wildlife.ca.gov.

To learn more about SWRCB, please visit: www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/cannabis/.

Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891

CDFW and Partners Clean-Up Black Market Marijuana Grow in Orange County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Orange County Parks (OC Parks) completed a clean-up of a black market marijuana grow at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

The team clean-up effort was conducted in two phases (Dec. and Jan.) and removed approximately 3,120 pounds of trash, 1,500 feet of plastic irrigation piping, 24 ounces of pesticides as well as other forms of garbage that can be detrimental to the environment.

For the clean-up, OC Parks worked with a specialized hazmat contractor, Clean Harbors, to ensure the pesticide was removed and disposed of correctly. Through testing, the pesticide was confirmed to be carbofuran, a highly toxic and banned substance. Just a teaspoon can kill a 300-pound black bear.

“Protecting California’s natural resources takes commitment from federal, state, county and city entities. I commend all those that were involved in this effort to identify the black market grow, eradicate it and clean it up,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division. “Working together, we can protect the environment and help the permitted cannabis market thrive.”

During routine flights over Orange County with the National Guard’s Counter Drug Unit, CDFW spotted a black market marijuana grow. On Sept. 27, CDFW and Newport Beach Police Department conducted an eradication mission at the site. Attempts to apprehend the suspects were unsuccessful.

Officers eradicated 500 plants and confiscated 75 pounds of processed marijuana. The grow, when in full production, contained almost 1,500 plants. During the eradication, CDFW documented numerous environmental violations including streambed alterations, haphazard pesticides left on the property, trash within 150 feet of a waterway and a poached deer.

Between 2013 and 2018, CDFW has removed more than 2.4 million feet of irrigation pipe, 50 tons of fertilizer and 65 gallons of chemicals (many illegal in the U.S.) on black market grows. CDFW has also removed 709 dams and water diversions resulting in restoration of 800 million gallons of water back into local watersheds.

CDFW would like to remind the public to report environmental crimes such as water pollution, water diversions and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or by texting “CALTIP” followed by a space and whatever the desired message, to 847411 (tip411).

Media Contacts:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891

 

CDFW Shuts Down Black-Market Marijuana Grow in Trinity County

On Nov. 6, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) served a search warrant on a black-market marijuana cultivation operation at the 1700 block of Hidden Valley Road in Trinity County.

The property contained an unpermitted water diversion, water pollution violations, over 900 unprocessed growing marijuana plants and 5,069 pounds of untested black-market marijuana bud.

water tanks 2

During routine flights over Trinity County, CDFW observed more than 600 marijuana plants and numerous large water tanks with a large black irrigation hose leading into dense vegetation along a creek. CDFW verified that the grow was unlicensed by the state and unpermitted by the county. A record check on the property showed no CDFW Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement (LSAA) had been filed, no state license to grow marijuana and no attempt to legitimize the operation in the county.

CDFW’s Watershed Enforcement Team (WET), which includes a combination of law enforcement officers and scientific staff, inspected the property and detained 32 suspects. Some of the suspects were armed and wearing bullet proof vests. Two suspects had a fake police officer badge. Eleven were booked into Trinity County jail on multiple felony charges related to environmental crimes. The others were released.

Eleven Fish and Game Code violations were documented including a substantial water diversion from a tributary to the South Fork Trinity River, which provides critical breeding and juvenile rearing habitats for steelhead trout, Chinook Salmon, and several species of aquatic amphibians, including the Foothill yellow-legged frog, a candidate for state threatened species status.

The water diversion consisted of a large hose that was actively funneling water to multiple water storage tanks. Unpermitted water diversions like this are capable of dewatering streams during the summer months, which can reduce or eliminate the reproductive success of the aquatic species that rely on these habitats.

“Black-market grows prevent legitimized cultivators from thriving, harm California’s sensitive natural resources with diverted waterways and illegal pesticides and put untested cannabis products on the black-market,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division. “We support the legal cannabis market where cultivators obtain permits, take action to prevent environmental impacts and comply with applicable state and local laws.”

CDFW collaborated with the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, the Trinity County Environmental Health Department and the US Forest Service on the mission. CDFW would like to remind the public to report environmental crimes such as water pollution, water diversions and poaching to the 24/7 CalTIP hotline at (888) 334-2258.

Media Contacts:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 895-3988

 

CDFW and Partners Host Free Cannabis Permitting Workshops in Inland Empire

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) are hosting free cannabis permitting workshops in Palm Desert, Adelanto and Needles from December 4-6, 2018.

Workshops are open to cannabis cultivators, consultants and anyone interested in the topic.

The workshops include presentations from CDFW and SWRCB on the requirements and process of obtaining proper permits for cannabis grows. Workshop attendees will have time to talk with agency staff about individual projects. Representatives from the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division and county permitting and planning departments will also be available to answer questions.

The workshops will be held on the following dates:

Tuesday, Dec. 4
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (presentations at 10:30 a.m.)
Coachella Valley Association of Governments
73-710 Fred Waring Drive, Suite 115
Palm Desert, Calif. 92260

Wednesday, Dec. 5
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (presentations at 10:30 a.m.)
Adelanto Stadium
12000 Stadium Way
Adelanto, Calif. 92301

Thursday, Dec. 6
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (presentations at 10:30 a.m.)
El Garces Room
950 Front Street
Needles, Calif. 92363

For more information, please visit CDFW’s cannabis program webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/cannabis and the SWRCB cannabis program webpage at www.waterboards.ca.gov/cannabis.

Media Contacts:
Heather McIntire, CDFW Cannabis Program, (707) 210-4415
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 895-3988

Wildlife Officers Remove Cannabis Grow Site from CDFW Wildlife Area

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Law enforcement officers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently conducted a successful outdoor raid on a black-market marijuana cultivation site in the White Slough Wildlife Area in San Joaquin County. In all, wildlife officers removed approximately 1,700 plants at the site.

In the late summer, wildlife officers received information regarding a possible cultivation site. On Sept. 21, K-9 assisted teams from CDFW’s Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) arrested Fernando Garcia-Lizea, 25, of Lodi. The suspect was armed with a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. He was booked into San Joaquin County Jail on multiple felony charges.

After securing the site, officers from other CDFW Special Operations, as well as San Joaquin County Sheriff’s deputies, assisted in the eradication and cleanup of the site. MET officers discovered a bottle of toxic chemicals, along with a face mask and latex gloves used by the suspects. Though the label was mostly removed, officers determined the bottle likely contained cufuran, which is part of a family of banned, highly toxic poisons that are increasingly found at illegal grow sites and are lethal to wildlife even in the smallest doses.

CDFW established MET in 2013. The team’s primary duties include detection and apprehension of transnational criminal organization cartel suspects whose illegal cultivation of black-market marijuana poses an ever-growing public safety and environmental threat. The teams then work to rehabilitate the sites and attempt to restore the damaged habitat.

“These grows threaten the public, destroy habitat, pollute our lands and waterways, illegally divert water, and put unsafe and untested cannabis products on the black market that are frequently grown using toxic chemicals,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division.

CDFW collaborated with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office and the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office on the mission. CDFW would like to remind the public to be aware of their surroundings and report poaching and pollution information to the CDFW 24/7 CalTIP hotline at (888) 334-2258.

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Media Contacts:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692