California Emerald Triangle
Long Story Short
Cops who are trying to crack down on the illegal cannabis scene in California’s Emerald Triangle have their work cut out for them. There are just too many illegal grow operations in the region. But now, California law enforcement is taking a different approach. They’re shifting their focus away from busting illegal pot growers for breaking cannabis laws. Instead, they’re now trying to bust illegal growers for violating a variety of zoning, construction, and farming codes.
The Emerald Triangle
The Emerald Triangle is a region in northern California that’s famous for producing tons of cannabis. It includes Humboldt County, Mendocino County, and Trinity County. Combined, these counties provide a huge proportion of all of California’s cannabis.
And most of it is illegal. Cannabis growing has been popular in the Emerald Triangle since the 1960s when hippies started settling there. But after California legalized medical cannabis things starting blowing up, many people used the new medical cannabis laws, (which allow patients to grow a certain number of plants) as a cover for their grow operations.
But the fact remains that most grows in the area are illegal. Many of them illegally use National Forest land, many of them use water taken from nearby rivers, and most of the herb they produce enters the cannabis black market and gets shipped all over the country.
New Policing Methods
For decades law enforcement in the region has tried to crack down on all this illegal cannabis activity. Traditionally, they’ve relied on pursuing criminal charges for breaking marijuana laws. But California cops are saying that route can take too long and is too unproductive.
So now they’re changing up their approach. Earlier this year, Humboldt County passed a new law that requires cannabis growers to meet the same regulations that other farmers do.
This change essentially gives law enforcement another angle to use in their efforts to crack down on weed growers. Now they can bust them simply for violating agricultural codes.
Officials in Humboldt County aren’t stopping there. They’re also using zoning laws, construction codes, and a variety of environmental codes to catch illegal growers.
All of this has given law enforcement more ammo to use in their efforts to crack down on illegal pot growers. They can now shut down grow operations not only for breaking cannabis laws, but also for violating construction codes, farming codes, and environmental codes.
The Changing Face Of Cannabis Cultivation
But according to some officials, the goal isn’t necessarily to get rid of cannabis farming altogether. Some said the goal is to encourage legal commercial growers to move into the Emerald Triangle.
These officials hope that legal growers will be more responsible. They can also make big economic impacts. Legal cannabis farming has given new economic life to struggling towns in other parts of California.
California is one of five states set to vote on new cannabis laws this fall. If cannabis becomes legal in California, it changes the growing scene in the Emerald Triangle.