Law Enforcement Says Hunters At Risk From Marijuana Growers


Photo: Randy Pench/Sacramento Bee
A special agent with the Bureau of Land Management looks at marijuana plants illegally growing on BLM land in El Dorado County, California.

​​California’s public lands are overrun with medical marijuana growing operations, guarded by armed crews toting powerful weaponry — and hunters are at risk, according to a law enforcement panel including game wardens and a Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement task force commander.

The message came Sunday during the 24th International Sportsmen’s Exposition at Cal Expo in Sacramento, reports Loretta Kalb of The Sacramento Bee.
The Mexican drug cartels have turned to California for their operations that now supply much of the United States with weed, according to the panelists.

Photo: Randy Pench/Sacramento Bee
A DEA agent looks over a camp where marijuana growers stayed while raising their illegal crop on public land in El Dorado County.

​As a result, these operations are “an increasing threat” to outdoor enthusiasts, sportsmen and women, and any other passers-by who might not recognize the “danger signals,” which, according to the panel, include trash, irrigation equipment and stream diversions.
The panel claimed that illicit growers use fertilizers for plant growth and chemicals to kill any animals that typically inhabit the area — hey, just like commercial U.S. factory farming! Runoff then pollutes nearby streams and can affect downstream sources of drinking water.
Nancy Foley, chief of the Law Enforcement Division of the California Department of Fish and Game, called illegal marijuana cultivation “the number one destroyer of habitat in the United States.”
State Fish and Game Warden Lt. John Nores Jr., co-author of a new book, War In The Woods: Combating The Marijuana Cartels On America’s Public Lands, agreed and claimed the problems go well beyond public safety.
“We are talking about the degradation of California resources in the most pristine areas in a most egregious fashion,” Nores said.
Nores’s co-author, James Swan, who was panel moderator, said that marijuana plant confiscations from illegal growing operations nearly tripled in a three-year period between 2006 and 2009.
Marijuana operations in 2009 occurred in 40 of California’s 58 counties, according to The Bee, and exceeded the state of Washington’s contraband marijuana crop eightfold.
That year, the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), California’s notoriously thuggish and corrupt task force of nine state and federal law enforcement agencies, reported a 1.1 million-plant increase over 2008.
“It gets worse every year,” said Captain Obvious, I mean Richard Camps, task force commander for the state attorney general’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.
Here’s hoping that the panel’s alarmist rhetoric doesn’t result in a tragedy. Frightened, sometimes intoxicated, heavily armed hunters may be ready to blow away anyone who remotely resembles a “drug smuggler” after hearing this stuff.
Even sadder, the whole mess could be fixed by ending marijuana prohibition. Legal cannabis crops wouldn’t have to be grown on public land.