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Home > News > News Articles > 2015 > April > Policy Summit on Environmental Impacts and Public Safety Issues Arising from Illegal Marijuana Grow
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Policy Summit on Environmental Impacts and Public Safety Issues Arising from Illegal Marijuana Grow Sites Scheduled Next Week

RSVP by Wednesday, April 28

April 24, 2015
The League of California Cities is holding a policy summit on illegal marijuana grows and the significant environmental and public safety impacts as a result of the adopted 2014 resolution brought to the League’s General Assembly by the Redwood Empire Division.
The summit is scheduled for April 29 in the State Capitol from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Illegal marijuana grows are now occurring throughout California. The associated impacts are at the landscape level on both private and public lands. The cumulative effects are far-reaching as growers blatantly divert water streams, destroy habitat, and diminish efforts to recover state and federally listed endangered species. These expanding activities pose greater risks to public safety and are leaving behind a legacy of environmental hazards without any fiscal or regulatory tools to restore the damage to both our communities and wildlife.
Cities in certain areas of the state have grappled with the impacts of illicit marijuana grows for decades. However, the environmental and related public safety threats have grown exponentially in recent years. Located within the Redwood Empire Division is the “Emerald Triangle” which has become infamous for marijuana production. Today these activities span well beyond the borders of the division and have escalated to an issue of statewide concern.
Not to be forgotten, the Redwood Empire Division continues to grieve the loss of Fort Bragg city council member, Jere Melo. Council member Melo was murdered on Aug. 27, 2011 while investigating an illegal marijuana grow. He was an exceptional leader in the region, the League and statewide.
The division’s resolution seeks to address the devastating environmental impacts of illegal marijuana grows on both private and public lands throughout California and the rising threat to public safety relating to these illegal sites.

Policy Summit Details

The League will be hosting a “Special Policy Summit: Environmental Impacts and Public Safety Issues Arising from Illegal Marijuana Grow Sites on Wednesday," April 29 from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. in State Capitol, Room 127.
This summit will gather distinguished experts on the environment, local government and public safety to discuss the significant environmental impacts and public safety challenges resulting from illegal marijuana grow sites in California.
Dr. Mourad Gabriel, the keynote, will speak about the rippling effects of these trespass grows. Marijuana cultivation, whether trespass grows on public or tribal lands or the cultivation on private lands, has significant impacts on California’s natural resources. These ecological impacts run deep and wide in many ways and add more burden to the state’s currently strained natural resources. Impacts range from the malicious poisoning of federal and state-listed wildlife species with banned and restricted-use pesticides, poaching of game, illegal water diversions, habitat destruction, and the contamination of water and soil. 
In addition, illegal marijuana cultivation has desecrated culturally and spiritually significant tribal lands as well as endangered the health of law enforcement and the public from the indiscriminate use of hazardous chemicals. It cost Californians millions of dollars in both wildland fire suppression directly attributed to trespass marijuana cultivation as well as the increased cost to conduct publically funded research and conservation projects on these lands.
Other speakers include:
  • Cris Carrigan, director of the Office of Enforcement, California State Water Board
  • Scott Bauer, senior environmental scientist, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • DeWayne Little, lieutenant, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Mark Imsdahl, warden, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Chris Dewey, police chief, city of Ukiah
  • John D’Agostini, sheriff, El Dorado County 
Please RSVP to Melissa Lienau by Tuesday, April 28. 
If you have questions, please contact Sara Rounds at (916) 658-8243.

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