CALIFORNIA: Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed into law a measure allowing steep civil fines against marijuana farms that damage the environment by dumping wastewater and chemicals, removing trees and killing wild animals.
The measure, one of 16 bills signed by the governor Friday, is meant to expand the powers of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife at a time when illegal marijuana operations are expanding significantly.
Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) introduced the measure based on concern that since California voters approved medical marijuana use in 1996, the number of illegal growing operations in state parklands and forests has increased.
Last year, state agents participated in nearly 250 raids on illegal marijuana operations in which 609,480 marijuana plants were eradicated and 15,839 pounds of processed marijuana was seized.