Rural Counties Seek Environmental Penalties for Illegal Marijuana Cultivation

Washington, DC…Last month, California lawmakers, including Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and Congressmen Jared Huffman (D-North Coast), Mike Thompson (D-Napa), Sam Farr (D-Monterey), and Doug LaMalfa (R-Butte), submitted a letter calling on the U.S. Sentencing Commission to release legal guidelines on the environmental impacts of illegal marijuana cultivation.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission is responsible for creating sentencing procedures for federal courts.  Current guidelines do not strongly take into consideration the potential damage caused to the environment.  Illegal marijuana growth across rural California is harming forestland as well as destroying wildlife habitat and impacting water quality. The letter can be accessed here.

In a related matter, RCRC submitted a support letter for Representative Huffman’s H.R. 2735, known as theProtecting Lands Against Narcotics Trafficking Act of 2013 (PLANT Act), which aims to mandate many of the elements included in the joint letter to the U.S. Sentencing Commission from the bipartisan coalition of California Congressional members.  More specifically, the PLANT Act would require the U.S. Sentencing Commission to develop various penalties for environmental degradation associated with marijuana cultivation on federal public lands.  The PLANT Act is co-sponsored by Representatives Thompson, LaMalfa, and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado). The RCRC letter can be accessed here.

For additional information, please contact RCRC Legislative Analyst Randall Echevarria at 916.447.4806