Rural CA Communities Remain Weary of Illicit Cannabis Farms
The legalization of recreational marijuana in the year 2016 was supposed to mean that the regulation of marijuana sales would stifle the market for illegal weed and generate substantial revenue for the government.
KCRW reported that the cannabis market that is operating in the shadows has increased to an alarming extent and triggered a fresh cycle of violence, organized crime, and environmental destruction, abuse, and even deaths. The market for illicit cannabis has affected California cannabis farmers.
“The damage that I saw is huge in traditional cannabis growing communities where legacy growers are struggling to stay afloat or just dropping out completely and giving up,” says LA Times investigative reporter Paige St. John.
St. John says organized criminal organizations, such as the ones that originate from New York, Milwaukee, Mexico, and China are encroaching on law enforcement agencies with a huge amount of greenhouses, automated weapons, and even workforces. They’re frightening locals with their stores in areas such as the Mojave Desert, and the hay fields and forests of the Emerald Triangle near the California-Oregon border.
“I was surrounded by people who wouldn’t communicate with me from their yards. We had to enter the house, and they even spoke in whispered voices, because they didn’t want the business next door to be aware that they were speaking to reporters.”
She also says that some residents are afraid to even venture into their backyards or behind fences, to avoid becoming the victims of crime, such as burglaries at home and kidnappings, and even murders.