Out go the pines and in comes pot. California’s hillside farmers plant marijuana where Ponderosas once grew. Intended for medical use, of course, the pot plants take precedence over environmental concerns.
Finding profit in pot, Butte County farmers don’t bother with permits to grow their cash crop. Nor do they worry about chemically laden runoff that sours water reservoirs below. They care least about the environment they ruined when clear-cutting pine trees and carving deeply into the hills. Flat rows for growing and capturing both sunshine and water enable cannabis crops to thrive.
“Where’s the Sierra Club when you need it?” said CA Assemblyman Dan Logue, according to the Merced Sun-Star. A Republican whose district includes Butte County, Logue loathes environmentalists who wave the flag of “green” selectively. California over-regulates business and over-manages all things “eco,” while the cannabis business grows on without check.
Back in 1996, Proposition 215 authorized the growing of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Since then, farmers growing the plants are nowhere to be seen when law enforcers appear for a visit. Rather, doctors’ notices certifying the farmers’ crops as “215-Marijuana-for-Medical” are posted on the hillsides. Who can argue with a signpost, never mind arrest one?
Butte County is not exactly ready to eradicate its pot-growing business. While Californians are leaving the state for better business in Texas and Florida, entrepreneurs from Texas and Florida flock to California for better weather conditions to grow the weed. Medical marijuana is not legal in Texas or Florida, but business booms for the growers in Butte.
Big money involved in the business, along with the questionable disposition of the crop for medical use, make environmental enforcement lax at best. Cannabis growers get a pass on regulations while farms that raise food crops or timber are scrutinized, cited, and fined for infringements.
Water Board Director, Pamela Creed, offered in the Merced Sun-Star article this explanation for the lack of attention to the pot plantings: “Our [environmental] enforcement staff are not peace officers [nor trained] to deal with the…issues related to site visits. We simply cannot put staff in harm’s way.” The same staff had no problem shutting down almond and grape growers owing to foul water runoff from their terraced lands. Eco officers don’t deal with thugs.
Assemblyman Dan Logue is all for bringing business back to California but not the kind that goes to growing pot. While California’s Democrat assemblymen continue to promote the production of marijuana — the medicinal kind or otherwise — Logue votes against legislative measures that legitimize pot-promoting enterprises.