California is now coming up with a strategy to stop illegal cannabis cultivation while promoting the legal cannabis space.
According to California Globe, the rest of the state could follow in the footsteps of a few California counties, imposing higher penalties and fines in order to drive out illicit cannabis cultivation of cannabis. San Bernardino is sponsoring California Assemblyman Thurston Smith’s bill, which it hopes to pass measures that are similar to the county regulations the Board of Supervisors passed last December that’ll become enforceable across the state.
California typically follows two different approaches to stop the growing illicit trade. This includes increasing civil penalties for illegal cultivation or easing the road to the legal market.
Lawmakers are finally confronting the realities that legal cultivators have had to deal with for a long time The costs and regulations for legal products are so burdensome that the state has massive barriers to entry. Meanwhile, penalties for cultivating illegally are minimal.
Local governments, as well as government, and possibly even the state, are imposing massive civil penalties to slow down the growth of cultivation that is illegal.
“California law on cannabis crimes lacks serious penalties,” said San Bernardino Supervisor Dawn Rowe vice-chair of the Board of Supervisors in a press announcement. “If one grows 7,700 that is, 70,000 marijuana plants, without having a license, the penalty is exactly the same: it’s an infraction that is a misdemeanor. State law requires real penalties to stop large-scale illegal cannabis farms, or rural Californians will suffer for the rest of their lives.”
San Bernardino’s laws cover the cultivation of illegal marijuana; making and selling related goods; and distribution or delivery of goods and renting property to non-licensed cannabis businesses. Fines range from $1,000 to $10,000 for those with repeat offenses.
Property owners may be fined up to $10,000 per day and must pay the cost of cleaning up the mess that is left after farms have been raided. Anyone found guilty of operating an illegal dispensary or distribution could also be sentenced to jail.
As per Director Dawn Rowe, the money from the huge fines collected by the county will assist in the cleanup of the growing. The county’s ordinance allows the debris left behind to be declared to be a public nuisance, and is subject to “abatement and discarding” instead of becoming a source of pollution.