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California Environmental Agencies Begin Cannabis Enforcement Season in 2022

By Hunter Dublin | July 13, 2022

The California Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Cannabis Control, and the State Water Resources Control Board have initiated a 2022 enforcement campaign to address the environmental impacts of cannabis growing.

California environmental authorities have begun its 2022 enforcement campaign to combat the environmental hazards of cannabis growing. California's Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), and State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) are part of the enforcement plan, which is aimed at protecting "priority watersheds and areas with sensitive habitat and/or threatened or endangered species," according to a press release from the agencies.

The agencies note that California is still experiencing drought conditions and that illegal cannabis cultivation diverts water and pollutes streams and rivers, which "has significant physical, biological, and chemical impacts that extend into the surrounding habitat, detrimental not only to the fish and wildlife species relying on the body of water itself, but also flora and fauna in the surrounding area that depend on the adjacent habitat for feeding, reproduction, and shelter."

Interim cannabis program director Sarah Paulson stated that the CDFW "completely supports" the legal cannabis market but that as California enters its second year of drought, safeguarding the state's natural resources is "more vital than ever."

Violators of the legislation, according to David Bess, CDFW deputy director and chief of the Law Enforcement Division, "will face enforcement measures."

Just this month, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board penalized three unlicensed Humboldt County producers $209,687 for allegedly discharging sediment into Mad River tributaries.

The enforcement program is supported by cannabis-derived taxes and fees stated in Proposition 64, which legalized adult use of cannabis in California.


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