Contact

Rich McIntyre, Project Director

​​208-309-1486

rich@cgovpartnership.org

Jackee Riccio, Regional Field Director

860-335-7241

jackee@cgovpartnership.org

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© 2023 by Community Governance Partnership

FACTS & RESOURCES

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

Illegal cannabis grows on CA public lands, known as “trespass grows”, constitute one of the leading issues threatening California’s wildlife, communities, and public land users. Trespass grows, 90% of which are controlled by drug trafficking organizations, contain copious amounts of illegal pesticides and herbicides that contaminate water, poison wildlife and people that come in contact with these grows, threaten tribes and disadvantaged communities dependent on natural resource economies, and reduce access to public lands for jobs, gatherings, and recreation.  Arguably, illegal cannabis production on public lands may be the largest near-term threat to native species, communities, and ecosystems in much of California.

Some species, such as the Humboldt marten and Pacific fisher, are candidate species for ESA listing largely as a function of this illegal activity. Rodenticides are now found in 95% of Mountain lions statewide, 85% of fishers are exposed to one or more toxicants, and California spotted owls (ESA listed) have a 70% exposure rate. Biologists conservatively attribute the deaths of many hundreds of predators, including black bears, bobcats and raptors to banned Bromadiolone and Brodifacoum. Over 40% of water samples showed serious contamination from this activity, with downstream impacts. 

North Fork Trinity River, Trinity Alps 

Key native fish streams are dewatered to irrigate cannabis grows, accelerating the demise of endangered fish such as Coho salmon and Steelhead. Benthic invertebrates, the base of the aquatic food chain, show 100% exposure in tested streams near trespass grows. The 320 Sensitive, Threatened and Endangered Species that inhabit California public lands are at immediate risk from the impacts of illegal cannabis production. Lacking regulatory oversight, these grows are a clear and present threat to ecosystems, communities, and users of public land.

The primary goal of the CROP Project is to greatly increase the state and federal resources to remove trespass grows on the national forests of Northern California. The key objective is to secure funding for local and regional NGOs to conduct collaborative reclamations, along with additional funding to place more Forest Service law enforcement on the ground. This will effectively reduce exposure rates of toxic pesticides and insecticides to communities downstream or near trespass grows, users of public land, as well as reduce wildlife poisonings.

The secondary goal of the project is a statewide, PSA campaign to educate on the dangers of ingesting untested, illicit cannabis, in both English and Spanish to dissuade prospective workers from exposing themselves to the same toxicants pushing threatened and endangered species to the brink.

WATER

NATIONAL FOREST

 

  • 60% of all water in California originates from National Forests (NF)

  • An average outdoor cannabis plant consumes 600-1200 gallons/yr

  • More than 9 billion gallons of water annually are illegally diverted for trespass grows, or 27,600 acre feet (enough for nearly 30,000 homes)

  • Decreased water for downstream deliveries to Tribes and communities

  • Decreased water for fisheries and timber production

  • Watershed diversion from trespass grows can account for 23-50% of total surface flow 

  • CA has 45 million acres of public land, including 20 million acres of National Forest (NF) 

  • 40-70% of CA's illicit market is from trespass grows

  • Over 1/3 of total CA production is on NF

  • 52% increase in illicit production on NF in 2016

  • Law enforcement estimates only 1 in 5 plants are eradicated annually

  • 3 million plants eradicated from NF since 2016

  • 23 million plants eradicated from NF since 2000

  • In 2018, 90% of reclaimed trespass grows contained illegal, highly toxic pesticides

WILDLIFE
  • Use of highly restricted, and often banned, neurotoxic Bromodialone rodenticide and Sarin based Malathion in extensive use on trespass grows

  • Many animals tested in the vicinity of grow sites show up to four toxic compounds in their blood

  • 80% of Pacific fishers tested in California's national forests have high levels of rodenticide

  • 22 radio-collared fishers found dead from rodenticide and Sarin poisoning

  • 100% of Pacific fishers in Plumas National Forest tested positive

  • 85% of Mountain lions statewide have high levels of rodenticide

  • 80% of Barred owls tested in 4 NF have high levels of rodenticide

  • 70% of Spotted owls tested in 4 NF have high levels of rodenticide

  • 100% of benthic invertebrates show high levels of toxins in Plumas and Tahoe national forest streams

  • Extensive dewatering of streams leading to extensive mortality of anadromous and other native fish, most listed under the Endangered Species Act

  • Substantial but unknown mortality of black bears, bobcats, coyotes, martens, mountain lions and other predators from intentional poisoning or from consuming contaminated wildlife

CROP MATERIALS

Trespass Grow Facts
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Cannabis Industry Support
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