California National Guard not yet redeployed to combat illegal marijuana farms

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California marijuana, California National Guard not yet redeployed to combat illegal marijuana farms

California Gov. Gavin Newsom alarmed many Northern California cannabis growers during his state of the state address in February when he announced 150 National Guard troops serving at the U.S.-Mexico border would redeploy, in part, to “go after illegal cannabis farms.”

But so far, the troops in question have not yet redeployed.

Instead, they are awaiting federal funds requested by Newsom in February to finance their assignments to specific Counterdrug Task Force missions, a California National Guard spokesman told Marijuana Business Daily this week.

Perhaps more important, Lt. Col. Thomas Keegan of the Guard’s public affairs office clarified that the new troops’ priority will be eliminating so-called trespass grows on public lands, not farms on private lands that may not comply with state law.

That was a question that went unanswered in February when MJBizDaily sought clarification on the scope of the troops’ new mission.

“There’s some on private lands,” Keegan said, “but the ones on public lands that have the adverse environmental impact and a threat to civilian population – that’s where our resources are focused.

“(Farmers) who are doing it the right way – or even attempting to do it the right way, complying with the laws to the best of your ability – they shouldn’t worry about the California National Guard.”

There was a recent large-scale raid on an illegal MJ grow in Riverside County where the National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force assisted local law enforcement, but Keegan said that was an instance in which the perpetrators were “completely outside what’s regulated by state law.”

The governor’s office did not respond to follow-up questions about how much funding the National Guard requested or if there was any indication from the Pentagon as to when those funds may become available.

John Schroyer can be reached at