California water regulators help target unlicensed marijuana grows

California water regulators are helping local law enforcement identify black-market cannabis growers, a move that could benefit licensed cultivators who are losing market share to illegal operators.

The Cannabis Enforcement Unit of the California State Water Resources Control Board is tipping off authorities to investigate marijuana growers who divert or pollute waterways, The Cannifornian reported.

Here’s what you need to know:
  • The program that goes after unlicensed companies who are having a negative impact on water sources began four years ago in Northern California and has since been expanded to the southern region of the state.
  • Environmental damage is a felony under California state law.
  • The water authority has helped law enforcement in about 20 criminal cases against cannabis farmers.
  • Illegal marijuana grows have been known to divert water from legitimate sources, and chemicals and fertilizer can seep into water supplies.

The news comes as California cannabis business owners are struggling to compete with unlicensed operators, which are undercutting legal firms on price.

A new cannabis consumer survey commissioned by California-based Eaze Solutions found that 18% of Golden State respondents made a cannabis purchase from an unlicensed business in the previous three months, and 84% of those are “highly likely” to buy from that source again “due to the illicit market having cheaper products and no tax.”

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3 comments on “California water regulators help target unlicensed marijuana grows
  1. Hastings RH on

    Legalization is a joke in Cali unless you are an oligarch. 85% of state relies on black market because compliance cost are unaffordable or impossible. Going after water will have zero impact. No wonder most politicians are viewed as the lowest form of scum..

    • DC on

      imo Oregon, Wa. and Ca. are setting up for a complete “oligarch” takeover by over licensing and looking the other way as unlicensed legal state growers flood states that aren’t legal. Oregon is sitting on over 2 million overstocked pounds while selling indoor ounces at $60. Washington is contemplating capping the output of all their Tiers but only in rhetoric. Its a joke. No state is treating this as a viable commodity as far as the non unionized growers are concerned. The prices keep on dropping and dropping which only plays into the hands of the Walmart weed producers that can withstand a decade of losses until only a few corporations control the entire west coast. Look for the cannabis companies that go public and don’t buy their products.

    • Pat on

      “No wonder most politicians are viewed as the lowest form of scum..”

      And, the most visible. Unfortunately, our waterways ( our political environment ) have become increasingly become polluted with it. Scum rises to the top. There aren’t enough tadpoles ( honest politicians/legislators/regulators ) out there to keep up, and to clean up the mess.

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