RCRC supports Assembly Bill 2421, authored by Assembly Member Blanca Rubio (D- Baldwin Park), which would enhance local enforcement authority to prosecute and enjoin water theft as well as water pollution in order to combat water theft and illegal cannabis grows.
Rural counties are frequently the targets of large-scale illegal cannabis cultivation. The problems related to illegal cannabis cultivation, including water theft; trespass; hazardous waste due to the use of dangerous pesticides and fertilizers; trash and debris; and associated criminal activities have greatly increased in rural counties. Many of the communities plagued with illicit cannabis cultivation are in the midst of a drought emergency, reinforcing the need to protect this limited resource. Providing additional tools at the local level is an important step to protect public health and safety and to further discourage illicit cannabis operations, while strengthening the market for those who operate legally.
AB 2421 would amend the California State Water Code to provide authority to county counsels and city attorneys to civilly prosecute and enjoin water theft, and would amend the California Fish and Game Code to authorize county counsels to civilly prosecute and enjoin water pollution. By removing existing limitations on prosecutorial authority, the bill provides more tools for local governments to use against the harmful community impacts of illicit cannabis cultivation, particularly on our limited water resources.