More than a decade after launching a state-legal cannabis industry, America’s illicit cannabis market is still going strong. One of the objectives of legalizing marijuana was to draw clientele away from the black market and deprive the criminal organizations behind it of revenue from cannabis sales, but most states have failed to do major damage to illicit cannabis sales. To add insult to injury, a large percentage of illegal marijuana is grown on public land, and since cannabis is a water-intensive plant, these illegal grows tend to steal a lot of water as well.
In a bid to curb the use of public land to grow illicit cannabis, an influential House committee has backed the use of drones by law enforcement in California to spot these illicit grows. Attached to a spending bill for the state’s Department of the Interior and Environmental Efforts, a report by the House Appropriations Committee talks about illegal cannabis cultivation on public land owned by the federal government. Last year’s report also addressed illicit marijuana grows, but this is the first time the report has contained language about leveraging drone technology to deal with the issue.
The report stated that these illicit grows negatively impact the state’s public, water, soil and wildlife. Furthermore, it said that the committee supported efforts by the U.S. National Forest Service to develop tools that would assist in detecting and getting rid of these illegal grow sites. On drones, the committee wrote that it supported their use by the Department of the Interior, stating that it was firmly behind using drones to identify these sites and provide estimates for how much it would cost to reclaim them.
However, the report said that the department would first have to deal with concerns about domestic production, cybersecurity and technology. While it doesn’t expand on concerns about cybersecurity and technology, hundreds of Chinese-made drones were recently grounded by the federal government, partly because of cybersecurity risks. Regarding domestic production, the committee most likely wants to avoid cases of drones accidentally surveilling state-legal marijuana grows that happen to border public lands, such as the ones in Humboldt County.
The last month has seen several spending bills touching on wide-ranging, cannabis-related legislative issues advance including benefits for veterans working in the state-legal cannabis sector, regulations for CBD and hemp, and immigration eligibility for individuals who use or have used cannabis in the past.
Illicit marijuana sellers hurt the operations of licensed cannabis companies, so it wouldn’t be surprising if sector players such as Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) (OTCQB: PACRF) (FSE: 4XM) back the use of any means available in different jurisdictions to identify and destroy illegal grows.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) (OTCQB: PACRF) (FSE: 4XM) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://cnw.fm/PACR
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