SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An alarming increase in the use of a highly toxic and banned pesticide at illegal marijuana farms hidden on public land in California is leading U.S. and state officials to team up on an issue that recently divided them: pot.
They announced Tuesday that they will use $2.5 million in federal money to target illegal grows even as they remain at odds over the drug and other issues. Federal law still bans pot, but U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said he will prioritize illegal weed rather than going after the world’s largest legal recreational marijuana market, a decision U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has left to the discretion of top federal prosecutors.
“The reality of the situation is there is so much black market marijuana in California that we could use all of our resources going after just the black market and never get there,” Scott said.
“So for right now, our priorities are to focus on what have been historically our federal law enforcement priorities: interstate trafficking, organized crime and the federal public lands,” said Scott, whom President Donald Trump appointed last year as U.S. attorney of inland California, from Bakersfield northward.
Most of illegally grown California pot is destined for Midwestern and Eastern states where it is more profitable. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and others referred to the illegal grows as California’s new Gold Rush, bringing both riches and environmental devastation.