On Tuesday, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an urgency ordinance imposing stiffer fines on illegal marijuana cultivations in our area. Many of these illegal growers are tied to international cartels, threatening residents with physical violence, stealing our water and electricity, and dumping trash and poisonous chemicals into our delicate desert landscape.
Moving forward, anyone convicted of a misdemeanor for cannabis cultivation of up to 200 cannabis plants faces a fine of up to $1,000 for a first conviction, $1,500 for a second conviction and $3,000 for a third conviction.
Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor for operation of a commercial cannabis dispensary, delivery, manufacturing, transportation, distribution or cultivation with more than 200 cannabis plants faces a fine of up to $3,000 for a first conviction, $6,000 for a second conviction and $10,000 for a third conviction.
The urgency ordinance includes the same civil fines for property owners who may, or may not, live on the premises of an illegal marijuana cultivation.
We are hopeful that these fines will add as an additional deterrent as we continue the battle against this growing epidemic.
In related news, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus recently shared statistics regarding "Operation Hammer Strike." Since January 2021, the department has:
• Identified 1,085 Pending Illegal Grows
• Served 272 Search Warrants
• Discovered 35 Illegal Bypass Grows
• Made 251 Arrests (39 Felony & 212 Misdemeanor)
• Seized 52 Firearms
• Seized 404,598 Illegal Marijuana Plants Valued at Approximately $242,758,800
• Seized 21,029 Pounds of Processed Illegal Marijuana, Valued at Roughly $25,234,800
• Seized $129,056 in U.S. Currency
I would like to personally thank all of our hardworking law enforcement personnel, District Attorney's staff, land use services, and code enforcement agents who have been tirelessly working on behalf of our constituents to address this important issue.