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County Budget Includes $3M to Combat Illegal Marijuana Grows, and $2.5M for Body Cameras

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Tuesday's Board of Supervisors Meeting was extremely productive, and I'm pleased to report that the County's 21-22 budget will include $10.2 million across multiple agencies to fight the 850+ illegal marijuana grows plaguing our First and Third District communities. 

The Board of Supervisors also approved a resolution urging the state to increase criminal penalties for illegal marijuana cultivation.

Approximately $3 million of the budget will go directly to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, and $1 million will go toward crime suppression operations right here in the High Desert.

"We were able to keep up with the (illegal marijuana cultivation) workload in the beginning, but it's been increasing at a rate that we can no longer keep up with," said Sheriff John McMahon. "We have to do more, and this budget will allow us to do that. We will be able to increase from one 5-member Marijuana Enforcement Team to five teams, in addition to staffing up our gang intelligence and gang enforcement teams."

"Simply going after growers criminally is not going to solve the problem until we can get the change from a misdemeanor to a felony," he added. "To be honest, a $500 fine is not deterring this criminal behavior."

In addition to funding resources to combat illegal marijuana grows, the Board approved $2.5 million to purchase body cams for every deputy in the Sheriff’s Department.

Finally, an additional $2 million was approved toward physical/mental health funds for County Correctional Facilities, including the addition of two extra staff members (Dental Assistant and Radiologic Technologist II) at the High Desert Detention Center.

Watch the video of Sheriff John McMahon