Yuba County may declare state of emergency over cannabis cultivation | TheUnion.com

Yuba County may declare state of emergency over cannabis cultivation

Jake Abbott
Special to The Union

Yuba County officials say the county has never seen so much growth. But they're talking about illegal cannabis cultivation sites.

That situation combined with the fact that the county doesn't have the resources to combat the "unprecedented proliferation" in grow sites, is why the Board of Supervisors will consider proclaiming a local emergency at a special meeting today.

"At the beginning of the new year, we are looking at full implementation of legalization efforts across California, so the board wanted to get in front of that with this proclamation," said Russ Brown, public information officer for the county. "Many counties, especially the smaller ones, are strapped for resources to handle this, even before legalization went into effect."

By declaring a state of emergency, the county would essentially allows itself an opportunity to seek additional financial resources — through both state and federal funds — to help combat a particular issue.

Supervisors will consider the proclamation for cannabis cultivation at a special meeting scheduled 9 a.m. today at the Yuba County Government Center, 915 Eighth St., Marysville.

Brown said the main problem the county has experienced with marijuana grows is with compliance, or the lack thereof. He said there has been almost zero compliance by growers in the county. Other issues include the illegal diversion of water, the type of chemicals being used at the grows and just the sheer size of some of the grows in the county, he said.

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"It's not just code enforcement struggling to find the resources, it's also law enforcement. That's just the reality many small counties face," Brown said. "We are doing the best we can, but it's really straining."

According to the proclamation, the "State of Emergency" is necessary because all local and regional resources have been exhausted, and the issue can only be mitigated with outside help due to the "organized crime, interstate characteristics, nature, magnitude, and multi-billion dollar funding mechanisms that supports cannabis crime networks in the county."

The county already has emergency proclamations for things like tree mortality, flood waters, historic rainfall and the Oroville spillway incident.

The county's most recent State of Emergency declaration was established due to the Cascade Fire and its public health concerns. Brown said the declaration helped the county bring in clean-up crews to help clear some of the toxic chemicals and health hazards brought by the fire.

Jake Abbott is a reporter for the Marysville Appeal Democrat. He can be reached at jabbott@appealdemocrat.com

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