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Federal agents, wiretapping and ‘address database’ among tools lawmakers want to combat illegal cannabis grows in High Desert

Evolving plan laid out during meeting in Lucerne Valley ahead of San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors vote on ordinance that would increase monetary penalties for violators

Republican lawmakers are pursuing new policing tools in the High Desert and a rollback of California’s cannabis decriminalization as part of a crackdown they say will target illegal farms “in a way we never have” — including by enlisting federal agents, creating a multi-county “address database,” seizing property and wiretapping.

Federal, state and county officials spoke to an audience of around 250 people Tuesday night, Aug. 3, at a meeting hosted by the Lucerne Valley Economic Development Association in the local high school’s gymnasium. Included among the speakers were U.S. Rep. Jay Obernolte, 33rd District state Assemblyman Thurston “Smitty” Smith and state Sen. Shannon Grove, who was the Republican minority leader in her chamber until this year.

The meeting centered around illegal cannabis grows, which residents and law enforcement officials say are springing up at a rising rate in the High Desert with a specific concentration in communities like Lucerne Valley, Barstow and Hinkley.

Obernolte — the U.S. House of Representatives member for many in San Bernardino, Mono and Inyo counties — said he introduced an amendment to the federal budget that would shift an additional $25 million in taxpayer funds this year to the Drug Enforcement Administration “for the express purpose of aiding local law enforcement” in crackdowns on illegal cannabis.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Charlie McGee on Victorville Daily Press

Published: August 10, 2021

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