Marijuana grows devastating to area resources

The invasion of the Mexican drug cartel-driven marijuana grows in this valley (see story, page 1) is a most serious matter and should be disturbing to all of us.

The fact that this would all happen in plain view causes one to wonder – is anybody watching?

The existence of these farms was brought to the attention of the News Review several weeks ago. Since we were in communication with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, we delayed publishing the photographs we had of several mature marijuana grows. Because investigations were active, we did not want to interfere prematurely.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Sheriff Donny Youngblood for moving in on the growers and dismantling several operations.

The News Review’s efforts to get the attention of Kern County 1st District Supervisor Philip Peters and other IWV Groundwater Authority members have been fruitless. Of no small concern is the amount of water they pump out of the basin to grow these marijuana crops. My understanding is these plants have a high water demand.

Since the GA is bringing down the hammer on big users like Searles Valley Minerals and Mojave Pistachios, these illegal activities warrant more attention. As ratepayers are paying more and more water fees, this appears to be a great disparity.

Acres and acres of these farms have been spotted in the area. Carbofuran and other dangerous pesticide chemicals have been found at these marijuana sites, which could cause irreparable damage to our soil and groundwater.

Adding to that, with the dismantling of the sites, we have excessive amounts of trash, plastic sheeting and other debris blowing across the desert.

We all need to take responsibility and be the eyes and ears for law enforcement by reporting any information about these threats to our valley.

–Patricia Farris, publisher

Story First Published: 2021-07-02