Los Angeles County officials agreed on Tuesday, Oct. 5, to spend $5 million to crack down on illegal cannabis grow operations in the Antelope Valley and dispensaries in unincorporated areas countywide as part of a $39.3 billion budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger had pushed hard for the funding, even as community advocates sought to shut down any new funds going to the Sheriff’s Department.
“Illegal cannabis operations continue to threaten the well-being of our residents, water supply and environment,” Barger said Tuesday. “By empowering and equipping our law enforcement partners with the resources they need, we can better protect our communities.”
Roughly half of the $5 million will go to bolster Sheriff’s Department efforts to shut down grow operations that steal water and damage the environment. That includes 10 trucks needed to investigate on rough, rural terrain.
Another unit within the department will target illegal dispensaries in unincorporated areas, including the Antelope Valley.
The LASD also has a $500,000 grant that can be used to fund both efforts.
Barger said that during a 10-day operation this summer, the LASD worked in partnership with local, state and federal partners to seize 16 tons of illegal cannabis plants worth