A pair of congressmen have introduced legislation to crack down on the use of banned pesticides at illicit cannabis grows.
U.S. Reps. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., and Scott Peters, D-Calif., have filed the Targeting and Offsetting Existing Illegal Contaminants (TOXIC) Act to help combat the environmental damage caused by illegal cultivation sites, according to a press release from LaMalfa’s office.
The legislation would also increase criminal penalties for those who grow cannabis illegally on federal property using banned pesticides, according to the announcement.
“Illegal marijuana grows have brought dangerous cartels into our rural towns, terrorizing residents and decimating our landscape,” LaMalfa said in a public statement. “The banned pesticides they use on their product seep into the soil and watershed, poisoning wildlife and endangering residents who inadvertently consume it. Everyone; outdoor enthusiasts, nearby residents on their own land, wildlife, Forest Service and law enforcement personnel are all at risk. The TOXIC Act is necessary to criminalize those who cause damage to our public land with banned chemicals and helps remedy the environmental impacts.”
The bill would do the following, according to the press release:Authorize $250M over five years for the Forest Service to use Superfund toxic waste remediation authorities to address environmental damages caused by the release of banned pesticides on federal lands for cannabis cultivation; andRaise the criminal penalties for using banned pesticides in illegal cannabis cultivation to maximums of 20 years in prison and $250K in criminal fines to establish parity with the criminal penalties for smuggling banned pesticides into the U.S. The U.S. Sentencing Commission would then be required to review and update its sentencing guidelines for these crimes.
“While those who grow illegal cannabis often work with drug cartels seeking wealth and influence, our wildlife, habitats and public health pay the price,” Peters said in a public statement. “The damage from these extremely dangerous and illegal pesticides harms our watersheds, endangered species like pacific fishers and spotted owls, Forest Service agents, and consumers. The TOXIC Act will direct the federal government to use all available resources to fix the harm caused by banned pesticides smuggled across our southern border."