Tracking land policy in the Golden State.

Marijuana Grow Site Discovered Near Malibu in Santa Monica Mountains

A helicopter flies out a load of trash and marijuana plants | Photo courtesy National Park Service

For the second this summer a site used for marijuana cultivation has been discovered in the Santa Monica Mountains, the National Park Service has announced. Park rangers and L.A. County Sheriff's Deputies last Friday raided the land, gathering and flying out two tons of trash and plants. The exact same location off Kanan Dume Road north of Malibu was used in 2005 as a plantation.

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"This cultivation site had all the characteristics of a Mexican drug trafficking organization," Evan Jones, Chief Ranger for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said in a press release. "Heavy use of chemicals, aggressive clearing of native vegetation and a very labor intensive grow site are all indicators typically seen of such an operation."

Trash and mature plants | | Photo courtesy National Park Service

Officials say marijuana grow sites damage the land when growers destroy native plants, cut off natural water supplies, use fertilizer and chemicals, and occupy important habitat for wildlife, such as mountain lions. There is also a risk to public safety since campfires can ignite wildfires.

Nearly 4,000 plants were hulled away. In July, around 3,500 plants were seized in Zuma Canyon.

Further Reading on KCET:
- Reefer Madness: Our National Forests Going To Pot
- How to Identify a Marijuana Cultivation Site, and What to Do

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About the Author

Zach Behrens is KCET's Director of News, Region and State, working on digital and on-air news products that relate to Southern California and beyond.
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