Today's Law As Amended

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AB-2525 Conservation of public lands: unlawful cannabis cultivation: mitigation and enforcement.(2017-2018)

As Amends the Law Today


 Chapter 6.2 (commencing with Section 1630) is added to Division 2 of the Fish and Game Code, to read:

CHAPTER  6.2. Public Lands Cannabis Eradication Act
 This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the Public Lands Cannabis Eradication Act, or the PLCE Act.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Public lands” means lands owned by, or under the jurisdiction of, the federal, state, or a local government.
(b) “Qualified nonprofit organization” means a nonprofit organization with experience in environmental cleanup and restoration.
 In order to protect public lands from unlawful cannabis cultivation activity, the department shall collaborate with the Department of Parks and Recreation to do all of the following:
(a) Conduct, during outdoor cannabis cultivation season, an annual survey of all public lands, and all surface water sources on public lands, for unlawful cannabis cultivation activity.
(b) (1) Compile a database of unlawful cannabis cultivation activity identified in surveys conducted pursuant to subdivision (a) or otherwise known to be occurring on public lands.
(2) The database compiled pursuant to paragraph (1) shall include, for each unlawful cannabis cultivation site, the date of discovery, location, approximate size, and current status of the site.
(c) Ensure that unlawful cannabis cultivation activity described in subdivision (b) is eradicated by the multiagency task force established pursuant to Section 12029 or other appropriate authority.
 (a) The Natural Resources Agency shall establish a program to restore public lands damaged by unlawful cannabis cultivation activity described in subdivision (b) of Section 1632.
(b) To carry out restoration activities under the program established pursuant to subdivision (a), the Natural Resources Agency may contract with a city, county, city and county, or other local governmental entity, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of the Interior, or a qualified nonprofit organization.
 (a) The Public Lands Cannabis Eradication Fund, or the PLCE Fund, is hereby created in the State Treasury.
(b) Moneys in the PLCE Fund shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to protect and restore public lands damaged by unlawful cannabis cultivation activity, including as provided in this chapter.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the availability of other funding to carry out the purposes provided in subdivision (b).

SEC. 2.

 Section 12029 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The environmental impacts associated with cannabis cultivation have increased, and unlawful water diversions for cannabis irrigation have a detrimental effect on fish and wildlife and their habitat, which are held in trust by the state for the benefit of the people of the state.
(2) The remediation of existing cannabis cultivation sites is often complex and the permitting of these sites requires greater department staff time and personnel expenditures. The potential for cannabis cultivation sites to significantly impact the state’s fish and wildlife resources requires immediate action on the part of the department’s lake and streambed alteration permitting staff.
(b) In order to address unlawful water diversions and other violations of the Fish and Game Code associated with cannabis cultivation, the department shall establish the watershed enforcement program to facilitate the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of these offenses.
(c) The department, in coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Food and Agriculture, shall establish a permanent multiagency task force to address the environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation. The multiagency task force, to the extent feasible and subject to available resources, shall expand its enforcement efforts on a statewide level to ensure the reduction of adverse impacts of cannabis cultivation on fish and wildlife and their habitats throughout the state. The multiagency task force shall prioritize the eradication of unlawful cannabis cultivation activity described in subdivision (b) of Section 1632. 
(d) In order to facilitate the remediation and permitting of cannabis cultivation sites, the department may adopt regulations to enhance the fees on any entity subject to Section 1602 for cannabis cultivation sites that require remediation. The fee schedule established pursuant to this subdivision shall not exceed the fee limits in Section 1609.