Do no harm

The DA should throw the book at pot growers who do environmental damage

We’re glad to see the Butte County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney Mike Ramsey going after the pot growers who are destroying the foothills landscape (see Downstroke, page 8).

For far too long, growers have been cutting down trees and other vegetation, and illegally grading wilderness properties in preparation for their growing operations. They’ve done so without consequence, as law-enforcement officials concentrated their oversight on the operations’ compliance with the Compassionate Use Act.

But there are too many of these growers in the foothills, and the destruction they’ve reaped in the region can no longer be ignored. It’s simply too obvious. Illegal grading and excavation have numerous negative consequences, including pesticide and fertilizer runoff into watersheds.

Ramsey has gone after other property owners who have conducted large-scale grading without the proper permits, mostly for construction projects. The district attorney should seek the maximum penalty against those who break the state’s environmental laws.

California residents have every right to grow medical marijuana, but they also have the obligation—legally and morally—to do so without harming the environment.