Humboldt County Uses Satellites to Smoke Out Marijuana Grows

Humboldt County is using satellite technology to seek out cannabis cultivators that violate the Humboldt Environmental Impact Reduction Program.

The “state-of-the-art” program is being spearheaded by the County Planning and Building Department, according to a press release from the California State Association of Counties. On Tuesday, the CSAC will bestow its Challenge Award on Humboldt for the program. Humboldt will also receive the UC Cooperative Extension award for its Prescribed Fire Program.

When California voted to legalize cannabis in 2016, there were already an estimated 15,000 cultivation sites on 6,000 parcels in the county—all illegal. Illicit grows still flourish across the county. They wreak havoc on the environment and undercut the legal market.

The new satellite program means authorities don’t have to rely on citizen complaints. It’s working.

“Since the program was implemented, more than 1,000 non-compliant sites have been identified,” according to the press release. “About 400 have come into complete compliance and another third working toward compliance. Others have just simply stopped growing.”

What a difference technology makes.