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Illegal pot invades California’s deserts, bringing violence, fear, ecological destruction

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Sunday, July 11, 2021

It’s an unprecedented siege that has upended life in the remote desert communities and vast tract developments that overlook Joshua trees and scrub. Authorities say the boom has led to forced labor, violence, water theft and the destruction of fragile desert habitat and wildlife. The presence of desert pot farms appears to have become even more entrenched since last year, when record lightning fires burned through the heart of Northern California’s pot-growing region, destroying farms and tainting surviving plants with wildfire smoke.

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