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California offers cannabis farmers $20M to get permits, save water, and help wildlife

Rather than lock horns over environmental and permitting issues, California and its cannabis farmers are working together to give wildlife space, conserve water and reduce the number of unlicensed grows.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife earmarked more than $20 million to help growers restore and conserve their properties and become fully licensed.

Money from the agency's Cannabis Restoration Grant Program covers "upgrading road crossings and culverts, cleanup and remediation of illegal grow sites and many other important projects that benefit the environment," Cannabis Program Director Amelia Wright said.

The CDFW finds most environmental problems at illicit cannabis grows, Wright said: Water diversion tactics, habitat destruction, banned pesticide use, wildlife poaching, and trash near waterways.

"In the regulated market, cannabis cultivators work closely with state regulators to minimize environmental impacts," she said. That's why the CDFW wants to get more growers permitted.


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