drone pilot industryCalifornia County Will Deploy Drones To Weed Out Illegal Cannabis Grows

September 30, 2021by helo-10

California’s Nevada county cannabis alliance announced that its next course of action to locate illegal cannabis farms will include the deployment of drones, reported Cannabis.net.

Cannabis cultivators that belong to the Nevada County alliance expressed their grievances and decided to adopt the use of drones in a bid to fish out the unlicensed growers.

Nevada County officials believe that one-third of cannabis-related complaints are directed at farms within fences, locked gates and other visual barriers. Nevada County

building director, Craig Griesbach, said two of the reported sites have been determined to be the starting points of wildfires.

Nevada county cannabis alliance indicated that a pilot program will be launched next spring.

The use of drones was contemplated in a House Appropriations Committee report filed in July.

“The Committee also supports the Department of the Interior’s use of drones to conduct statewide remote-sensing surveys of federal public lands to identify grow sites and allow for the development of cost estimates for reclamation after concerns about cybersecurity, technology, and domestic production have been addressed” noted the report.

According to the County’s website, unpermitted cannabis cultivation negatively impacts the environment, public safety, wildfire preparedness and hinders legal growers in their efforts to build a new industry.

Cost-Effective Enforcement Efforts  

In 2020, the Cannabis Compliance division received 167 complaints, though, due to sight obstructions and barriers, 32% of the sites remain unverifiable.

The most recent drone program will enhance enforcement efforts and the ability of staff to follow through with neighborhood complaints. Unlike other tools such as helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, drones are cost-effective and save time.

Where is the funding for this programming coming from?

The funding is expected to be part of a general fund allocation and/or costs will be recovered through the issuance and payment of administrative fines associated with unpermitted cannabis enforcement activities.

Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Procedures

UAS use will focus primarily on expanses of land (e.g. “open fields”) in which private property owners have knowingly exposed land-use violations.

All UAS flights must be pre-approved by the Cannabis Compliance Program Manager and should not be utilized to take photographic images or video recordings of any persons. 

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