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Monday, November 6 • 4:15pm - 6:15pm
Poster Session. To Catch a Criminal: Cannabis Edition - Remote Sensing Techniques for Identifying Illegal 'Trespass Grow' Operations in California's Conservation Lands, 2014

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AUTHORS. Carolyn Talmadge, Tufts University

ABSTRACT. California has been at the forefront of marijuana legislation and cultivation since the 1970s. In November 2016, residents voted to make California the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. In fact, cannabis cultivation has been so successful in the golden state, almost two-thirds of the country's total legal harvest is cultivated there (Smith, 2017). However, even as California embraces the booming marijuana market and more of the crop is grown legally, the state has seen a surge in illegal cultivation. These growing operations, known as" trespass grows", often take place in the remote stretches of public lands. In fact, as much as 80% of illegal cannabis eradicated in California is grown on federal lands and this is just the fraction that has been discovered (Smith, 2017). As marijuana, legalization moves forwards, these trespass grows present a host of environmental, health and safety concerns. These include deforesting conservation lands, using lethal doses of pesticides, rodenticides and fertilizers which are killing wildlife, destroying ecosystems and leaching into waterways, in addition to using large amounts of water which is depleting California's already scare water supply . The nature of the trespass grow operations presents a unique spatial problem that could be examined using remotely sensed techniques and data. The goal of this project is two fold: 1) determine which unsupervised classifications technique best identifies known marijuana grow operations throughout Humboldt County and 2) identify potential trespass grow locations that are "highly suspect" and require further investigation.

Monday November 6, 2017 4:15pm - 6:15pm