In a plea to hear her “forgotten, rural” Californian voice, District Attorney Stacey Montgomery told U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday that legalizing marijuana has made it “worst” in Lassen County.
Montgomery met with Trump on Wednesday alongside with other officials from California to discuss their opposition to the state’s sanctuary-state law. The law, signed last October, limits local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities, who want to see a reduction in the number of illegal immigrants in the United States.
After thanking Trump for his “leadership,” Montgomery expressed a slew of complaints after California on Jan. 1 became the biggest state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
“I believe that, to a certain extent, we are sort of a forgotten part of California,” she told Trump, adding: “We are rural California, and we do not stand for the policies in [California’s capital] Sacramento. We have a horrible problem in our public lands, in our forests.”
“We’ve got illegals, marijuana — excuse me, drug cartels that have come up to grow on our public lands and in our forests, and they are decimating it. They are killing wildlife.”
When Trump asked: “And you can’t really do anything about it,” Montgomery, who has been an attorney for 24 years, said: “There’s not a thing we can do.”
She said the Department of Fish and Wildlife can only “file charges” and that’s “the best that they can do.”
But she said “organized crime,” who “are armed” are “coming into our forests, they’re endangering our citizens.”
“They’re setting up camps, and they’re growing mass amounts of marijuana on our public lands. They are killing wildlife. They’re diverting streams. The damage that they’re causing, both to the economy and to our public lands, is going to be generational.”
She also said that “a large portion of these people that are coming in to do this are illegal immigrants.”
“Because of the legalization of marijuana in California, now we’re seeing those same individuals working with other criminal groups — the Asian groups, the Russian groups, the motorcycle groups, all kinds of organized crime,” she described.
When the president asked if “legalization made it worse,” Montgomery replied affirmatively:
“Yes. I believe the legalization made it worse.”
Trump didn’t make any remarks that could clearly show his stance on legalization. In January, the Denver Post posted an old audio of Trump saying that he won’t interfere with states’ right on marijuana.
However, Trump appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February, who is staunchly opposed to marijuana.
In early April, U.S. prosecutors estimate that a Chinese-based crime organization will lose “hundreds of millions of dollars” in drug profits and the money it invested in homes in Northern California after authorities conducted raids.
Law enforcement agents have seized roughly 100 houses they say were purchased with money wired by the gang and used to grow massive amounts of marijuana illegally.