Black-market cannabis turns California’s deserts green

7/11/21–Authorities say Illegal marijuana farms on the rise has led to forced labor, violence, water theft and the destruction of fragile desert habitat and wildlife. Longtime California residents say they feel less safe, claiming black-market growers act with impunity by carrying weapons, trading gunfire with rivals and threatening those who wander too close to their farms. Authorities, who say they don’t have the resources to go after all the illegal farms, warn residents and off-roaders to steer clear of those areas. They also say they have more pressing concerns, such as the trafficking of synthetic opioids. Read