Energy & Environment

California lawmaker quotes ‘Apocalypse Now’ while bulldozing Asian-run pot farms

A Republican congressman from California issued a series of videos this week against the emergence of marijuana greenhouses that have appeared in one county, including a video of him quoting the 1979 film “Apocalypse Now” while bulldozing several farms. 

“I love the smell of diesel power in the afternoon. It smells like victory,” Rep. Doug LaMalfa says to the camera in one video, riffing off a famous line spoken by actor Robert Duvall, who in the movie plays a lieutenant colonel during the Vietnam War. 

LaMalfa can then be seen getting into a bulldozer where he proceeds to run over pot plants. Other videos show him meeting with Siskiyou County Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue as well as a visit at a grow site in the county.

In a statement on Thursday, the congressman said he wanted to “see firsthand the massive amount of organized crime and illegal cartel grow operations overwhelming Siskiyou County.”

The congressman said marijuana greenhouses have negative environmental impacts in the county and blasted the pot farms as a “criminal enterprise.”

The Republican congressman was apparently responding to a call from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office that was posted on their Facebook page in May that asked for volunteers to help their office address the emergence of the pot farms. 

“During a two-day operation, 143 greenhouses containing 50,861 cannabis plants connected to illegal Commercial Cannabis Activity were demolished,” the sheriff’s office post said.

“If you are interested in assisting in our future operations, contact the Sheriff’s Office. We are looking for additional heavy equipment, such as dozers and excavators, and trained operators to volunteer to assist in ongoing efforts to address the illegal Commercial Cannabis Activity plaguing our county,” it continues.

Local ordinances have been passed that stop the delivery of water to grow sites of marijuana greenhouses or require permits for water trucks to deliver a certain number of gallons on particular local roads, The Sacramento Bee reported.

The news outlet notes that most of those farms are run by farmers of Chinese or Hmong descent, and many of the grow sites are without sewage service or running water. 

“It sounds like a divisive message that’s likely to inflame the tensions instead of making them better,” said J. Raza Lawrence, one of the attorneys representing farmers, according to the Sacramento Bee. Lawrence also noted that many of whom Hmong farmers are descendants of those who fought on America’s behalf during the Vietnam War.

Lawyers representing the farmers are seeking to have officials stop enforcing the ordinance, and a hearing on the matter is set for August.

The Hill has reached out to Lawrence for comment.

Tags California Doug LaMalfa Rep. Doug LaMalfa

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