Essential California: Illegal pot farms upend desert life – Los Angeles Times

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, July 12. I’m Shelby Grad, filling in for Justin Ray.

The legalization of marijuana has not gone as California planned. Tax revenues have not hit anywhere close to the levels officials expected. It’s so bad the state is considering a $100-million bailout of the industry. Illegal marijuana operations remain a huge problem and a source of violence and crime.

Now, a new Times investigation looks at how illegal marijuana is transforming the Mojave Desert in troubling ways. The desert, with its remote location and sun, is now a pot-growing hot spot. Among the findings:

— This hot, dry, unforgiving climate has attracted more than a thousand marijuana plantations that fill the arid expanse between the Antelope Valley and the Colorado River.

Read more from The Times’ investigation here.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

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CLIMATE AND FIRES

It was a weekend of extreme heat, destructive fires and questions about how much worse it will get:

In Northern California, fires continue to burn at a rapid pace, destroying some homes in remote areas Sunday. Los Angeles Times

Danger in the air: One of the fires created its own lightning. Los Angeles Times

Smoke and fire rise above Frenchman Lake as the Sugar fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex, burns in Plumas National Forest on Thursday.(Noah Berger / Associated Press)

The weekend brought daily high temperature records, including 120 in Palm Springs on Saturday. But some cooling is on the way. Los Angeles Times

Climate change is being felt in profound ways in the Antelope Valley, which hit new highs this weekends. It’s bringing soul-searching in

Read More Here...

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