High Times reports
However, Nevada County officials aren’t playing anymore. According to officials, about one-third or 32 percent of cannabis-related complaints in the county couldn’t be locked gates, fences and other visual obstructions. County building director Craig Griesbach claims that two of those sites were linked to wildfires.
“One of the fire events happened during the Jones Fire of 2020, pulling air attack resources off the Jones Fire to address this concurrent threat to life and property,” Griesbach told The Union. “Cannabis-related violations, including generators that were not permitted on both sites, could have been verified with the use of (drone) technology and therefore mitigated before these fires started.”
A pilot program involving the use of drones to spot illegal cannabis grow operations is planned to kick off this spring in Nevada County, with the risk of wildfires as one of the justifications.
With a price tag of $10,000, covering the tools and staff training will fall under a general fund allocation, said Jeff Merriman, county code and compliance divisions program manager.
The plan is to purchase equipment and perform staff training from now through March. The program will last from May through August 2022. From November 2022 through February 2023, there will be a review of program activity, data and a report to supervisors.
“Cannabis Compliance Division field staff will be the only staff licensed to utilize this tool,” Merriman said. He said there will be 10 to 15 hours of training. There’s also a mandatory licensing exam and annual testing to hold a drone pilot license, which is done through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In the event that someone attempts to shoot the drone down, or if a malfunction or accident occurs, the cannabis program manager will be notified immediately and an incident report will be filed with the Nevada County office of the Risk Manager.
Also, the FAA will be informed within 10 days, as required by law.