California AG Rob Bonta talks combatting drugs, hate crimes in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta spoke Monday in San Diego, addressing multiple issues ranging from drugs to hate crimes.

Bonta made his first stop at Mission Trails Regional Park to announce the nation’s largest illegal marijuana eradication program. 

“This work is important,” he said. “Illegal and unlicensed marijuana planting is bad for our environment, is bad for our economy and bad for the health and safety of our community.” 

In the last year, the state has destroyed more than 1.2 million illegally grown marijuana plants and seized more than 165 weapons in the process.

“These large illegal operations are poisoning our environment,” Bonta said. “They’re harming our health and they’re putting lives in harm’s way.” 

From there, the state attorney general went to San Diego Central Library.

Bonta — the first person of Filipino descent and the second Asian American to hold title of state attorney general — is on a 13-city tour to combat hate crimes. He is holding roundtables in each city he visits. 

“We’re in a full-on state of crisis, state of emergency when it comes to hate crimes,” he said. “Every time we sit down, we get more information. It’s always personal and powerful and always leads to new ideas about how we can work together to take on the forces of hate.”

Local leaders, including Mayor Todd Gloria, joined the discussion.

“Leaders in the community who are on the ground every day addressing hate crimes and hate violence and hate incidents,” Bonta said.

Last year, California experienced a 31% increase in reported hate crimes — that’s the highest reported level in more than a decade.

Crimes motivated by racial bias increased by more than 67%.

“A lot focused on the Asian Pacific Islander community, but not only related to the Asian Pacific Islander community, but our Jewish community is suffering, our Muslim community and many others.” 

Bonta added he’s working with local law enforcement to make sure they are properly identifying and investigating hate crime. He has also started a group called “Care,” which empowers communities to create solutions to combat hate. 

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