Young Not Stupid: 'Cartelville, USA' Shows How Criminals Displace American Families to Start Illegal Pot Farms


The following is an installment in a weekly series of commentary articles by Cameron Arcand, host of the Young Not Stupid interview series and a contributor to The Western Journal.

While most documentaries now are either about serial killers or social justice movements, the Daily Caller’s “Cartelville, USA” brings fresh investigative journalism to the table.

The film, clocking in at a brief but impactful 36 minutes, features reporter Jorge Ventura as he delves into a troubling trend in the high desert of Los Angeles County: illegal cannabis farms.

Ventura was the perfect person to produce and narrate the documentary, as he is one of the few journalists who have covered the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border on location.

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Ventura uses his own experience growing up in Palmdale, California, to explain that many families move to the desert to get out of the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. Now, they’re starting to flee what used to be their sanctuary.

Using testimonies from local residents and law enforcement, the documentary reveals how cartels are buying up poor-quality houses with vast amounts of land in order to start pot farms without proper state licensing.

Property prices in the area have skyrocketed, ruining the region’s reputation for being more affordable. The high desert is now overrun by criminal enterprises wasting precious resources, including water, with no regard for the communities around them.

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These cartels staff their operations with migrants smuggled across the southern border, many of whom are working as indentured servants.

Ventura does a fantastic job drawing distinctions between the people running the farms and the ones laboring on them.

He tells a far more nuanced story about the average person coming across the border than the hyper-partisan narrative coming from both sides of the aisle.

Furthermore, the documentary clarifies which state laws make these operations possible in a way that is simple enough for laypeople to understand.

The fault lies with poor policies and, of course, with people — namely, Democratic Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón.

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Gascón is currently under the threat of a recall petition, as his progressive law enforcement style has left many in the community feeling unsafe. Realistically, he would be the one necessary for a crackdown on illegal cannabis farms in the county.

“Cartelville USA” bucks the norm of preachy documentaries to tell a heartbreaking story of real Americans losing their towns to drug kingpins.

For more information about the documentary, go to

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Cameron Arcand is a former writer for The Western Journal.
Cameron Arcand is a political commentator based in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2017 as a school project, he founded, which has grown exponentially since its founding. He has interviewed several notable conservative figures, including Dave Rubin, Peggy Grande and Madison Cawthorn.

In September 2020, Cameron joined The Western Journal as a Commentary Writer, where he has written articles on topics ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic, the "Recall Gavin Newsom" effort and the 2020 election aftermath. The "Young Not Stupid" column launched at The Western Journal in January 2021, making Cameron one of the youngest columnists for a national news outlet in the United States. He has appeared on One America News and Fox 5 DC. He has been a Young America's Foundation member since 2019.
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