California Regulators Have Seized $1 Billion in Illicit Cannabis Over the Past Year
California’s cannabis regulator has seized over a billion dollars’ worth of illicit cannabis over the last thirteen months.
In a press announcement on August 25, the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) said its law enforcement team has led and assisted other agencies in the service of 232 search warrants, which helped seize more than half a million pounds of illegal product and eradicated over 1.4 million cannabis plants.
The combined effort has reportedly removed more than $1 billion’s worth of unregulated and untested cannabis products from the market. Around 120 illegal firearms were also obtained during the searches of criminal enterprises.
The DCC say these enforcement activities are crucial to help eliminate unfair competition in the state.
Beyond raiding illicit cannabis enterprises, the agency says it is also supporting legitimate companies with new schemes, such as a recent allocation of $20 million help grant cities and counties fund the cannabis retailers in areas that currently prohibit the drug.
California’s illicit cannabis market is considered the main challenge to the state’s legal businesses, even four years into legal sales.
“The biggest problem that we’re experiencing California is the black market,” Aaron Riley, former president of CannaSafe, a Los Angeles-based cannabis testing lab – that has since closed its doors – told Analytical Cannabis in 2020.
In 2019, it was estimated that $8.7 billion of the total $12 billion made in California cannabis sales went to the illegal market.