The California Department of Cannabis Control has now officially seized more than $1 billion worth of illegal cannabis, a significant milestone for the agency, which was formed just 13 months prior.
As of August, the DCC’s law enforcement team has led and assisted other agencies in the service of 232 search warrants, seized more than 500,000 pounds of illegal product and eradicated more than 1.4 million cannabis plants. Along with the cannabis products, valued by the agency at more than $1 billion, the effort collected 120 illegal firearms and recovered $2.3 million in illegally obtained assets, according to a press release from the DCC.
California’s still-thriving illicit market, which is estimated at three times the size of the legal one, is considered one of the biggest threats to the state’s regulated cannabis industry and has been a focus of the DCC since it was formed in July 2021 by merging the three state programs previously responsible for regulating commercial cannabis activity.
“We want Californians to become more aware of the harms that come from the illicit market. A purchase from the illegal market can be a purchase in support of criminal and cartel operations that endanger consumer health, communities, destroy natural habitats and threaten the viability of our legal operators,” DCC director Nicole Elliott said in a press release in July. “The illegal cannabis operations that we enforce against are not just engaging in illegal commercial cannabis activity, they are engaging in violence, human trafficking, water theft, animal cruelty and other forms of harmful criminal activity.”
According to the DCC, enforcement activities in August in Los Angeles and Riverside counties pushed the agency’s total past the $1 billion mark.
— Brian Beckley