California officials are continuing their aggressive crackdown on unregulated cannabis operators, announcing on Wednesday the eradication of 7,503 plants and more than 936 pounds of cannabis flower in enforcement actions between October 18 and 19. The Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce (UCETF) said the plants and processed flower had an estimated value of nearly $8 million.
State officials announced the creation of the UCETF earlier this month which is co-chaired by the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and is coordinated by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) through its Homeland Security Division.
The operation included 13 search warrants on unlicensed indoor cultivation operations in the Sun Valley suburb.
In a statement, DCC Director Nicole Elliott said the agency “works hard to support the transition of legacy operators into the legal market” but “have zero tolerance for this behavior.” She added the DCC will work with its “partners across the state, local, and the federal government to shut it down.”
“Criminal cannabis operators, like those we enforced against in this operation, jeopardize the health of their workers by using toxic chemicals to help fertilize indoor cultivations that undercut the legal market and present safety risks to consumers.” — Elliot in a press release
Charlton H. Bonham, director of CDFW, described the cultivation operation as “a perfect example of the disregard for health and safety and the lengths people will go to grow illegal cannabis.”
“This type of activity is a huge threat,” he said, “and detrimental to the burgeoning legal market we are working to support.”
Criminal investigations are ongoing, and the cases will be submitted to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Cases for civil penalties may be submitted to the California Attorney General’s Office and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.