CALIFORNIA AUTHORITIES RAMP UP EFFORTS TO REDUCE ILLEGAL CANNABIS GROWING OPERATIONS

CALIFORNIA AUTHORITIES RAMP UP EFFORTS TO REDUCE ILLEGAL CANNABIS GROWING OPERATIONS

Two recent articles from the Los Angeles Times suggest that authorities in California have increased their efforts (and perhaps their effectiveness) in curbing illegal cannabis grown in the state. According to one article, 345 state law enforcement raids this year resulted in the seizure of almost 1 million marijuana plants from unlicensed growers. Those numbers are up substantially from last year, when authorities seized just over 600,000 marijuana plants during 254 raids. Related arrests and weapons seizures are up too—from 52 arrests and 100 weapons confiscated last year to 148 arrests and 168 weapons seized this year.

The Los Angeles Times also reported earlier this week that a recent raid seized almost 10 million illegal marijuana plants that have a street value of over $1 billion. The plants were being grown under the guise of being legal hemp, but authorities say the plants were “well over” the 0.3% THC threshold that separates hemp from marijuana.

These results are encouraging, as enforcement efforts in California are particularly important because of the volume of marijuana grown there. While it is illegal to sell marijuana grown in California outside of the state (even if it is grown lawfully within the state), California is the largest supplier of marijuana to the rest of the country. According to a recent estimate by the research group New Frontier Data, California produces 58% of the cannabis cultivated in the United States.

Mark Taylor

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