Cannabis Products Course
Cannabis News - USA

California Illegal Pot Seizures Top $1.5 Billion In Value

LOS
ANGELES
(AP)

Authorities
seized
more
than
$1.5
billion
worth
of
illegally
grown
marijuana
plants
in
California
this
year

an
amount
an
industry
expert
said
is
roughly
equal
to
the
state’s
entire
legal
market

as
part
of
an
annual
eradication
program,
officials
said
Monday.

The
raids
netted
more
than
950,000
plants
from
nearly
350
growing
operation
sites
this
year
through
the
Campaign
Against
Marijuana
Planting
program,
an
effort
known
as
CAMP
that
dates
to
1983
and
is
considered
the
nation’s
largest
illegal
marijuana
eradication
program.

Authorities
could
not
estimate
a
street
value
of
the
plants
seized
and
based
their
figures
on
wholesale
prices
of
$1,600
per
plant.
But
Jerred
Kiloh,
president
of
the
United
Cannabis
Business
Association,
said
wholesale
costs
are
doubled
for
the
retail
market

meaning
the
enforcement
operation
netted
more
than
$3
billion
worth
of
illegally
grown
marijuana
plants.

Consumers
are
projected
to
spend
$3.1
billion
in
California’s
legal
cannabis
industry
and
$8.1
billion
in
the
illicit
market
this
year,
according
to
a
report
from
industry
advisers
Arcview
Market
Research
and
BDS
Analytics.

“That’s
a
lot
of
product,”
Kiloh
said
of
the
program’s
seizures.
“That’s
equal
to
our
entire
regulated
market.”

California
Attorney
General
Xavier
Becerra
said
nearly
150
people
were
arrested
statewide
and
168
weapons
were
seized
during
the
execution
of
more
than
120
search
warrants.
The
state
partners
with
local
and
federal
agencies,
including
the
Drug
Enforcement
Administration,
to
target
growing
operations
on
public
lands.

Officials
said
they
encountered
sophisticated
growing
operations
that
help
fuel
the
state’s
large
black
market,
where
consumers
can
avoid
steep
tax
rates
by
buying
in
unlicensed
dispensaries.

“Folks
are
going
to
grow
this
stuff
because
you
can
make
money,”
Becerra
said
Monday
at
a
news
conference.

But
Kiloh
pointed
out
that
it’s
not
clear
if
the
illegal
grown
plants
were
headed
to
California
markets
or
other
states.
He
said
the
raids
gave
him
hope
that
they
would
be
a
deterrent
to
other
illegal
growers
and
retailers
who
use
their
products,
but
he
noted
that
the
CAMP
program
has
been
around
for
decades
while
the
illicit
market
continues
to
thrive.

“Enforcement
is
going
to
be
a
long
process,”
he
said.

Becerra
pointed
to
the
death
of
Brian
Ishmael,
a
Northern
California
sheriff’s
deputy
who
was
killed
last
month
while
responding
to
a
call
regarding
a
reported
theft
from
an
illegal
marijuana
grow
in
the
rural
Sierra
Nevada
foothills,
as
an
example
of
the
dangers
that
law
enforcement
faces
in
combating
the
issue.

In
2018,
officials
said
they
seized
more
than
614,000
plants
from
254
sites
during
their
CAMP
operations,
when
efforts
were
hampered
last
year
because
of
the
wildfires,
said
Jack
Nelsen,
a
special
agent
supervisor
with
the
attorney
general’s
office.

The
illegal
grows
harm
the
state’s
wildlife
and
waterways,
officials
said.

About the author

saskbusiness@hotmail.com

Leave a Comment