The California Department of Cannabis last year announced seizures of $1 billion worth of illegal marijuana
The DCC announced on August 25 that it had officially seized more than $1 billion worth of illegal cannabis. The department attributes this milestone to recent raids conducted in Los Angeles and Riverside County over the past year.
“Achieved through close collaboration with local, state and federal partners, this important milestone advances California’s efforts to prosecute activities that harm communities and the environment, including water theft, threats of violence, elder abuse and human trafficking, to name a few call,” the DCC wrote in a press release. “These operations and the products they manufacture threaten consumer safety and the vitality of legal and compliant licensees.”
The agency described being involved in 232 search warrants (either led by the DCC or in partnership with other agencies) over the past 13 months. These searches turned up over half a million pounds of “illegal product” along with 1.4 million “eradicated” cannabis plants. It also states that these efforts “removed more than $1 billion worth of potentially harmful and often untested cannabis products from the market,” in addition to 120 illegal firearms and $2.3 million in “illegally acquired assets.”
The DCC also states that it is taking steps to ensure consumers remain safe. “Together with law enforcement agencies targeting illegal activity, DCC employees are working to expand consumer access to tested cannabis products and lower the barriers for businesses to participate,” the announcement reads. “This includes a recent allocation of $20 million to DCC to provide funds to cities and counties that support the creation of cannabis retail access in areas where this is not currently possible.”
In March, the DCC introduced new changes to state cannabis regulations to “streamline and simplify” existing regulations. “This proposal is a direct result of DCC’s engagement with stakeholders and the thoughtful feedback we have received through letters, conversations, meetings and previous rulemaking processes,” said DCC Director Nicole Elliott. “We are deep [committed] to create a cannabis regulatory structure that works for all Californians, including the California cannabis industry, consumers and communities.” Topics such as CCTV, live sale of cannabis plants, Certificates of Analysis and more were addressed.
In July, the DCC announced its forecast to seize more than $1 billion worth of illicit cannabis products. At that time, the agency had participated in 208 search warrants, removing 1.38 million plants and seizing more than half a million pounds of “illegal product”.
On August 29, the DCC announced that it will hold a virtual meeting on September 8 to discuss how to deploy a recently awarded $20 million grant to increase consumer access to legal cannabis Expand dispensaries across the state. It is the first meeting to be attended by the Cannabis Advisory Committee (CAC), tasked with providing feedback on the DCC’s regulations through public discussion. The members were appointed on August 1st and comprise a total of 17 people selected from a pool of 300 applicants. “Under Division 10 of the Business and Professions Code, the CAC is tasked with advising DCC on the development of relevant standards and regulations for commercial cannabis businesses, including those necessary to protect public health and safety. Key to the CAC’s work will be ensuring that DCC works to create regulations governing commercial cannabis activities that help protect public health and safety while reducing burdens on legal operators and reducing the illicit market.”
The first meeting will introduce the CAC members, present a presentation on plans for 2023 and provide time for public comment.