The California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) has announced that it has played a role in seizing more than $1 billion in a little more than a year.
The news follows recent enforcement in Los Angeles and Riverside Counties, according to an Aug. 25 enforcement update DCC provided to Cannabis Business Times attributed to its director, Nicole Elliott.
Since its creation via the consolidation of three agencies 13 months ago, the DCC’s law enforcement team has led and been involved in the issuance of 232 search warrants, the seizure of more than 500,000 pounds of illegal product and the eradication of more than 1.4 million cannabis plants, according to the update. As a result, more than $1 billion of cannabis product has been removed from the illicit cannabis market, as well as 120 illegal firearms and $2.3 million in illegally obtained assets.
Elliott stated in an announcement last month: “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. 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.”
The announcement of $1 billion in illicit cannabis product seized follows, among others, a seizure of more than 34,000 illicit cannabis plants in San Jacinto in late July, a seizure of more than 165,000 illicit cannabis plants in Mendocino County in mid-July, “Operation Hammer Strike” seizures in San Bernardino County, and “Operation Green Day” seizures in Stanislaus County.
In addition, DCC is working to improve consumer access to regulated cannabis and industry participation in the legal market, according to the Aug. 25 update, in part through $20 million in grants provided to various cities and counties.