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May 14, 2024

California seizes illegal cannabis products worth $61 million since start of 2024

Taking down illegal cannabis operators protects legal and regulated market and stops organized crime

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Since January, the Governor’s cannabis enforcement task force has seized over $61 million in illegal cannabis products, including nearly 36,600 pounds of unlicensed cannabis and eradicated over 62,000 illegal plants in law enforcement crackdowns.

SACRAMENTO – As California continues to support the legal and regulated cannabis market, today Governor Gavin Newsom announced state law enforcement operations that resulted in the seizure of over $61 million in illegal cannabis in the first four months of this calendar year — including 62,135 unlicensed cannabis plants and 36,619 pounds of unlicensed cannabis products.

While we watch California’s legal cannabis market grow to become the largest worldwide, we are taking down those who operate outside the law. Putting a stop to illegal cannabis operations also means stopping organized crime, human trafficking, and the spread of illegal products that harm the health of Californians and our environment.

Governor Gavin Newsom

A blue background graphic with orange and white lettering that says: Seized: $61 million in illegal cannabis products, nearly 36,600 pounds of unlicensed cannabis and eradicated over 62,000 illegal plants

Operations from January 1 through April 30, 2024, through the Governor’s Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce, were conducted in the counties of Alameda, Fresno, Humboldt, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Joaquin, Trinity, and Orange. Enforcement highlights include:

  • $61,467,088 million in illegal cannabis seized and destroyed
  • 36,619 pounds of unlicensed cannabis seized and destroyed
  • 62,135 unlicensed cannabis plants eradicated
  • 11 firearms seized
  • 5 arrests

Since its inception in 2022, the task force has seized $406,359,957 in unlicensed cannabis through 256 search warrants. The taskforce has also eradicated 409,656 plants and seized 139 firearms.

State agencies and departments participating in these taskforce operations include: Department of Cannabis Control, Department of Fish and Wildlife, California National Guard, Department of Tax and Fee Administration, and State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Rights. In addition, multiple federal and local partners assisted with enforcement operations.

HOW WE GOT HERE:

The Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce has been charged by the Governor to further align state efforts and increase cannabis enforcement coordination between state, local, and federal partners. The enforcement actions protect consumer and public safety, safeguard the environment, and deprive illegal cannabis operators and transnational criminal organizations of illicit revenue that harms consumers and undercuts the regulated cannabis market in California.

Beyond the actions of the task force, Governor Newsom has enacted policies and funding to support legal, regulated cannabis throughout the state. The Governor signed several pieces of legislation to erase past cannabis convictions, combat discrimination against off-the-job cannabis use, ensure statewide access to medicinal cannabis, and pave the way for California to join with other states to build legal interstate cannabis markets that work for everyone. Previously, the Administration enacted a budget that delivered historic tax relief for legal cannabis operators—particularly equity operators—while protecting other vital public investments that cannabis legalization has allowed us to fund.

To learn more about the legal California cannabis market, state licenses, and laws, visit cannabis.ca.gov.