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California Cracking Down on Black Market Cannabis Stores

california state flag on cannabis background

California, the first state in the US to pass laws allowing medical marijuana (back in 1996), has recently passed laws for the legalization of recreational marijuana. That said, the state is bursting at the seams with illegal and unlicensed cannabis retailers operating outside of the laws.

This past May, CMA, the California Minority Alliance, a certified cannabis retailer group (one of the many legit operations in the state), openly threatened to sue the city of Los Angeles over the supposed lack of law enforcement regarding the cannabis industry.

“Unlicensed shops have been a public nuisance and pose a critical public safety issue to the residents of South Los Angeles,” CMA wrote to the city. “The lack of enforcement has turned safe communities into havens for illicit activity, encouraging the proliferation of unlawful cannabis operations.”

Just weeks later, over $2.7 million in cannabis-based products were seized from unlicensed stores in Costa Mesa. Shortly afterward, an additional $1.6 million was seized from an illegal operation located in Banning.

Throughout 2019, the state of California tripled the number of raids on illegal cannabis operators disrupting legal businesses within their borders. In contrast to 2018’s six search warrants (yep, just six) used to raid pot shops, the first half of 2019 showed 19 warrants resulting in over 2,500 pounds of marijuana and cannabis-based products.

Over $200,000 in cash has also been seized during the first half of 2019 by California officials.

“We recognize the importance of enforcement for a strong regulated cannabis industry and continue to partner with local jurisdictions to address issues related to the unlicensed cannabis business,” said Chief of the state bureau, Lori Ajax.

Also, Gov. Gavin Newsom has put his stamp of approval on fines of as much $30,000 per day to be used on illegal cannabis growers.

To further elaborate on the matter, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has reported that joint operations with other state agencies have yielded over 12,000 plants, more than 800 pounds of cannabis, 15 firearms, and approximately $435,000 in cash.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom also OK’d fines of up to $30,000 per day for unlicensed marijuana growers, according to the report. And the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported that its joint operations recently seized more than 12,000 illegal plants, 800 pounds of processed marijuana, 15 firearms and more than $435,000 in cash.

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