The underground economy surrounding marijuana has been a topic of discussion for California for quite some time now. One recent announcement, made by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, will have both authorities and marijuana enthusiasts jumping for joy. In the fiscal year of 2019, California authorities have seized over $1.5 billion worth of illegally grown marijuana from 345 grow sites. On top of marijuana, an additional 168 weapons were confiscated in the process.
Campaign Against Marijuana Planting
This all comes as part of the nation’s largest illegal marijuana eradication program, known as the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP). The program has collected over 953,459 illegal marijuana plants this year alone, and authorities don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
“Illegal cannabis grows are devastating to our communities. Criminals who disregard life, poison our waters, damage our public lands, and weaponize the illegal cannabis black market will be brought to justice,” said Becerra in a press release. “This year, our CAMP teams worked tirelessly across the state to vigorously enforce California’s laws against illegal cannabis activity. The California Department of Justice is extremely proud of our partnership with federal, state, and local agencies and we look forward to continuing this necessary work.”
The California Department of Justice has been very adamant about getting illegal growers off the streets since 1983 when CAMP was first created. Officials believe illegal marijuana growers do much more harm than the public realizes. Some consequences of illegal growers include deforestation, damage to wildlife habitats, and water theft causing drought. Another big concern with illegal marijuana growers is the underground market and the war on drugs.
The Fight Against Black Market Marijuana
California is the only state to still have a booming underground economy with marijuana being legal for medical and recreational use. One big factor in this is the outbreak of illegal marijuana dispensaries on apps such as Weedmaps. These apps have been unregulated and anyone can post products through them. Authorities claim to eliminate all illegal sellers from the app by the end of 2019.
This should come as good news for both authorities and marijuana enthusiasts because of its many benefits to the industry. First and foremost, this move gives California a little more control within the industry. This means more marijuana on the market will be regulated. Consequently, by all of this happening, this slowly reduces the vaping crisis.
This move will also force more people to actually shop through legal dispensaries, causing more tested marijuana on the streets. Those who have done it the legal way are of course very excited about this. According to New Frontier Data, marijuana boasts around $70 billion nationwide, which is seven times larger than the legal market. In fact, illegal sellers outnumber legal dispensaries 3-1 in the state of California. By removing this much marijuana from the state it slightly improves this unbalanced culture.
Where Does it All Go?
So where does all of this marijuana go? Most likely, authorities are going to destroy the plants. Authorities are unlikely to keep any illegally grown crops because they’re susceptible to pesticides that are harmful to people. Unfortunately, there isn’t an efficient way to clean confiscated marijuana.
Hopefully, this is just the beginning of California taking control of the illegal marijuana market. For years it has consumed the progress of legal marijuana since it’s legalization in 2016. It’s only going to be a matter of time before the legal marijuana market outweighs the illegal sellers in California.