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California Department of Cannabis Announces Seizure of $1 Billion in Illegal Pot This Past Year

August 25th, the DCC officially announced that it had seized $1 billion in illegal cannabis. It attributes the achievement to recent raids in Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and other areas within the last one year.

“This important milestone was reached through close collaboration with local, state, and federal partners and furthers California’s efforts to go after activities that harm communities and the environment, including water theft, threats of violence, elder abuse, and human trafficking to name a few,” the DCC wrote in a press release. “These operations and the products they produce threaten consumer safety and the vitality of legal and compliant licensees.”

It stated that it had participated in 232 warrants of search (either by DCC or with partners). Those searches yielded over half a million pounds of “illegal product,” along with 1.4 million cannabis plants “eradicated.” It also explains that these efforts have “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 obtained assets.”

DCC also explained that the agency is taking steps to make sure consumers are safe. “In tandem with law enforcement actions that crack down on illegal activity, DCC staff are working to expand access to tested cannabis products for consumers and lower barriers of participation for businesses,” it wrote in the announcement. “This includes a recent allocation of $20 million to DCC to grant cities and counties with funding that will support the creation of cannabis retail access in areas that currently do not allow it.”

In March, the DCC introduced new changes to state cannabis regulations to “streamline and simplify” existing rules. “This proposal is a direct result of DCC’s engagement with stakeholders and the thoughtful feedback received through letters, conversations, meetings and previous rulemaking processes,” said DCC Director Nicole Elliott. “We are deeply [committed] to creating a cannabis regulatory structure that works for all Californians, including California’s cannabis industry, consumers and communities.” Topics such as video surveillance, live cannabis plant sales, certificates of analysis and more were addressed.

DCC released its July projections to seize $1 billion worth of illegal cannabis products. At the time, the agency had participated in 208 search warrants, had removed 1.38 million plants, and seized more than half a million pounds of “illegal product.”

The DCC declared on Aug. 29 that it would hold a virtual meeting to discuss the recent $20 million grant to increase consumer access to legal marijuana dispensaries in the state. It’s the first meeting to include the Cannabis Advisory Committee (CAC), which is tasked with providing feedback to the DCC’s regulations through public discussion. These 17 people were chosen from 300 applications and appointed as members on Aug. 1. “Pursuant to 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 to ensure DCC is working to create regulations for commercial cannabis activity that helps protect public health and safety while decreasing burdens for legal operators and reducing the illicit market.”

First meeting: Introduce the CAC Members, present a plan for 2023 and allow for public comment.