Seized Pot in California Now Worth Over $1 Billion

Stephen Andrews
01 Sep 2022

An update from The California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) speaks of the sheer magnitude of California's black market. Search warrants conducted with the purpose of seizing illegal cannabis products over the last year passed a $1 billion mark. It's estimated that illicit operators across California siphon anywhere near $8 billion each year from legal sales.

Recent raids in Los Angeles and Riverside Counties have officially pushed the DCC over the $1 billion mark for illegal cannabis seized from illicit operations within the past year, the department announced on August 25.

The department described its enforcement activities as important to safeguarding communities and the environment, protecting natural resources, and eliminating unfair competition. 

"Over the last 13 months, the Department's law enforcement team has led and assisted other agencies in the service of 232 search warrants, seized more than half a million pounds of illegal product, and eradicated over 1.4 million cannabis plants," the DCC said in a statement. "This effort has removed more than $1 billion worth of potentially harmful and often untested cannabis products from the market and eliminated 120 illegal firearms from the hands of criminal enterprises. The team has also recovered $2.3 million in illegally obtained assets."

The enforcement activities are part of California's larger strategy to minimize the impact of illegal operators. The Department highlighted that its staff is also working on expanding access to tested cannabis products for consumers and lower barriers for enterprises to run business.

The department announced its projection to seize more than $1 billion in illegal pot products earlier this summer. The agency had participated in over 200 search warrants by the month of July, had removed more than 1.30 million plants, and seized over half a million pounds of illegal product at that point. 

A recent allocation of $20 million to DCC will grant cities and counties funding that will support the creation of cannabis retail access in areas that currently do not allow it. The department is due to host a virtual meeting in September to discuss how the grant will be implemented. The meeting will also include the Cannabis Advisory Committee (CAC), which is tasked with providing feedback on the DCC's regulations through public discussion. 

California is also expected to brush up its legislation with two new bills designed to increase fines for illicit growing operations and that target unlawful entities for water theft and groundwater pollution. 

Stephen Andrews