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Cali Regulators Brag About Passing Billion Dollars In Illegal Seizures

As the marijuana market continues to expand in California, so does the presence of law enforcement all over the state on the lookout for illegal cannabis. The state’s Department of Cannabis Control (CDCC) announced Thursday that it has seized $1 billion worth of cannabis this year, which is only 1/4th the tax revenue generated by the cannabis industry in the state. According to CDCC, this is part of a broader plan to bolster the legal marijuana market in California. The illicit cannabis industry in California has been a bane of legal operators for years because illegal sellers don’t pay state taxes or fees and, therefore, can undercut legitimate companies on price points.

However, California’s legal and illegal markets cross over in more places than most consumers would think. California has a long history of legitimate businesses operating “illegally” because of racist redlining and nonsensical laws—and these are the people being hurt most by the California government.

The California Department Of Cannabis Control 

“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,” Nicole Elliott, the director of the California Department of Cannabis Control, said.

“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 California Department of Cannabis Control has announced a new plan to crack down on illegal cannabis sales in the state which will include a new division of three separate cannabis enforcement bureaus, creating an even bigger police presence in the cannabis industry and spaces.

 

California Department Cannabis Control

 

The Half-Legal Cannabis Market In California

The cannabis industry has come a long way. In fact, it’s been legalized in California since 1996. But there’s still a lot of work to be done.

The state’s citizens have been able to consume medical marijuana legally for decades, but dispensaries were not authorized to sell it, and the entire supply chain that brought it to them was considered criminal. Most dispensaries in LA county are actually semi or completely illegal: in the whole city, only 184 pot shops, less than 20%, are licensed. In fact, numerous California dispensaries are operating in a legal gray area, making them functionally illegal.

Numerous illicit businesses are located in Black and Latino communities, where employees are subject to arrest while front firms protect owners. But this is where the seizures are taking place, and these people are being purposefully kept away from entering the legal market—allowing for more police and ICE raids and other standard government bullshit.

 

Half-Legal Cannabis Market California

 


 

It’s clear the government has stopped the market from becoming fully integrated and maximized for years. They are punishing small business owners for operating in a semi-legal framework, and they put obscenely high taxes on the legal businesses, making the California cannabis market a brutal business environment.

Why? At this point, it’s hard to tell. The state arrests and robs the illicit side, while taxing and overregulating the legal side to death. They are completely out of touch with both sides, and continue to make wrong decision after wrong decision.

The government needs to wake up and see what’s happening in their own backyard before it’s too late. It’s time for the government to stop punishing small business owners and start helping them succeed.

The state of California has been working to integrate the legal cannabis market for years, but they’ve done a terrible job of it. They’ve created an environment where small cannabis operators are punished while politicians and lobbyists reap all the benefits of legalization. Meanwhile, illegal operators are still operating outside of the law and are actively being gatekept from the market.

It’s time for California to get serious about legalizing marijuana once and for all—and making sure that everyone can participate in the new market that results from it.

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