What’s Up With all the Grow Busts in California Lately?
Even though California is arguably the most herb-friendly U.S. state, there is still a thriving black market that dwarfs any legal operations.
In 2019, there were almost 1 million cannabis plants seized by law enforcement in California. These plants are worth around a billion dollars, which is roughly what the entire legal industry is worth state-wide, according to The Mercury News. It would be great to feel like California police were interested in busting illegal grow ops in order to protect the cannabis entrepreneurs who give up so much of their time, energy, and money – basically devoting their entire lives – to owning and operating a legitimate legal business. But is this the case in the Golden State? That’s for you to decide.
Some of the more recent grow busts include the confiscation of 15,000 pounds according to KTLA and the confiscation of over 400 pounds, according to CNN. Due to astronomically high state taxes on cannabis, around 75 percent of cannabis sold came from the black market in 2019. The Bureau of Cannabis Control sent out about 400 letters threatening fines of up to $30,000 per day if illegal grow operations continue. With all of these busts occurring, it’s a legitimate question to wonder if there’s a black market shakedown happening in California. Are state and local law enforcement agencies interested in protecting legal dispensaries and retail locations?
Mainstream news outlets still use words like “eradicate” when reporting on stories of busts – which is a word that means to put an end to or completely destroy. News reporters from the above mentioned KTLA and CNN made the claim that there was a black market worth of $1,600 per confiscated plant, with plants yielding a pound of dried flower. However, many commenters are quick to point out that even the best cannabis growers are lucky to yield a whole pound from a single plant, and even the most primo bud might only cost $800 a pound on the black market. Is there journalistic integrity when it comes to reporters covering cannabis busts?
As far as we’ve come with the advancements of legalization, stories like these discussing the amount of taxpayer-funded police resources being used on busting cannabis grows might be concerning for some cannabis activists. In our humble opinion, one of the best ways to tackle the issue of the thriving black market for the herb in California is to address the tax rates that are among the highest in the country right now. What are some of the other options for actions that can be taken to reduce the black market cannabis activity in the Golden State? We love to hear the thoughts of our readers, so please let us know!
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