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420 with CNW — California Authorities Seize Illicit Cannabis Worth $53M

California authorities recently conducted a comprehensive operation aimed at dismantling illegal marijuana operations across the state, seizing more than $53 million worth of illicit cannabis between Jan. 1, 2024, and March 31, 2024. The crackdown spearheaded by the state’s governor’s office targeted search warrants in various counties, including eight in Orange, one in San Joaquin, two in Riverside, one in Los Angeles, two in Alameda, five in Kern and one in Fresno.

During the operation, law enforcement confiscated $53,620,600 worth of illegal marijuana along with 31,866 pounds of unlicensed product and 11 firearms. Additionally, approximately 54,137 unlicensed marijuana plants were eradicated during the multicounty effort.

Governor Gavin Newsom stressed the significance of combating illegal marijuana activities, noting that it not only undermined the regulated market but also posed risks to public health and the environment. He highlighted the state’s commitment to fostering a legal market while aggressively tackling illicit operations associated with human trafficking as well as organized crime.

Established in 2022 by Governor Newsom, the Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce (UCETF) plays a pivotal role in coordinating enforcement efforts among federal, state and local agencies. Led by the state’s Fish & Wildlife Department (CDFW) and the Cannabis Control Department (DCC), with support from the Homeland Security Division of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), the task force comprises more than two dozen partners working collaboratively to disrupt illegal marijuana activities.

The Alcoholic Beverage Control, Cannabis Control, Employment Development, Fish & Wildlife, and Tax & Fee Administration departments, the California National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, the California Division of Occupational Safety & Health, and the California State Parks were among the state agencies and departments that took part in this year’s Q1 UCETF operations.

Since the task force’s establishment, 236 search warrants have been carried out, yielding the confiscation of illicit marijuana valued at $371,199,431. In addition, during enforcement actions, 139 guns and more than 401,458 illegal cannabis plants have been seized so far.

Nathaniel Arnold, CDFW’s acting chief, highlighted UCETF’s dedication to prioritizing high-impact targets and leveraging resources from partner agencies to enhance public safety, protect the environment and support the regulated marijuana market. In parallel efforts, California recently allocated $12 million in cannabis grants to 10 cities and counties statewide, aimed at supporting equity programs for communities disproportionately affected by past drug policies. The funds support programs that help applicants secure startup financing, comply with regulations and receive technical support.

The broader cannabis industry, including leading companies such as Tilray Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) (TSX: TLRY), will be hoping that all jurisdictions where marijuana is legal take firm action against the marijuana black market because it not only threatens the viability of the regulated market but also poses serious public health risks.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of an article each business day at 4:20 p.m. Eastern – a tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. The concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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