Recently, law enforcement personnel revealed that they had observed an increase in illicit market entities exploiting suspected victims of human trafficking to grow as well as trim cannabis sold illegally within and outside California. This comes as the cannabis legalization movement spreads across the country.
Advocates and authorities stated that helping the victims was complicated, because most didn’t open up and say they were trafficked; they were also unwilling to collaborate with the law enforcement agencies to apprehend the dealers and smugglers.
Earlier in May, law enforcement officers arrested suspected victims during a raid in an illegal grow operation in California’s Mojave Desert region. These workers, all of whom were Chinese nationals, attempted to flee while the officials conducted a search on the isolated farm.
All the cannabis workers who were arrested revealed that they had been gainfully employed in the restaurant industry before moving west in search of better employment opportunities. None of them had received payment for the work they performed, and they were all living in uncomfortable, cramped trailers located near the illicit operation.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department charged the workers with misdemeanors then released them.
The cannabis employees had been taking care of 25 greenhouses where officials recovered roughly 1,000 pounds of processed cannabis. Officials estimate that the facility could be generating about $8 million in revenue per quarter.
In 2021 alone, the law enforcement personnel in San Bernardino County have shut down more than 1,000 illicit grow sites and more than 8,500 greenhouses. In a statement, the sheriff’s department stated that they also seized 97,000 kgs of processed cannabis, more than 1.4 million marijuana plants and more than 170 pounds of concentrated marijuana, valued at approximately $1 billion.
The California Department of Cannabis Control recently released a statement showing that other investigations by law enforcement in the Riverside and Los Angeles counties contributed to total illegal marijuana seizures in 2021 valued at an estimated $1 billion.
In the statement, Nicole Elliott, the director of the California Department of Cannabis Control, revealed that these milestones were reached through collaboration and furthered the state’s efforts to pursue those engaged in activities that harmed communities as well as the environment.
The adult-use marijuana program in the state of California was launched to weaken the hold drug cartels had on the plant and, in turn, curb the black market. However, the high entry costs required to get into the market along with the burdensome taxes have enabled unlicensed dealers and growers to flood the market with their marijuana at lower prices.
In an effort to address this, Gov. Gavin Newsom removed the cultivation tax imposed on cultivators earlier in the year.
The dangers of black-market actors in the marijuana industry in California illustrates just how important it is for the state to do everything possible to stamp out the black market so that legitimate firms like Prime Harvest Inc. don’t have to unfairly compete with players who don’t pay taxes and other fees or support the local economy.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Prime Harvest Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/PRIME
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