California destroys 1.1 million illicit cannabis plants

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California’s annual campaign against illegal marijuana cultivation eradicated more than 1.1 million plants at 455 grow sites.

The 13-week effort by state, local and federal agencies in 29 counties went off despite difficulties stemming from coronavirus precautions and massive wildfires, officials said Thursday.

Because of competition from illicit operators, California’s legal marijuana businesses haven’t been as successful as hoped since the state created a regulated industry in 2018.

The Campaign Against Marijuana Planting led to the arrests of 140 people and seizures of 174 weapons, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said.

The effort, conducted yearly since 1983, has long been associated with the forests and mountains of the far north.

But this year’s biggest haul – 293,000 plants – occurred in Riverside County, located east of Los Angeles.

“I bet most people would have ventured a guess that all of the top counties would have been in Northern California but … Riverside was by far the largest,” Becerra said.

The rest of the top five were in the north, Tulare, with more than 105,000 plants, followed by Trinity, Lake and Siskiyou counties.

– Associated Press