California regulators seize 1 million illegal cannabis plants

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California regulators are ramping up enforcement targeting illegal cannabis operations and transnational criminal organizations.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the eradication of nearly 1 million illegally cultivated cannabis plants and the seizure of more than 200,000 pounds of illegally processed marijuana as part of the California Department of Justice’s annual Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program.

The 13-week seasonal Eradication and Prevention of Illicit Cannabis (EPIC) program this fall will transition into a year-round task force, with an emphasis on investigating and prosecuting civil and criminal cases related to environmental, economic and labor impacts from illegal cultivations, according to the announcement.

“California has the largest safe, legal, and regulated cannabis market in the world, but unfortunately illegal and unlicensed grows continue to proliferate,” the state attorney general said in a statement.

“With the transition to EPIC, we’re taking the next step and building out our efforts to address the environmental and economic harms and labor exploitation associated with this underground market.”

Over the course of this year’s operation, CAMP teams in Northern, Central, and Southern California conducted 449 operations, recovering 184 weapons, and removing nearly 67,000 pounds of cultivation infrastructure.

That infrastructure included dams, water lines and containers of toxic chemicals such as carbofuran, methyl parathion, aluminum phosphate, zinc phosphide and illegal fertilizers.