Feds team with California officials to combat illegal cannabis grows

One of California’s U.S. attorneys is joining forces with the state attorney general in a renewed effort to crack down on illegal cannabis growers while allowing licensed marijuana companies to continue doing business as usual.

McGregor Scott, the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of California, announced this week that his office will be bringing $2.5 million in federal funds to the state fight against unlicensed MJ cultivators, which he said are still the priority and not licensed companies working within California’s newly regulated cannabis market.

“The reality of the situation is there is so much black-market marijuana in California that we could use all of our resources going after just the black market and never get there,” Scott said.

“For right now, our priorities are to focus on what have been historically our federal law enforcement priorities: interstate trafficking, organized crime and the federal public lands.”

The news is the latest development in an ongoing atmosphere of uncertainty for legal cannabis companies that are struggling to compete with businesses that continue to sell marijuana without paying the taxes and fees incurred by law-abiding firms.

It also emphasizes that, at least for now, federal authorities will continue to let states take the lead in overseeing their own marijuana markets, despite the plant’s federal status as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily

4 comments on “Feds team with California officials to combat illegal cannabis grows
  1. Jonathan on

    If CA state legislators would be smart, they’d realize the tax rates imposed are driving both medical and recreational consumers to the black market. So instead of having to dump millions into enforcement, why not learn from other states and reduce taxes to eliminate the problem!

    Reply
  2. George Bianchini on

    Designed to fail, the formulation and rollout of California’s 217 pages of rules and regulations feels like a conspiracy to have the industry fail so that it can go to the large corporations waiting for their prey to capitulate. I’m not suggesting that Lori Ajax is hiding behind the grassy knoll waiting to make a fatal blow, but it’s starting to feel that way.
    I remember back in 2010, I and many many pro cannabis activist were working to get prop 19 won. Many in the industry turned their backs on Richard Lee and prop 19 because it did not completely legalize cannabis. What we found at the time through several studies was that the voting public was not ready for full legalization and the inititive was about 7 percent shy of acceptance. So prop 19 was worded as a winnable baby step toward the goal of full legalization. Richard Lee’s prop 19 lost by a smaller percentage than the percentage of cannabis people who became the oppisition. The industry beat itself.
    I see the rollout of prop 64 in the same light. The voters of California legalized cannabis. Yet the unwritten and unintended new cartel, the State, has constructed rules that for the most part cannot be attained by most of the industry, at least not the way the, never even seen a pot plant, Board of Directors think that a cut and paste set of rules should be. They should also keep in mind that Business & Professions Code 26014. Requires by law, a regulated environment for commercial cannabis activity that does not impose such barriers so as to perpetuate, rather than reduce and eliminate, the illicit market for cannabis.
    When the lawsuits roll out, as they will (hopefully I’m not alone) I expect a fight against those who through “rules” via actions similar to eminate domain, be biblical. While many of us cannot comply with the 217 pages of rules and hundreds of fines at $5,000 a pop, we understand simple math. We are at a 75% approval of legal cannabis and 90% approval of Medical Cannabis. Elected officials need to check which team their on.
    I strongly suggest that the BCC take the same approach to the rules that voters did with the law. Baby steps. If the board plans to implement the 12,400 new rules all at one time, it WILL fail. Roll it out with rules that make sense. Replace half the board with industry leaders. By developing this like it was a business rather than run by a cartel it can and will achieve unbelievable success. Baby steps, If not get prepared for the Jack booted thugs as the war continues.

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  3. Sara on

    Jonathan is exactly right. The State got too greedy and tried to rake in piles of money, not caring what the public wants or needs. For an industry that has not had to share what it takes in to go to 50% or more in taxes is absurd. If the new laws weren’t such a convoluted mess and so expensive, people may have gone with them, but you’d have to be a rocket scientist to figure out all the craziness. It only works for Big Business and is designed to take out the small growers. It will also lead to a loss of all the great cannabis strains out there as big growers focus on only a few hardy varieties; all the potentially good medicine will eventually be lost.

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  4. Jag Mickard on

    I have been growing pot illegally in So Cal. for close to 50 years. I am now pushing 70 and finally after a long time had become legal to grow 6 plants and had a small collective with my excess for the elderly and the invalid. My medicine is organic outdoor soil all natural. None of us old timers can tolerate the toxic hydro dispensary chemically laced products. But now with the past ” legalization” it is illegal for me to continue my collective. My collective people still prefer what I can provide even if I am back to being considered Black market and we could be arrested. Even though there are big grocery stores the governing bodies do not care about shutting down the side of the road fruit stands in the country. Should be the same for pot.

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