Feds team with California officials to combat illegal cannabis grows

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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