Fresno joins new California program to fight illegal cannabis operators

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Fresno is the first municipality to participate in a new California program aimed at reining in illegal cannabis production and sales.

The Central Valley city has adopted the Cannabis Administrative Prosecutor Program (CAPP), which will utilize resources from the office of Attorney General Rob Bonta, according to Fresno TV station KFSN.

Under the program, the state will:

  • Increase the scope of illicit marijuana enforcement.
  • Provide resources and education to build enforcement programs.
  • Provide cost-effective evidence collection that could lead to large-scale, statewide prosecutions.

And, according to a news release, the California Department of Justice will:

  • Provide attorneys.
  • Assist with investigative services.
  • Handle administrative work.
  • Offer private process servers.
  • Contract code compliance officers and abatement contractors.

The initiative between the state DOJ and local jurisdictions aims to supplement criminal and civil enforcement efforts undertaken by the agency’s Eradication and Prevention of Illicit Cannabis task force as well as the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) and the Governor’s Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce.

The task force is led by the DCC and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

California’s massive underground marijuana market, which some experts estimate is double the size of the state’s multibillion-dollar legal market, has been a perennial challenge for licensed operators throughout the supply chain.

In the second quarter of this year, a separate California enforcement effort initiated nearly 100 search warrants, leading to the seizure of more than $100 million of unlicensed marijuana products and plants, according to state data and estimates.

The Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce, which was created last year to coordinate efforts between state, local and federal agencies, more than doubled the amount of illegal cannabis seized in the second quarter compared to the first three months of the year.