The DCC announced on Aug. 25 that it has officially seized more than $1 billion worth of illegal cannabis. The department attributes this milestone to recent raids conducted in Los Angeles and Riverside County within the past year.

“This important milestone was reached through close collaboration with local, state, and federal partners and furthers California’s efforts to go after activities that harm communities and the environment, including water theft, threats of violence, elder abuse, and human trafficking to name a few,” the DCC wrote in a press release. “These operations and the products they produce threaten consumer safety and the vitality of legal and compliant licensees.”

The agency described that over the last 13 months, it participated in 232 search warrants (either led by the DCC, or in partnership with other agencies). Those searches yielded over half a million pounds of “illegal product,” along with 1.4 million cannabis plants “eradicated.” It also explains that these efforts have “removed more than $1 billion worth of potentially harmful and often untested cannabis products from the market,” in addition to 120 illegal firearms, and $2.3 million in “illegally obtained assets.”

The DCC also explains that it is taking measures to ensure that consumers remain safe. “In tandem with law enforcement actions that crack down on illegal activity, DCC staff are working to expand access to tested cannabis products for consumers and lower barriers of participation for businesses,” it wrote in the announcement. “This includes a recent allocation of $20 million to DCC to grant cities and counties with funding that will support the creation of cannabis retail access in areas that currently do not allow it.”

In March, the DCC introduced new changes to state cannabis regulations to “streamline and simplify” existing rules. “This proposal is a direct result of DCC’s engagement with stakeholders and the thoughtful feedback received through letters, conversations, meetings and previous rulemaking processes,” said DCC Director Nicole Elliott. “We are deeply [committed] to creating a cannabis regulatory structure that works for all Californians, including California’s cannabis industry, consumers and communities.” Topics such as video surveillance, live cannabis plant sales, certificates of analysis and more were addressed.

In July, the DCC announced its projection to seize more than $1 billion in illegal cannabis products. At the time, the agency had participated in 208 search warrants, had removed 1.38 million plants, and seized more than half a million pounds of “illegal product.”

On Aug. 29, the DCC announced that it will be holding a virtual meeting on Sept. 8 to discuss how a recent $20 million grant will be allocated to expand consumer access to legal cannabis dispensaries across the state. It’s the first meeting to include the Cannabis Advisory Committee (CAC), which is tasked with providing feedback to the DCC’s regulations through public discussion. The members of which were appointed on Aug. 1 and include a total of 17 individuals, chosen out of a pool of 300 applicants. “Pursuant to Division 10 of the Business and Professions Code, the CAC is tasked with advising DCC on the development of relevant standards and regulations for commercial cannabis businesses, including those necessary to protect public health and safety. Key to the CAC’s work will be to ensure DCC is working to create regulations for commercial cannabis activity that helps protect public health and safety while decreasing burdens for legal operators and reducing the illicit market.”

The first meeting will introduce the CAC members, debut a presentation about plans for 2023, and make time for public comment.

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