California expands largest US illegal pot eradication effort

October 13, 2022 · AP News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — With California’s four-year-old legal marijuana market in disarray, the state’s top prosecutor said Tuesday that he will try a new broader approach to disrupting illegal pot farms that undercut the legal economy and sow widespread environmental damage.

The state will expand its nearly four-decade multi-agency seasonal eradication program — the largest in the U.S. that this year scooped up nearly a million marijuana plants — into a year-round effort aimed at investigating who is behind the illegal grows. The new program will attempt to prosecute underlying labor crimes, environmental crimes and the underground economy centered around the illicit cultivations, said Attorney General Rob Bonta.

He called it “an important shift in mindset and in mission” aimed at also aiding California’s faltering legal market by removing dangerous competition.

“The illicit marketplace outweighs the legal marketplace” Bonta said. “It’s upside down and our goal is complete eradication of the illegal market.”

In keeping with the new approach, the annual Campaign Against Marijuana Planting ( CAMP ) program started under Republican Gov. George Deukmejian in 1983 will become a permanent Eradication and Prevention of Illicit Cannabis (EPIC) task force, Bonta said. (apnews.com) Full Story

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