California officials have been notably struggling to regulate the state’s cannabis industry.
According to Fox Business, “thousands” of illegal operators are still up and running in the state. Naturally, licensed sellers have expressed their anger about this fact, as they feel their legitimate businesses are being undercut by the black market. The California Minority Alliance (CMA), for example, has threatened to sue the city of Los Angeles because of these setbacks. “Unlicensed shops have been a public nuisance and pose a critical public safety issue to the residents of South Los Angeles,” the CMA wrote in a letter. “The lack of enforcement has turned safe communities into havens for illicit activity encouraging the proliferation of unlawful cannabis operations.”
Local law enforcement has already begun to pursue these illegal businesses since the beginning of the year. Most recently, the state Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) recently seized over $2.7 million in cannabis products from two illegal stores in Costa Mesa in June, and then another $1.6 million from an illegal business in Banning in early July. Overall, the state of California has tripled the number of raids against legal stores this year in total, serving 19 search warrants against illegal shops in the first six months alone. “We recognize the importance of enforcement for a strong regulated cannabis industry and continue to partner with local jurisdictions to address issues related to unlicensed cannabis business,” said Lori Ajax, chief of the state Bureau of Cannabis , stated.
Unfortunately, these actions have not yet made an impact on the illegal cannabis businesses that still continue to operate. An audit released last week shares that although a foundation has been set, the BCC’s “current status and location of personnel is not sustainable to provide effective and comprehensive oversight of cannabis activities.”
Meanwhile, the BCC has tried a softer approach, including a new ad campaign that encourages people to stay away from illegal cannabis in order to support legal access.