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Despite dozens of states legalizing cannabis use for either medical or recreational purposes, America’s illicit cannabis market is still going strong. Legal operators have struggled to compete with illicit sellers amid strict regulations and relatively high cannabis taxes that have made legal marijuana much more expensive than its illicit counterpart.
By the end of 2021, illicit sales of cannabis had reached close to $8 billion annually, doubling the volume of sales from legal operators and forcing many of them to close shop.
However, in California regulators are actively taking steps to reduce the illicit market’s stranglehold on the state’s cannabis industry.
Newly released data shows that the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) has stepped up its efforts to curtail the state’s illicit market in the past two years. This campaign has seen a significant increase in court-issued warrants for illicit markets, eradication of illegal cannabis firms, seizures of firearms and arrests.
Statistics from the DCC show that the amount of search warrant operations increased by a whopping 150% from 62 in 2021 to 155 last year. There was also a 246% jump in illegal cannabis seizures from 144,254 pounds in 2022 to 31,726 pounds in 2022. Additionally, the number of arrests tripled to 56 while the total amount of illicit cannabis seizures in 2022 reached $243 million, an increase of 211% from around $78 million worth of illegal cannabis seizures in 2021.
In conjunction with other California agencies, the DCC managed to seize close to 439,800 pounds of illegal substances, worth almost $737 million in retail value. The agency destroyed 960,212 plants and confiscated 139 firearms from illicit cannabis operations. However, the hard cash confiscated in 2022 dropped by 77% from $7.7 million in 2021 to $1.8 million in 2022.
All of these efforts are meant to curtail the largest illicit cannabis industry in not just America but the entire world. This illicit market has made it extremely difficult for approved sellers to stay afloat, robbed the state of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and contributed to environmental pollution.
With experts positing that California’s illicit market is double the size of the legal market, law enforcement agencies have had a challenging time reining in the runaway industry. As such, federal, county, and local agencies have been forced to partner up to deal with the state’s massive illicit cannabis market.
Lighter punishments for illicit cannabis possession have also made it harder for law enforcement to deal with illicit sellers, with Sgt. Rich Debevec of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team saying in a recent interview that most offenders are given tickets.
No such light punishments exist for entities operating within the purview of the FDA, which is why for-profit companies such as India Globalization Capital Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are taking their product pipeline through a meticulous preclinical and clinical development process so that once the THC-based formulations are approved, no questions will arise about their efficacy or safety profile.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to India Globalization Capital Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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