California’s illegal cultivation industry is positively thriving. Once largely grown in national parks, forests, and other outdoor spaces, federal statistics show that people are increasingly growing pot indoors for the black market. The state is growing way more weed than it can consume, which leaves many cultivators with too much stock and no market to sell it, and so, they are exporting it across state lines.
Last year alone, federal authorities seized 313,000 cannabis plants from indoor grow sites in California, which, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, made up 75 percent of all indoor cannabis plants seized nationwide. Although this number only accounted for eight percent of total seizures in California during 2016, it is more than it has been in at least eight years.
In November last year, voters in California approved the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. However, federal law still prohibits it, and local laws place restrictions on how it must grow, where it must grow, and who must grow it. Regulations for marijuana are many. A spokesperson for the DEA in San Francisco did not provide much insight.
She said that she was “unable to speculate” why officials were confiscating more indoor-grown pot than before, while noting that the statistics come from both local and federal law enforcement agencies. A report by the DEA itself in November 2016 gave several possible reasons why indoor cultivation of illegal marijuana was rising steadily.
According to the DEA’s report, people are increasingly growing marijuana inside because “indoor production is more difficult for law enforcement to discover and has the advantage of not having to rely on climate conditions or growing seasons.” Just last month, law enforcement authorities made four separate busts in the Sacramento area.
Police seized numerous plants from four different indoor cultivation facilities in Roseville, Elk Grove, and in unincorporated Yolo County. The busts in Sacramento last month saw at least 7,000 marijuana plants seized by police and several suspects arrested, including quite a few with connections on the East Coast. From these facts, it is clear that California is growing more illegal pot than any other state in the nation.