State Doubled Illicit Marijuana Seizures in 2021

The California Department of Justice’s annual Campaign Against Marijuana Planting program, or CAMP, eradicated nearly 1.2 million illegally cultivated plants this year, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced last week.

“Illegal and unlicensed marijuana planting is bad for our environment, bad for our economy, and bad for the health and safety of our communities,” Bonta said in a statement. “Today, I’m directing my office to review the CAMP program and ensure that we are using our resources to effectively address the environmental, labor, and economic impacts of illegal cultivation. From dumping toxic chemicals in our waterways to cheating the state out of millions of tax dollars, illicit marijuana grows have far-reaching impacts and unintended consequences.”

In 2018, CAMP seized 614,267 plants. The state has stepped up enforcement as California’s illicit market eclipses the industry. Illegal sales generate some $8 billion annually compared to the legal market’s $4.4 billion.

CAMP involves a partnership of local, state, and federal agencies. The goal is to eradicate large-scale illegal marijuana plants from public and private lands to reduce deforestation, damage to wildlife, the threat of crime, and hazardous-chemical pollutants.