California is poised to instantly create the country’s largest marijuana market when it begins legal sales of recreational cannabis products on January 2, 2018. Being the largest marijuana market comes with other, more dubious distinctions, as well.
The Sacramento Bee reports that 75 percent of the total numbers of indoor plants seized by the United State Drug Enforcement Administration in 2016 were taken from California. This figure does not include those plants seized by state and local authorities. These numbers are also significant: according to U.S. News and World Report, a single crackdown in Calaveras County resulted in the seizure of 27,000 plants over four days. CBS Sacramento reports that thirty-eight pounds of marijuana were seized in one arrest on the I-80.The defendant was arrested north of Lake Tahoe, and eventually booked into a Nevada County Jail on three counts of narcotics trafficking.
Why the Number is So High
Interestingly, the 2016 number was more than double the number of indoor plants seized by the D.E.A. in California in 2012. So why have indoor grows increased so quickly in California? According to a D.E.A. report, indoor production has two key advantages: it does not rely on outdoor climate conditions or growing seasons, and it is more difficult for law enforcement officers to discover that open outdoor grows. Outgrow grows can cause other legal complications, too: many outdoor grows in California have been conducted on federal lands. Marijuana is entirely prohibited on federal lands. No state permit, license, or compliance can protect a defendant from being prosecuted under federal law if he or she grows marijuana on federal lands within state borders. Continue reading