By the Numbers: State Steps Up Enforcement Against Illegal Pot

California authorities want you to know they take the scourge of illegal marijuana seriously.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the number of raids on unlicensed businesses has tripled, with authorities seizing $30 million in cannabis products in the past year.

In 2018, the first year of licensing, the state Bureau of Cannabis Control worked with local law enforcement to serve six search warrants on unlicensed pot shops and seized some 1,594 pounds of cannabis worth $13.5 million.

During the first six months of this year, the bureau served 19 search warrants on unlicensed sellers, confiscating more than 2,500 pounds of illegal marijuana products with a retail value of $16.5 million, according to data released last week. The state has also seized $219,874 in cash from illegal pot shops.

And to further strengthen enforcement, Gov. Gavin Newsom this month authorized fines of up to $30,000 per day against unlicensed marijuana growers, distributors and sellers.

A robust black market has quickly become the biggest challenge to the state’s fledgling legal industry. It has also poked a rather large hole in the state’s revenue forecasts.

While industry officials are pleased to see the state taking matters seriously, they say much more progress is needed to help the legal marketplace thrive.