Cannabis Regulators Want Money for a New Policing Force

The Bureau of Cannabis Control is requesting funding for an 87-member police force devoted entirely to marijuana enforcement, the Sacramento Bee reports. The budget request comes as California’s legal market struggles to compete with a glut of illicit cannabis operations. The black market generated $8.3 billion in sales last year, compared to $3.1 billion for licensed operators.

“Not only does this put the public in danger but it circumvents the control points set by regulations to ensure a safe product is available to the public, all while preventing access to youth under 18,” said George Tiongson, president of the California Association of Criminal Investigators, the union that represents BCC employees.

The request comes at a bad time. The state is facing incredible budget constraints already due to the pandemic. It is now dealing with renewed distrust of law enforcement following the death of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis that sparked protests and riots nationwide.