$ 1 billion cannabis seized in California
U.S. California police discovered hemp fields that illegally cultivated about 10 million cannabis bushes. Confiscated plants are valued at $ 1 billion.
Farmers cultivated hemp varieties with a high concentration of THC
Kern County Sheriff’s office received information on the illegal cultivation of cannabis in 11 fields with a total area of over 186 hectares. Police officers, together with officers from the FBI and the California Department of Natural Resources, conducted an investigation that established the location of hemp crops near the small town of Arvin.
The siloviki tested the plants for THC content and found that the concentration of cannabinoid significantly exceeds the allowed threshold (0.3%). State law allows the cultivation of cannabis with a high THC content only for research purposes. Farmers did not have a license to cultivate cannabis drug strains, and they had the right to grow only technical cannabis varieties. Law enforcement officers did not talk about the reasons that prompted farmers to engage in illegal activities, therefore, it cannot be ruled out that farmers mistakenly sowed seeds of strains with a high concentration of THC.
In February of this year, in Idaho, police confiscated 3 tons of marijuana at a transportation company terminal. As a result of checking 19 different samples, law enforcement officers found that the products contained 0.43% THC. A criminal case was instituted against the owner of the Big Sky Scientific product on the illegal cultivation of drug-containing plants.
Cannabis black market thrives in California
State authorities believe that the police should more actively fight against illegal hemp crops to strike a black market. Recreational cannabis was legalized in California in 2017, however, residents of the region still continue to use the services of shadow sellers. According to analysts, illegal dealers sell three times more marijuana than licensed businesses.
The United Hemp Business Association claims that 2,835 illegal cannabis startups operate in California. The number of legal companies is only 873. Most dealers promoted their business on the Weedmaps website, which allowed all users to post ads for the sale of hemp products. But in September of this year, state authorities banned online advertising for products manufactured by unlicensed firms. A fine of up to $ 30,000 is provided for this violation. Weedmaps executives agreed to comply with government requirements and amended internal regulations. Chris Beals, director of the portal, said that the announcement of the sale of uncertified products will be deleted by the end of 2019.